"A 'lame joke." That's how Prime Minister Tony Abbott summarised Immigration Minister Peter Dutton's verbal slip about climate change
Less than 24 hours after the immigration minister was caught joking about the plight of Pacific Island nations facing rising sea levels, Mr Abbott defended Mr Dutton by insisting our national focus should have been on the decision spearheaded by Mr Dutton to take an extra 12,000 refugees from Syria.
While on the campaign trail ahead of the Canning by-election in Western Australia, Mr Abbott told reporters: "It says something about the quality of our national conversation that a lame joke should be of more interest than something which is truly nation building and truly transforming which reflects Australia at its best.
"Here we made a decision which reflects Australia at its best, and then we have a subsequent Twitter storm, which if I may say so reflects Australia at its worst."