One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts had a win yesterday. With climate change discussed as a matter of public importance in the Senate, he got the chance to talk about his views unfettered, and some senators even agreed with him. Roberts’ speech seemed to be more about Donald Trump than the science of climate change, though:

“One Nation applauds President-elect Trump’s highly moral and courageous position, yet many in this parliament still want to recklessly plough ahead with economy-killing climate policies such as ratifying the Clayton’s Paris Agreement, in stark contrast to the plans of President-elect Trump. If the honourable Prime Minister would like to reconsider his government’s stance, then my office team is in a strong position to assist, given, firstly, the presence of our team’s economic policy adviser and former Trump campaign economic policy adviser, Darren Brady Nelson, and our growing relationships with senior members of the Trump presidential team like Myron Ebell, who will reportedly lead the EPA, and David Malpass, who is under consideration to lead the Treasury. We need to use every resource at our disposal if we are to extricate ourselves from reprehensible accords such as the Paris Agreement.”

This derailed debate somewhat, with John “Wacka” Williams also lecturing the chamber on the importance of respecting Donald Trump and the US:

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“Senator Roberts mentioned Mr Trump. It is amazing how critical so many Australians are of Mr Trump. I ask you to cast your memories back to the Second World War, the Battle of Midway and the Battle of the Coral Sea. That was a turning point in the Second World War. Who was there? The Americans. Do not ever forget that.”

He went on to say that without the US, Australia would be living under a Japanese dictatorship. In the only reasonable response to a debate on such terms, Greens Senator Nick McKim offered Roberts a tinfoil hat:

“Presumably you think that NASA is trying to read your thoughts through the fillings in your teeth, that the chemtrails are impacting on your neural pathways or that maybe the lizard people are stealing your thoughts through the special implants in your brain that they put in while you were sleeping one night! It is interesting, because I found this tinfoil hat outside the Senate door that you usually come in through, Senator Roberts. I wonder: if the hat fits, would you like to wear it, Senator Roberts?”

Speaking of conspiracy theories, Ms Tips notes a study published in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences in April this year, on the topic “Better the devil you know than a world you don’t? Intolerance of uncertainty and worldview explanations for belief in conspiracy theories”. The study found that people who feel socially marginalised or that they have a lack of agency are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories, such as that a cabal of international banks is controlling the world. According to the study:

“Those who believe in Conspiracy Theories tend to perceive people and the world as an essentially bad place that conspires against them as an individual.

“They tend to perceive a lack of stable moral standards and view the ‘right’ morals as ever-changing, depending on the day and situation. These individuals do not consider the world to be random, as they believe there is reason or cause behind events.”

Sound like someone we know?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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