Newly elected One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts has fooled the people of Queensland into electing an imposter to the senate.
Mr Roberts has piggy-backed the unfortunate popularity of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party to steal for himself and his nonsensical views a position of power.
Nothing about Mr Roberts suggests that he shares his party’s extreme views on immigration and Islam. His sole political focus is climate change denial.
His personal website only discusses climate change.
Unlike fellow party member Brian Burston, his profile on the One Nation site does not mention any passion for Australia’s national security that not-so-subtly hints at racism.
The only trait that he shares with the three other One Nation senators is borderline madness.
Mr Roberts is affiliated with One Nation for one reason, it gives him a route into politics.
There are not enough climate change deniers in Queensland to elect Mr Roberts on a platform of pseudoscience.
There are, however, enough scared white people in Queensland to elect a One Nation senator.
The senator received only 77 first-preference votes.
He wasn’t elected, he stumbled into power clinging to the coattails of his fellow party members.
As a result, he’s been given a national platform to spout nonsense.
This was perfectly demonstrated on Q&A on when Mr Roberts embarrassed himself and the country in attempting to rebuke climate change to celebrity physicist Brian Cox.
It became abundantly clear that arguing with a climate change denier is largely similar to banging your head against a brick wall.
The wall is unlikely to move and you’re likely to come out of the exchange with fewer brain cells.
While there is definitely entertainment value in watching Mr Roberts explain climate conspiracies about NASA and the United Nations, and flounder, when presented with logical argument, it’s also dangerous.
With the current state of parliament, Mr Roberts’ vote is worryingly powerful.
A climate change denier who wouldn’t look out of place wearing a tin foil hat and who received only 77 votes has the power to pass or kill legislation.
Something about that doesn’t sit well.
The best approach to dealing with Mr Roberts may be to take a page out of his book and stubbornly deny that he exists despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
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The climate change “debate” between scientist Brian Cox and denialist Malcolm Roberts on the ABC’s Q&A recently how depressing it is people who are still denying the undeniable and get a forum.
But it remains the case, according to the CSIRO as of 2014, that not much under 40 per cent of us, while accepting that climate change is happening, do not believe that our human activity by burning fossil fuels is the cause. That’s depressing, too.
At one level it is quite simple. According to the American Institute of Physics, since 1859 scientists have understood that carbon dioxide is a significant greenhouse gas, and since 1896 have understood that burning fossil fuels increases carbon dioxide levels which, if burnt in sufficient quantities, warms the planet. – Jim Main
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