One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts has introduced a lot to Parliament, and his insult to the Prime Minister in Senate question time means a particularly Australian idiom has now made its way to Hansard. Roberts said: 

“The Prime Minister, after 10 years of demonising carbon dioxide, is now like a shag on a rock. What we need to see is a policy based on empirical data on climate.”

The comment prompted NSW Senator Sam Dastyari to taunt “how do you shag on a rock?” from the bench, and the young reporters at BuzzFeed also queried what he meant — they’ve been now told it’s a reference to the bird.

Interestingly enough, it’s not the first time an Australian Prime Minister has been labelled a “shag on a rock” in relation to climate change policy. Mark Kenny used the phrase in The Sydney Morning Herald in 2014 to describe Tony Abbott’s approach to climate change talks.

Peter Fray

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