Tensions have flared between ABC host Patricia Karvelas and Barnaby Joyce as he distanced himself from Australia’s global pact to address climate change in a bizarre interview.
The fiery clash erupted on live TV when the Deputy Prime Minister suggested he didn’t sign the COP 26 agreement.
“Why did the Coalition sign the COP26 final agreement, including a request to strengthen 2030 emissions targets, only to issue a statement within hours saying its target is fixed?” Karvelas asked on Afternoon Briefing.
“Well our target is fixed,” Mr Joyce hit back.
“Why did you sign it, then? Why did you sign it?” she pressed.
"I didn't sign it, I wasn’t there” he responded.
“Your government signed it,” she repeated, sparking a colourful back-and-forth with the pair repeatedly speaking over one another.
“The Nationals did not sign that, PK. Okay, I did not sign it,” Mr Joyce said leaning into the camera.
“You are the Deputy Prime Minister of the Morrison government,” she continued.
“I know and I am very proud to be the Deputy Prime Minister,” he said before she finished her sentence.
Chaos unfolds as Barnaby is pressed
Looking frustrated, the ABC host tried again.
“Let me ask you this, you are the Deputy Prime Minister and you are saying I didn’t sign it?” to which Mr Joyce declares: “I know, you don't have to keep telling me that.”
Bewildered at his response, Karvelas begins to lose her patience.
“My brain is going to explode,” she tells the Deputy Prime Minister.
“How did it possibly happen that your government signed something that you reckon you didn't sign? Are you not an executive member of this government?”
A chuckling Mr Joyce then launches into a spiel about Australia’s coal industry when he is sternly interrupted.
“You’re listing and it is tiring,” Karvelas states bluntly.
“Now you are complaining I am answering too many questions,” he fired back.
Karvelas eventually backs down and attempts to discuss comments made by the NSW Liberal Treasurer Matt Kean who suggested the COP26 summit will create challenges for the fossil fuel industry.
But Mr Joyce swiftly shut her down.
“Get Matt Kean on your show,” he said.
Karvelas also took offence to Mr Joyce's remarks about COP26 President Alok Sharma who gave an emotional address as the two-week UN summit in Glasgow drew to a close.
"You are mocking the COP26 chairman, why are you doing that?... That's not very respectful."
Mr Joyce stood by his remarks, insisting it was a "theatrical performance".
Social media hammers Mr Joyce over interview
As the interview concluded, Mr Joyce conceded viewers were “entertained” by their interview.
“Everyone is entertained, they won't like me, but they will be entertained.”
However there was a scathing response online as the exchange was quickly picked up by many on Twitter, with one person describing Mr Joyce's appearance as "beyond embarrassing".
"This is a joke," another wrote.
One person said Mr Joyce was "taking the piss".
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