16 Aug 2019

Radio host Alan Jones digs in over Ardern despite scolding from Australia's PM

11:22 am on 16 August 2019

Broadcaster Alan Jones has continued his criticism of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, despite a rebuke from Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Scott Morrison at the Pacific Islands Forum

Scott Morrison says he has daughters so that's among his reasons for criticising comments by radio host Alan Jones. Photo: RNZ / Yvette McCullough

On Thursday Jones said Mr Morrison should "shove a sock down [Ms Ardern's] throat" after Ms Ardern said "Australia had to answer to the Pacific" on climate change during the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu.

The Sydney shock jock said Ms Ardern was a "joke" for preaching about climate change, claiming that New Zealand's carbon dioxide had increased per capita more than Australia's since 1990.

On Thursday evening Jones released a statement saying he'd meant to say "put a sock in it", and repeated the statement again to his 2GB listeners this morning.

"This was wilful misinterpretation of what I said to obviously distract from the point that she was wrong about climate change and wrong about Australia's contribution to carbon dioxide level," he said.

Asked about Jones's original comments on Thursday, Ms Ardern brushed off the remark.

"I don't know that I'm going to give that the light of day. I think I'll just leave it where it is," she said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Tuvalu for the Pacific Islands Forum, at the narrowest point on capital atoll Funafuti.

Jacinda Ardern's comments on Australia's attitude to climate change measures have not gone down well among local media. Photo: RNZ / Yvette McCullough

Comments 'way out of line'

Mr Morrison told reporters at the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu yesterday that Jones' comments were "way out of line".

"I find that very disappointing," he said. "I mean, I have two daughters. So you can expect that's how I would feel personally about it."

Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama took to Twitter to respond to Jones, saying it was easy for the broadcaster to make such remarks from the comfort of a radio studio.

"The people of the Pacific, forced to abandon their homes due to climate change, don't have that luxury," he tweeted.

"Try saying that to a Tuvaluan child pleading for help."

Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull endorsed Mr Bainimarama's tweet.

"Well said Frank," Mr Turnbull tweeted. "Jones should also apologise to @jacindaardern for his latest misogynistic rant."

The leaders of the 18-member countries and territories met for 12 hours in Tuvalu yesterday, with a communiqué and separate statement on climate change finally released after midnight.

The main communiqué endorsed a declaration from the small island states calling for a commitment to limit global warming to 1.5C, an immediate phase out of coal, and contributions to the UN Green Climate Fund.

But there was one qualification, which Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga said related to Australia. It's understood Australia had pushed for the wording on climate change to be watered down.


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