Liberal MP Craig Kelly on Good Morning Britain (Image: ITV)

Australia’s lost, burning summer has gained an incredible amount of international attention.

Haunting images have made their way around the world, the news has hit international front pages, and the crisis was used as evidence of a climate emergency at yesterday’s US Democratic debate by presidential candidate Tom Steyer.

It got us thinking: just who is representing us in these international discussions? It’s a mixed bag.

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Craig Kelly

Liberal backbencher, coal fanatic and budget Tony Abbott Craig Kelly recently went on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, and, well, the rest is small but unforgettable blip on the timeline of media history.

He attempted to downplay the arguments linking the fires to climate change and was pilloried by meteorologist Laura Tobin and broadcaster Piers Morgan. He thus joined the rare company of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in the group of people who briefly make Morgan seem thoughtful and grounded.

Steve Keen

The London-based Australian economist has been happy to comment on the fires for various European outlets — most fulsomely on Deutsche Welle, the German state broadcaster.

He told DW that the government was dominated by “climate change trivialisers”, and that “they’ve always assumed that sea level rise would be the symptom, and Pacific island nations, who don’t matter, the victims. Now with the bushfires, the populace is realising that Australia may be the first victim”. Nothing much to quarrel with there, but we’re just not sure exactly why he’s being asked…

Latika Bourke

Nine’s London-based Canberra scoop-getter was brought in to comment on Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s various political missteps, pointing out particularly Morrison’s vulnerability with his climate change denying supporters, at the end of a thorough round-up by the BBC.

Michael Mann (?)

MSNBC was delightfully American about their choice of Australian representative. The network consulted Michael Mann, a distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University, who just happened to be in Sydney at the time.

Benjamin Hall (???)

Fox News went a step further. They asked their frightfully British London bureau chief to comment on the conditions — both environmental and political — in Australia. From his office. In London. Penny-wise broadcasting.

Matt Kean

New South Wales Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean’s strong performance during the crisis saw him getting a bit of international attention.

A raft of outlets — including CNN, Reuters and CBS — used Kean’s footage of food drops for stranded wallabies and accompanying statement for a cute story in the midst of all the horror. He is one to watch.

Who would you like to see representing Australia on the world stage? Send your comments to [email protected]

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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