Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has unloaded on Scott Morrison over his controversial comments during a church sermon in Perth – labelling them unworthy of someone who once led Australia.
Mr Morrison told worshippers at Margaret Court’s Victory Life Centre church last weekend that they should keep their faith in God, not the government.
“We trust in Him. We don’t trust in governments. We don’t trust in United Nations, thank goodness,” Mr Morrison said in last Sunday’s sermon at the church led by the former tennis great turned Pentecostal preacher.
“We don’t trust in all of these things, fine as they might be and as important as the role that they play. Believe me, I’ve worked in it, and they are important.”
On Thursday, Mr Albanese hit back.
“I just thought, wow. This guy was the prime minister of Australia and had that great honour of leading the government. I found it quite astonishing,” he told ABC radio in Melbourne.
“It provides some explanation perhaps of why, in my view, he clearly didn’t lead a government that was worthy of the Australian people – he said he doesn’t believe in government.
“The idea that he’s out there and pressing the United Nations button … I’ve spent two months trying to repair our international relations and that sort of nonsense, throwaway, conspiracy line about the United Nations I think isn’t worthy of someone who led Australia.”
Mr Morrison also alluded to his federal election loss during his sermon.
“Do you believe that if you lose an election God still has a plan for you?” he asked the assembled congregation, to rapturous applause.
“I still believe in miracles; God has secured your future; all of it’s true.”
Elsewhere, Mr Albanese said he was open to “sensible” changes to the government’s climate reform, but would not buckle under pressure from the Greens to increase reduction targets.
Ahead of the return of Parliament next week, Mr Albanese said he was not open to lifting targets at all, even if it would guarantee support from the Greens to enshrine it into law.
“We’re happy to consider any sensible amendments that can improve legislation,” he told ABC radio.
“Can I tell you what we’re not happy to do, to be very clear, is to change the issue that we have a mandate for, which is 43 per cent reduction by 2030 and net zero by 2050.”
Mr Albanese defended his government’s position in refusing to budge on the target, saying the Australian people gave his party the mandate.
The Albanese government promised a 43 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030 during the federal election.
“We announced it at the beginning of December, more than five months before the election, and that is what the Australian public expect us to support,” he said.
“I’ve seen the movie, whereby you have a government that says one thing before an election and something different afterwards and I know how it ends, badly.
“It ends with a decade of inaction, which is what happened during the last decade.”
Greens Leader Adam Bandt is set to begin negotiations with the government on its climate bill.
Labor holds 26 seats of the 76 in the Senate, short of the 39 votes needed for a majority. The new Parliament sits for the first time on Tuesday.