‘Clumsy joke’: NSW Liberal candidate for Swansea filmed saying ‘I don’t believe in climate change’
Exclusive: Labor calls for Coalition to guarantee candidates support climate action after Megan Andersons remark The New South Wales Liberal partys candidate for Swansea, Megan Anderson, has downplayed a comment she made denying climate change last week, calling it a clumsy joke. With the state election less that two weeks away, Guardian Australia has seen footage from a community event about the Hunter offshore windfarms in which Anderson can be heard remarking to a person beside her, I dont believe in climate change. When contacted by Guardian Australia about the comment, she said it was not a declaration of her beliefs. I made a clumsy joke in response to the previous speaker, but that was not a declaration of my beliefs, Anderson said. I understand that our climate is changing and the NSW government has great policies that preserve our environment for future generations, which I support. Sign up for Guardian Australias free morning and afternoon email newsletters for your daily news roundup The comments come after it was revealed Nationals candidate for Port Macquarie, local mayor Peta Pinson, told a meeting her scepticism about climate science had solidified after reading a paper. She is running in one of just two seats being contested by both a Liberal and National candidate. Nationals candidates are required to submit an extensive form when they apply to run for the party, including details about their support for the partys policies, but the party embraces a broad church, a senior official explained. Pinsons comments were deemed acceptable within that framework. Anderson made her comment on 7 March while sitting around a table of local residents in Doyalson asking questions about the offshore wind zone in the Pacific Ocean off the Hunter. Sign up to Morning Mail Our Australian morning briefing breaks down the key stories of the day, telling you whats happening and why it matters after newsletter promotion Consultation for the proposed renewables project that the federal government claims could support the decarbonisation of the area - and create up to 8000 jobs - opened earlier this year, and has included a number of community discussions. Anderson only recently joined the Liberal party and was preselected for the near-unwinnable seat at the end of February. Labors Yasmin Catley held the Hunter region electorate on a 10% margin at the 2019 election. Opposition spokesperson Penny Sharpe said the Coalition needed to make sure all candidates were on the same page about climate change. Climate change is not a joke, she said. Mr Perrottet and Mr Toole must guarantee all Liberal and National candidates support taking meaningful action on climate change. So-called teal independent candidates running in key Liberal-held seats have been campaigning heavily on climate change action. Last week, key hopefuls joined kingmaker, independent Sydney MP, Alex Greenwich, to put forward a wishlist to be used should the NSW election result end up being a hung parliament. The Liberal party has defended its climate stance. The NSW government has an outstanding track record of delivering renewable energy investment, ensuring energy security and addressing climate change, a NSW Liberals spokesperson said The Perrottet governments long-term plan addresses challenges facing our state, including our net zero programs and policies that are helping to support industry to decarbonise, while promoting jobs and economic growth, and ensuring the delivery of reliable and affordable power.