Today’s entry in the “it’s all about me” stakes is by Senator Cory Bernardi.

Bernardi went to the US in May to address the Heartland Institute’s “4th International Conference on Climate Change” in Chicago, one of the world’s premier climate change denial gatherings.

It was quite the do, with Bernardi joining other Australian flat earthers Bob Carter, Ian Plimer, Alan Moran and William Kininmonth, as well as serial fantasist “Lord” Chris Monckton and a host of other speakers. And while Bernardi’s fellow-Australians spoke about natural systems and ancient seas and emissions abatement measures and other speakers discussed energy policy and threats to world freedom, the Senator decided to get a bit meta on the conference, instead talking about himself and his own personal journey into politics, which he said is motivated by his view that government is a “behomoth” (sic – sounds like something Moses spaketh unto Aaron, yea verily, but presumably he meant “behemoth”).

But most of all, Bernardi related in detail — excruciating detail — how he personally saved Australia from Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull’s emissions trading scheme:

bernardi

The video of Bernardi can be found on this page, where the Senator’s presentation is in the second row. It goes for 22 minutes, although it seems longer… a lot longer, reminiscent of that joke about going to hear Wagner, listening for three hours and looking at your watch and discovering it’s only a quarter past eight, so only diehard Bernardi fans, if they aren’t exhausted by their trip to the ABC last night, are encouraged to view the whole thing.

For everyone else, I’ve sat through it so you don’t need to, a feat of endurance for which no amount of compensation, and certainly not my poor Crikey remuneration, will ever be sufficient.

After a lengthy explanation of his conservative credentials, Bernardi says proudly that he has “declared war on the climate change movement”, which he believes is “anti-western” and “anti-industrialisation”.

So far, so reactionary.

He goes on to explain how it was his brilliant idea of collecting email addresses from climate sceptics enabled him to mount a grassroots Liberal campaign — the biggest ever, apparently — to undermine Malcolm Turnbull’s agreement with the Government by using that information to encourage climate deniers to clog MPs’ inboxes with emails. After many deviations and diversions into his own role at the centre of things, Bernardi eventually explains that Tony Abbott, hitherto unmentioned, challenges for the leadership and wins, ushering in a new era of Liberal popularity.

But it’s when Bernardi gets onto Malcolm Turnbull that he briefly threatens to interest us. Turnbull was “desperately unpopular”, “intransigent” and “imprudent”, all of which might be perfectly good calls, depending on your point of view.

But 15.40 minutes in, Bernardi goes further, and says Turnbull misled his Coalition colleagues when presenting to the partyroom the deal he and Ian Macfarlane worked out with Penny Wong.

Turnbull was accused of many things last year, but lying to his own party was not one of them, until now. In fact, the consensus on Turnbull is that he was too honest about his commitment to climate change action, and doing a deal on the CPRS, for his own good.

We invited Turnbull to comment on Bernardi’s accusation, but he declined the offer.

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.

 

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW