REAL TALK – What’s more upsetting here, the fact that Tony Abbott is refusing to attend a major conference on Climate Change lead by the United Nations Secretary-General with a swathe of global leaders in attendance? Or the fact that we’re not even the slightest bit surprised about it?
Here’s the skinny of this latest piece of baffling behaviour from our dearly beloved Prime Minister. The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is chairing a summit on the issue of climate change at the UN’s New York City headquarters next week. Ki-moon hopes the summit will speed up global deals to help cut greenhouse gases on a worldwide scale. Over 120 Heads of State will be attending the summit, including US President Barack Obama, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, and even the President of the small island nation of Kiribati, who are already feeling the effects of global climate change with rising sea waters chewing up homes and damaging crops (scientists predict that Kiribati will be completely underwater by the end of the century if current trends persist).
And yet, Tony Abbott will not be attending the summit.
But here’s the kicker, it’s not like Tony Abbott has any pressing political or legislative commitments that will prevent him from attending. In fact, he’s actually going to be in New York City when the summit happens.
See, the very next day after the Climate Summit happens, Tony Abbott will be present at the UN building to address the Security Council – on which Australia has a seat (thanks to the diplomatic efforts of the previous Labor Government, mind you) – ahead of the upcoming G20 Summit in November that will be held in Brisbane.
So Tony Abbott will be in New York City on the day of the UN Summit on Climate Change. He won’t be busy meeting any other global leaders – they’ll all be at the summit. And yet, he cannot find the time to actually go himself – rather, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is being sent along instead.
The move means Australia is joining a pretty illustrious club of nations who aren’t sending their Head of State to the summit – a club that includes both China and India. So, y’know. Go us.
What do people actually attending the Summit think of Big Tone’s decision? The European Union‘s commissioner for climate action, Connie Hedegaard, had this to say on the matter.
“I do not know what the reasons would be behind it, but, of course, the world will interpret who is showing up and who will not be showing up.“
Thanks, Tone. Thanks a lot.
Photo: Indranil Mukherjee via Getty Images.
via ABC News.