Barnaby Joyce, the former deputy prime minister of Australia, has made headlines across the country after he tweeted a message on Christmas Eve talking about the ongoing drought and saying that he is “sick of the government being in my life.”
In the 48-second clip, Joyce is seen feeding cattle.
Merry Christmas pic.twitter.com/QGYPv51pTN
— Barnaby Joyce (@Barnaby_Joyce) December 24, 2019
“You’ve got to wonder what politicians do on Christmas Eve, well when it’s drought, feed cattle,” Joyce says, while pointing his camera to a herd of cows.
He also says he believes in climate change but that a tax on emissions isn’t the way to go.
“Now you don’t have to convince me the climate is not changing, it is changing,” he said. “My problem has always been whether you believe new taxes are going to change it back. I just don’t want the government any more in my life, I am sick of the government being in my life.”
“The other thing I think we have to acknowledge is that there’s a higher authority that’s beyond our comprehension—right up there in the sky,” he said while pointing his camera to the sky.
“And unless we understand that that’s got to be respected, then we’re just fools. We’re going to get nailed.”
People who reply to the post observed that Joyce was a member of the government and that he was free to resign if he wanted it out of his life. In such a case, however, taxes would still apply.
Joyce’s message comes as the government’s corporate regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, is set to target companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) that fail to tell their customers and shareholders about climate change risks and impacts on their business, according to local reports.
The corporate watchdog has launched a new surveillance program to enforce the law, where it may need to extract confidential documents or interview key executives in the companies.
While companies in Australia are legally required to warn of any significant risks of climate change to the health of their businesses, no legal action has been taken to enforce the rules thus far, even though last year ASIC did remind companies to “consider climate risk” and share such information with the respective companies’ shareholders.
Meanwhile, the country’s regulator of the financial services industry, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), will from April 2020 run “climate change stress tests” on banks, insurers and superannuation funds, The Australian newspaper reported.
The tests will audit how the companies prepare their portfolios in the context of potentially “wildly” fluctuating asset prices amid a transition to a low-emissions economy, and will be introduced after global central banks launch new “economic and environmental scenario modeling” in April 2020, the report said.