One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts is the parliament's biggest climate change sceptic, but when he attempted to use a Twitter poll to heap scorn on the green energy sector, it backfired spectacularly after opponents hijacked it.
Roberts is a former coal executive and mine manager, and a vocal critic of action on climate change. He has also been a project leader of the Galileo Movement, a climate sceptic group which aims "to expose misrepresentations pushing a price on carbon dioxide". In his maiden speech to parliament, he called climate change a "scam", refutes scientific modelling that global temperatures are rising and has even taken aim at NASA, claiming that the space agency's climate data has "been corrupted".
He also received just 77 personal votes to his name at the 2016 election.
But in his short time in the Senate, Roberts has continually attacked and denied the idea of climate change, taking aim at clean energy and opposing environmental measures. On Twitter on Thursday, the senator posted a poll on Twitter, asking his followers what they think should be done with "$5 billion of taxpayer money currently used on green energy". He was clearly hoping for an overwhelming result against green energy. It did not go well for the senator.
How should government spend $5 billion of taxpayer money currently used on green energy— Sen. Malcolm Roberts (@SenatorMRoberts) February 16, 2017
At time of writing, 81 percent of the 5100 votes have been for green energy.
The senator was not happy, claiming his poll had been "rigged".
I think my poll has been rigged by the clean coal industry wanting their share of the $5 billion in taxpayer green subsidies. https://t.co/8dwOJhviQL— Sen. Malcolm Roberts (@SenatorMRoberts) February 16, 2017
He then took aim at activist organisation GetUp!, who asked their followers to "tell [Roberts] exactly what you think".
.@getup Did George Soros tell you to tweet this? Or was it the corrupt union bosses?— Sen. Malcolm Roberts (@SenatorMRoberts) February 16, 2017
@getup Plus the corrupt union bosses and George Soros right?— Sen. Malcolm Roberts (@SenatorMRoberts) February 16, 2017
Roberts then posted yet another poll, more tongue-in-cheek this time, taking aim at his opponents. As of time of publication, 90 percent of people have responded with "I'm a socialist". 'Socialist' has become conservatives' favourite insult recently, as we reported yesterday.
NEW POLL: I support green energy because:— Sen. Malcolm Roberts (@SenatorMRoberts) February 16, 2017
The senator's parliamentary colleagues saw the funny side of things.
@SenatorMRoberts you're a weird unit— Tim Watts MP (@TimWattsMP) February 17, 2017
It's all going very well.
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