The former Queensland Premier joins the rank of Great Climate Deniers, and restores consumer confidence in the burgeoning tinfoil hat industry.
If you’re a lover of politics, particularly its history, then Campbell Newman is quite something.
And by quite something, we mean, Newman is arguably the most inept politician to grace Australian shores, which is ‘saying something’, because he’s coming off a pretty low base.
In case you’ve forgotten him, Newman is the former Queensland premier who led the Liberal National Party to what is unarguably the most spectacular political defeat in Australian political history.
In 2012, as leader without a seat (Newman was the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, and led the state party to an election from outside parliament) Newman oversaw a 13.7 per cent swing to the LNP, winning 78 seats in an 89-seat parliament.
Queensland Labor was reduced to just seven seats.
But after four years of Newman leadership, he somehow managed to squander a record-breaking lead and reverse his party’s fortunes, delivering Labor a 14 per cent swing, and government.
In the melee, Campbell actually lost his seat of Ashgrove, signing him up to a rare and undistinguished club. John Howard lost his seat while PM in 2007; Sir James Mitchell as Premier did it at the 1933 West Australian election; and former Prime Minister Stanley Melbourne Bruce achieved it in 1929. Tony Abbott, of course, lost his seat earlier this year, but not while PM.
Speaking of things unprecedented, Newman has been busy denying the effects of climate change on Australia’s bushfire emergency, putting to rest any speculation that Newman is (a) human, or (b) learned anything about leadership following his calamitous political career.
Here he is tweeting to his 50,000 followers in early November.
The best part about his tweet? Possibly it’s the revelation that the damage bill from one fire was estimated to be “10,000 pounds”, or maybe it was the reference to “12,000 acres” of country still being ablaze.
The Mt Gosper’s fire in NSW, which is still burning a month later, has already consumed 500,000 hectares. And as we write, the entire East Gippsland in Victoria is being prepared for evacuation. And that’s just two fire events, out of several hundred so far this bushfire season.
If you’re wondering whether or not Newman is being a mischievous conservative, or he’s just breathtakingly stupid, here’s a tweet he sent out a month later, on December 11, apparently unaware that the Bureau of Meteorology (a) is employed to ‘predict’ weather (not make it happen); and (b) weather is much harder to predict in an era of climate change.
In Newman’s defence, he was a man a bit ahead of his time. Had Newman been elected after Donald Trump, it would have made a lot more sense.
None of this is to suggest, of course, that the Queensland Labor has acquitted itself all that well either. Earlier this year, the Palaszczuk Government approved the Adani mega-coal mine, and during the December bushfire crisis Palaszczuk herself ran the tired old line that ‘now was not the time to talk about climate change’.
In any event, if Queenslanders are looking for leadership on climate change… New Zealand is only a two hour flight away.
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