A press release on One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts’ Facebook page on Sunday evening foretold of a “Major Pauline Hanon’s (sic) One Nation Party” announcement coming at 9am on Monday. In one release, he managed to misspell the name of his leader and his party four times.
Roberts had promised an appearance by “the world’s most eminent climatologists”, and he appeared with two of the more well-known American sceptics, Tim Ball and Tony Heller. The latter goes by the pseudonym Steve Goddard and has signed up to the Obama birther conspiracy theory. His blogs about NASA faking data on climate change have been criticised even by fellow climate change sceptics. The former is a retired professor of geology who claims to have been one of the first climatology PhDs in the world, despite suggestions that his university did not have an office of climatology. Taxpayers did not pick up the bill for their visit, Roberts said, with one paying for his own way and Roberts paying for the other.
An exuberant Roberts launched into the conference waving a 40-page document (claims linked here) that he claims debunks the evidence the CSIRO gave him in a private briefing about climate change.
The theme of the press conference was that the CSIRO was relying on corrupted data from the Bureau of Meteorology and NASA and it had all been a waste of taxpayers’ money. When it came time for questions, David Crowe from The Australian led the charge, asking for an explanation as to why glaciers were melting. Heller/Goddard then claimed that glaciers were like ice cubes and should be melting, and that scientists were just cherry-picking that data anyway.
Then questions came on Roberts’ previous claims about international banks (i.e. the Rothschild family) being part of a big global conspiracy. Al Gore, Barack Obama and Goldman Sachs all got a mention as Roberts reiterated his claims that “international banks” planned to profit from climate change action.
“You want to use the C-word, you go right for it,” Roberts said.
Then BuzzFeed‘s Mark Di Stefano asked about Roberts appearing on an anti-Semitic website called “Jew World Order”. The site links to an alt-right podcast called Fair Dinkum Radio, Roberts talked about his conspiracy theory in 2015. Roberts denied he was anti-Semitic.
“There is no one religion involved. I have nothing against any particular religion,” he said, saying two of the founders of his Galileo Movement were Jewish.
“I respect and admire the Jews,” Roberts said.
When journalists attempted to steer the press conference towards the politics of the day, and the reason why a Senator from a minor party holding a press conference gets attention — mainly Rod Culleton’s future in the Senate — Hanson staffer James Ashby (remember him?) tried to stop them.
“We’re not on the subject of Rod Culleton this morning. We have a different agenda this morning, so stick to it, hey?”
“We’re allowed to ask whatever we want,” a journo shot back.
“You can ask any question you want, but we are here talking about one of the world’s biggest scams,” Roberts replied.
Journalists persisted. And with that, Roberts fled the press conference.
CSIRO won’t be responding, aside from stating it stands by its peer-reviewed science. Crikey understands Australia’s chief research organisation didn’t get the report until 9.19am this morning, after Roberts’ office tried and failed to send an email with the report attached twice before that from 9.06am.