Greens Leader Adam Bandt has labelled Michael McCormack a “threat to Australia” after being accused of treason by the acting-prime minister.
In an otherwise docile question time on Thursday, the pair resumed their vitriolic back-and-forth on a day the Coalition’s climate schism widened.
Mr Bandt claimed the government’s inertia was a “death sentence for millions of Australians” and demanded an apology to farmers whose livelihoods had been “put at risk”.
“Why are you doing everything in your power to make droughts and bushfires and extreme weather worse, ripping apart our country’s social fabric?” he asked.
“You talk of global warming; hell will freeze over before I start listening to the Greens,” Mr McCormack replied.
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“I’m the son of a generational farming family. How dare you come into this place and dare question my support for farmers?”
He then took aim at Mr Bandt for undermining Mathias Cormann’s bid for the general-secretaryship of the OECD in November, when Greens leader wrote to European ambassadors claiming his election would be a “a blow to tackling climate change”.
“Treasonous, I would call that. An absolute traitor to Australia!” Mr McCormack yelled.
Speaker Tony Smith immediately ordered him to withdraw the comment, though Mr McCormack insisted the Mr Bandt’s letters were “a disgrace”.
The Greens leader hit back at the comments soon after question time, labelling Mr McCormack a “threat to Australia”.
“I want to protect our country from the climate crisis … Michael McCormack’s love of coal and gas has our farmers and our future on the verge of collapse,” he told NCA NewsWire.
“The real treachery is loving coal more than your country. Australia’s farmers are at massive risk from the climate crisis but the Nationals are choosing coal and gas over crops and water.”
Mr McCormack’s performances while deputising for Prime Minister Scott Morrison have raised eyebrows in question time this week.
The acting prime minister on Wednesday sarcastically suggested mice be sent to inner-cities to “scratch their children” in an attack which also referenced Mr Bandt.
It came in response to PETA criticising “inhumane” methods used to exterminate mice during the ongoing mouse plague across regional NSW and Queensland.
“I didn’t hear (Mr Bandt) disendorsing them, saying the poor little curious creatures, the mice, should be rehomed,” he said.
“I agree they should be rehomed, into their inner-city apartments so they can nibble away at their food and their feet at night, and scratch their children at night.”
Defence Minister Peter Dutton, who had earlier used his powers to prevent Labor frontbenchers from speaking, claimed Labor had “questioned our values” over interjections during an answer on defence spending.
“Our values relate to freedom of speech, to democracy,” he said, to louder uproar on the opposition benches.
He then accused Labor of “belittling” Australian Defence Force troops, but was immediately cut off by Mr Albanese demanding he withdraw the claim.
The Labor leader insisted the interjections were prompted by a “minister who just moved that people be no longer heard speaking about freedom of speech”.
“There is no-one in this parliament, I would hope, who has ever been elected since 1901 who didn’t support the men and women of our Australian Defence Force. No-one,” he said.