One Nation senator-elect Malcolm Roberts told a stunned Q&A audience that NASA is manipulating climate science data.
He claimed that this is misleading scientists and creating an illusion of global warming, which, he says, does not exist.
In a Q&A science special on Monday night, Roberts went head to head with prominent physicist Brian Cox as the pair sat on a panel with Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Greg Hunt and ALP Minister Linda Burney among others.
Roberts is a prominent climate change denier who, according to One Nation's website, joined the party in order to "expose the corruption" behind the climate change movement. He has previously suggested that climate change is a conspiracy fostered by the United Nations and world banks to impose a socialist world order.
"The latest warming cycle in the 17th century going into the 18th century is faster and greater than the latest warming which finished in 1995" he told Monday night's audience.
"And Justin Bieber wasn't flying his private jet around then. Now we've had a pause for 21 years," Roberts said.
Cox then jumped in with a couple of graphs he'd prepared earlier -- a move which was met with resounding applause and cheers from the audience.
Using the graphs, Cox demonstrated the steep increase in global temperatures since the 1950s and then went on to explain the correlation between the unprecedented rise in global temperatures and the increase in carbon dioxide emissions.
Roberts countered Cox's explanation by suggesting that his graphs had also "been corrupted" and the two proceeded to go back and forth until host Tony Jones jumped in saying: "Malcolm, you are hearing the interpretation of a highly qualified scientist and you're just saying, 'I don't believe that' - is that right?'"
However, Roberts -- who was elected into the Senate with only 77 personal votes to his name -- continued to allege that the data was being corrupted (and/or manipulated) by NASA.
You can watch the entire awkward, impassioned exchange here:
Greg Hunt then stepped in, saying the federal government didn't make policy decisions around "conspiratorial conclusion".
"Our policy is that it's real and it is important, and it is significant."
Cox urged viewers to find their own answers in data and reports from "trusted sources" online including the federal government and NASA.
While Roberts denied the figure that 97 percent of scientists believe in climate change, there was a small moment of comic relief.
"The wonderful thing about humans is that I believe we are the ultimate resource on this planet," Roberts said, answering a question about the collaboration of science and art.
"All other resources are made by us, defined by us, and so it's the creativity in humans and the initiative in humans, and the love in humans that encourages us to explore and to understand, and to really care about others.
"I believe most humans really care about each other. Music, science are wonderful paths to explore that."
But it was Tony Jones who got the last word.
"Do you know that 97 percent of this people in this room agreed with what you just said?"
The sky is blue.— Mariam Veiszadeh (@MariamVeiszadeh) August 15, 2016
Malcolm: no it's green. #QandA
Suggest a correction
Brian should give up. This is like explaining Japanese grammar to my cat #qanda— Margot Saville (@MargotSaville) August 15, 2016