back to top

Peter Dutton Is Very Sorry For "Lame" Climate Change Joke Caught On Microphone

"Time doesn't mean anything when you're about to be, you know, have water lapping at your front door." UPDATE: Dutton apologised and Abbott called it lame.

Posted on

UPDATE: Australia's immigration minister has made a humble apology for his "lame" joke about Pacific Island nations being threatened by climate change.

Sky News

Dutton made the joke on Friday but it took till Sunday for an apology to be delivered.

"Obviously it was a private conversation - I should have realized the mic was there. I didn't. It was directly behind me," he said on Sky News' AM Agenda

"I made a mistake and I apologise to anyone who has taken offence to it. It was a light-hearted discussion with the PM and I didn't mean any offence to anyone."

The prime minister also weighed in on the controversy (some people dubbed #boomgate) on Saturday.

"It says something about the quality of our national conversation that a lame joke should be of more interest than something which is truly nation building and truly transforming, which reflects Australia at its best," said Abbott.

"Here we made a decision which reflects Australia at its best, and then we have a subsequent Twitter storm, which if I may say so reflects Australia at its worst."

To recap this is what happened... Dutton was caught out on a live microphone making a joke about how Papua New Guinea is about to be swamped by rising sea levels.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

"Time doesn't mean anything when you're about to be, you know, have water lapping at your front door," he said.

ABC News
Advertisement

There are two reasons why his comments are no joke. First, it's outrageously insensitive, given that the PM just came back from a meeting where he refused Pacific Island nations' pleas to commit to tougher emissions reductions. 2) IT'S JUST A BAD JOKE!

Mick Tsikas / AAPIMAGE

So let's try and break it down. Having just wrapped up a meeting on Syrian refugees, he starts with a casually racist joke about things running late in the far north.

ABC News

Abbott humours him, saying that proceedings also ran late in PNG.

ABC News

Then Morrison leaps in with a very weird question, which he definitely knew the answer to. Was he trying to save Dutton from himself by steering conversation back to general boring chitchat?

ABC News
Advertisement

Oh well, TOO LATE! HERE HE GOES!

ABC News

We put it to you, Mr Dutton, that if the rising oceans were threatening your house, that time would in fact, mean everything.

ABC News

The PM cracks up. Morrison does not. Because he knows something the other two do not.

ABC News

There's a boom mic just above Dutton's head.

ABC News
Advertisement

Like, it was literally right there.

And then they just stand there, with smiles plastered on their heads, fiddling with their jackets, as they let the extent of the fuckuppery truly sink in.

ABC News

Labor and the Greens jumped on it.

As @POTUS said earlier this year, any leader who treats climate change as a joke isn't fit to lead. https://t.co/4XRloiVLkE

Clowns exposed by breathtaking global warming gaffe. If there's a joke here, it's Abbott's climate policies >> http://t.co/dD36E8faVR

And just when it couldn't get any more perfect, someone set the gaffe to music of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

View this video on YouTube

Twitter: @rpy / youtube.com

Alexandra Lee is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Alex Lee at alexandra.lee@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.