Michael Pascoe: How can Dutton remake the party of Parliament’s biggest RWNJ?

Senator Gerrard Rennick takes the cake for outlandish claims, Michael Pascoe writes.  <i>Photos: AAP</i>

Senator Gerrard Rennick takes the cake for outlandish claims, Michael Pascoe writes. Photos: AAP

Who is the biggest looney in federal Parliament? It’s a subjective call, purely a matter of opinion, but for mine, Gerard Rennick has shot ahead of a crowded field to seize the tinfoil cap trophy with daylight second. Evidence in the Senator’s own words down below.

Of course, if you’re a Trump-supporting, climate-denying, elites-fearing anti-vaxxer who thinks we should be friendly with Russia because they’re Caucasian soccer-playing Christians, you would disagree.

Indeed, the Liberal senator for Queensland could well be your personal hero, someone you would be happy to follow when he’s out and about seeking Liberal Party recruits from the right-wing fringe.

OK, maybe daylight wasn’t second – there is Ralph Babet, the Victorian real estate agent for whom Clive Palmer bought a Senate seat last year.

Very much Senator Rennick’s fellow traveller, Senator Babet has left former silver medal rivals, Pauline Hanson’s little Queensland mate, Malcolm Roberts and South Australian Liberal Alex Antic, to fight for bronze.

It says plenty about the RWNJ (right-wing nut job) end of the Senate that Senator Hanson can no longer make the podium.

Select candidates


One Nation leader Pauline Hanson. Photo: AAP

It also says plenty about the difficulty Peter Dutton has in trying to make the Liberal Party politically acceptable for younger, educated voters when he starts with two of Parliament’s four biggest far-right geese (in my opinion) as members of his caucus, exerting their influence as part of the hard-and-looney right controlling the party.

Remember that Senator Rennick and Senator Antic were chosen not so much by electors as by the Liberal Party membership, presumably reflecting the ambitions, intelligence, hopes and policies of the party in Queensland and South Australia respectively.

Nobody really voted for Senator Rennick, the third pick on the LNP ticket in 2019 – they voted for the Liberal Party. (Well, perhaps a few friends and relations, but they didn’t get him elected.)

The Darling Downs accountant was a worry well before he was elected, but that didn’t worry the Liberal Party.

No worries

In October 2018, he was advocating closer ties with Russia, telling The Australian: “They’re part of the West; they drink, they’re Christians, they play soccer, they’re Caucasian.”

(By implication, white is nice, other colours not so nice.)

And he was “taking with a grain of salt” Britain’s view that Russia was behind the deadly Salisbury chemical weapons attack.

That was four years after MH17 was shot down over Ukraine by a Russian missile, killing 298 people, 38 of them Australians, not that nationality should matter with such a crime.

Senator Rennick has been a rabid climate denialist from the start, apparently believing the Bureau of Meteorology was involved in a conspiracy to fiddle temperature statistics.

Not so tweet

For these and other reasons, in my opinion he was clearly a goose, but I didn’t know quite how big a goose until stumbling upon Senator Rennick’s Twitter output at the weekend.

Senator Rennick – not The Shovel or Betoota Advocate or The Chaser – proudly posted a video of his good self using the Senate economics legislation committee to school actual scientists – the CSIRO chief executive, Dr Larry Marshall, among them – about the role of gravity in  warming and thus why moving to renewable energy wouldn’t stop global warming.

No, really.

“Climate scientists argue that CO2 traps heat in the same way that a greenhouse traps heat. This is categorically false,” Senator Rennick further advised his followers.

“What traps convection is gravity. It’s why the surface of the Earth is warmer than, say, the top of Mount Everest. Gravity stops all the molecules in the atmosphere, including O2 and N2, from floating off into outer space.

“We are taught in grade eight science that gases and solids have different properties. Yet climate scientists overlook this very simple fact.”

Senator Rennick using, as he said, his grade eight science, versus Dr Marshall with his PhD in physics … ah, the Liberal Party. Ah, the Queensland Liberal Party in its LNP configuration in particular.

I was moved to express my surprise about Senator Rennick on Twitter in language unbecoming to The New Daily. Yes, it was naughty of me, but I was a bit shocked at finding Senator Rennick could still shock me.

Wait, there’s more

But now he’s done it again, pushing his nut job status way out beyond mere extreme climate denialism (98 per cent of scientists are wrong and I’m right) to a level of Donald Trump adoration and conspiracy theory promotion that might even worry Sky After Dark presenters.

Kindred spirit Senator Babet thoughtfully tweeted a spray from Senator Rennick’s Facebook page for those of us who only suffer from Elon Musk’s social media affliction, not Mark Zuckerberg’s.

It is beyond bizarre.

“It’s very simple,” Senator Rennick posted. “If Trump becomes president he will seek peace in Ukraine and rebuild the influence and productive capacity of the USA and the West.

“The globalists don’t want this to happen. They want to start World War Three to destroy the West before transferring power to China.”

And that was just for openers.

“As Germany was forced to pay up after WWI and Britain after WWII, the goal is to drain USA of its wealth through punitive reparations in order to empower China. The opaque Bank of International Settlements will orchestrate it.

“The Democrat party led by Biden is a puppet of the deep state. They have no regard for democracy or the rights of the individual. He is without a doubt the George III of the 21st Century.”

And so on and so forth.

No joke

Yes, it was posted on April 1. But, no, it’s not Senator Rennick having a joke. It is Senator Rennick. It is Peter Dutton’s Liberal Party.

Senator Antic wants only to abolish the United Nations. He needs to try much harder.

It took two terms of government before the Liberal leadership worked up the nerve to ditch the embarrassment of its former top RWNJ, Craig “horse wormer” Kelly.

The question for Mr Dutton is how many terms of opposition will it take to ditch the ratbaggery of Senators Rennick and Antic – unless he prefers to remain their captive, if not fellow traveller.

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