The Greens have taken aim at the host of ABC’s Q&A and a panellist on Thursday night’s show who has been accused of mocking and patronising Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
Much of the conversation on Thursday’s episode was about Australia’s use of fossil fuels and whether the country was falling behind the rest of the world in achieving net zero carbon emissions.
There was particularly spirited debate between Ms Hanson-Young and fellow 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.
At one point, Ms Hanson-Young called out Mr Liveris for being “patronising” as he was answering a question about his support for Australia’s commitment to fossil fuels.
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“Let me teach you a new term: fossil feed stock,” Mr Liveris 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,” he added, referring to the other panellists, “I’ll help you out the back.”
“You’re so patronising, seriously,” Ms Hanson-Young interjected. Mr Liveris denied that he was.
“I’m not the one shaking my finger at people, mate,” she shot back.
Q&A host Hamish McDonald asked the panellists to “try and keep it respectful” before Mr Liveris accused Ms Hanson-Young of “yelling” at him.
It was among several tense moments between the South Australian Greens senator and Mr Liveris as the panel debated the Morrison government’s gas-fired recovery plan.
Within minutes of the program ending, Queensland Greens took to Twitter to chastise Mr Liveris’ behaviour and McDonald’s failure to step in.
“Women should be able to appear on @QandA & speak without being spoken down to, interrupted, mocked, patronised, have a finger pointed at them & spoken over the top of,” the party tweeted.
“That was appalling behaviour from Andrew Liveris & disappointing to see it not called out by the host #qanda.”
Queensland Greens also directed a tweet to Ms Hanson-Young. “Hey Sarah, well done,” it said. “That would not have been easy.”
Plenty of viewers also picked up on Mr Liveris’ apparent “mansplaining”.
Also on Thursday night’s panel was former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Channel 10 presenter Narelda Jacobs, and Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt.
Mr Turnbull called out Mr Liveris for “mansplaining” at another point in the episode, as the pair disagreed about how many Australian jobs there were in industries using gas as feed stock.
Mr Liveris said there were 850,000 jobs.
“I don’t think that’s true. I think you’re way out off the chart,” Mr Turnbull told him.
“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, appearing to reference the earlier spat with Ms Hanson-Young.
“I’m not, mate,” Mr Liveris fired back. “That’s a pretty cheap shot.”
The panel discussion on Australia’s commitment to climate change came as US President Joe Biden told a global climate summit at the White House the country would halve emissions by 2030, more than doubling its previous target.
The announcement was part of a virtual Earth Day summit attended by 40 world leaders including Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Mr Morrison has confirmed Australia won’t budge on its remissions reduction target, but planned to tell his global peers the country was “committed” and “performing”.