'Patronising': Panellist slammed during heated Q&A stand-off

Olivia Lambert
·News Editor
·3-min read

A Greens Senator has lashed out at a "patronising" Q&A panellist while the party took aim at the host for not stepping in.

A heated episode of the ABC program on Thursday night saw panellists debate the issue of fossil fuels ahead of a virtual world summit to ramp up global efforts on climate change.

Presenter on 10 News First and Studio 10, Narelda Jacobs, responded to a question about whether Australia's economy will suffer due to plans for a massive expansion of coal and gas extraction. 

Jacobs said it was going to be "embarrassing" for Australia at the world summit before hitting out at the government for not tackling producers of fossil fuels and the exporters. 

Andrew Liveris appearing on the ABC program Q and A.
Andrew Liveris told a fellow panellist he would give her a chemistry lesson out the back. Source: ABC

Host Hamish McDonald then asked panellist Andrew Liveris – the former chief executive of the Dow Chemical Company and current board member of the Saudi Aramco petrol and natural gas company – about whether he was committing Australia to using fossil fuels for longer. 

Mr Liveris used it as an opportunity to hit back at Jacobs' comments. 

"Let me teach you a new term – fossil feed stock," he said. 

"Fossil feed stock is all of your modern life. If you want to live a modern life, you need a fossil feed stock. 

"You can't get carbon any other way. If you want a chemistry lesson I'll help you out the back."

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young holds up her hand in dismay.
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young hits out at Andrew Liveris. Source: ABC

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young then interrupted: "You're so patronising. Seriously."

As the audience clapped in support of the senator's comments, McDonald urged to panellists to "keep it respectful". 

"I'm not the one shaking my finger at people, mate," she hit back. 

Mr Liveris then claimed the senator was "yelling". 

Former PM calls out 'mansplainer'

During the program, which also featured former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull on the panel, Mr Liveris was accused of mansplaining during a debate about jobs in industries that used gas as feed stock. 

Mr Turnbull questioned Mr Liveris' claim there were 850,000 jobs, saying, "I don't think that's true".

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young seen on the Q&A panel with other guests.
Sarah Hanson-Young calls Andrew Liveris out for being 'patronising'. Source: ABC

“Malcolm, I use the same people you use for research. When you were prime minister. Go talk to the people in Canberra,” Mr Liveris said.

“I don’t mind you mansplaining me,” Mr Turnbull said in an apparent jab at his debates with the female panellists. 

“I’m not, mate,” Mr Liveris shot back. 

“That’s a pretty cheap shot.”

Q&A panellist slammed on Twitter

Following the program, the Queensland Greens tweeted its disappointment in the episode where women were "mocked" and "interrupted".

"Women should be able to appear on [Q&A] and speak without being spoken down to, interrupted, mocked, patronised, have a finger pointed at them and spoken over the top of," the tweet said.

"That was appalling behaviour from Andrew Liveris and disappointing to see it not called out by the host of Q&A."

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Others on Twitter also expressed their dismay at Mr Liveris' comments following the episode.

"Andrew Liveris is pretty rude. Very disrespectful in talk and behaviour," one said.

"Talking over the top of others, especially the women." 

Another said Mr Liveris' comment he would see Jacobs out the back for a chemistry lesson was "disgusting and inappropriate".

"Liveris has been appallingly patronising and arrogant. An unashamed smart arse even called out by Turnbull for mansplaining," another commented. 

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