Australia: Climate sceptic MP appointed chair of environment and energy committee

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Liberal Craig Kelly will lead backbench committee that provides advice and feedback on legislation and policies

The climate sceptic Liberal MP Craig Kelly has been appointed chairman of the backbench environment and energy committee, with National party MP Kevin Hogan as secretary.

The committee will provide feedback on legislation and policies relating to the environment and energy, including to the minister, Josh Frydenberg.

Kelly served on the committee during the last parliament and previously invited climate sceptics to “balance” a presentation given by top climate scientists.

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He has been writing on the issue for a number of years, noting that the convicts found it hotter in the 1700s.

“But I wonder if any of these people actually knew that Sydney’s so-called ‘record hot day’ on Tuesday 8th Jan this year [2013], that had them screaming “Global Warming”, was actually COOLER than the weather experienced by the convicts of the First Fleet in Sydney way back in the summer of 1790/91?” Kelly wrote.

He wrote on his Facebook page during the election campaign: “And with freezing temperatures and even snow forecast for Melbourne’s outskirts and in parts of New South Wales, I hope many of the warmists haven’t sold their coats.”

Hogan holds the marginal seat of Page on the New South Wales north coast. He has opposed coal seam gas development in his area.

The appointments were part of the political housekeeping required by the return of parliament after the election. The Coalition party room elected all the backbench committees and those with legislation to scrutinise met immediately to consider the bills.

Flanked by the deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, and the deputy Liberal leader, Julie Bishop, Malcolm Turnbull addressed the joint party room when it reconvened after lunch for another meeting to consider policy issues such as the contentious superannuation changes.

West Australian Liberal Nola Marino has been reappointed as chief government whip along with South Australian Liberal Rowan Ramsey and Queensland Liberal Bert van Manen. Ramsey and van Manen replace Queensland Liberal Ewen Jones and Tasmanian Liberal Brett Whiteley, both of whom lost their seats in the election.