POLITICS

Greens Leader Richard Di Natale Holds Up Bleached Coral In Senate Estimates Because That's What Happens Now

First it was coal. Then solar. Now it's dead coral.

27/02/2017 12:11 PM AEDT | Updated 27/02/2017 12:32 PM AEDT

CANBERRA -- First things first: props are banned in federal parliament. But apparently politicians don't care for the rules.

Perhaps it's the rapid-fire news cycle or the predominance of key figures such as Turnbull, Shorten and Hanson that has left the rest feeling starved of attention. Whatever the reason, the 2017 sitting of parliament is quickly turning into Show and Tell.

The latest iteration (there are more, we'll get to that) involves Greens Leader Richard Di Natale and a piece of bleached coral. But let's back up a bit.

First, the Treasurer Scott Morrison waved around a lump of coal during Question Time.

"This is coal -- don't be afraid, don't be scared," Morrison roared earlier in February.

This was quickly followed by Labor MP Tim Watts brandishing a solar panel.

Now in the Environment Committee of Senate Estimates on Monday, Di Natale has tried it on with dead coral in trying to show the damage being done to the Great Barrier Reef by coal-driven emissions.

"Do they look like this? Is this what you expect them to look like?" Di Natale asked as he swung the bleached coral into vision.

Yep. The official agreed.

"It looks like a dead coral to me," before Liberal Senator Linda Reynolds jumped in with the "no props rule".

A fracas only ended with Reynolds calling a suspension of the session.

Di Natale knows what dead coral looks like and the rules on props, but he is crying foul over the Treasurer's show time with the coal lump.

"Coal kills coral. It's that simple, but don't try telling the government that," the Greens Leader said.

"Seems like it's acceptable for the Treasurer to hand out a lump of coal on the floor of the House but not for me to show the impact of this dirty, polluting coal on our Reef."

The prop had not been wrenched from the Great Barrier reef just for Monday's appearance; the Greens say it was borrowed from a scientific collection for the appearance.

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