Environment Minister Melissa Price's slur against a respected leader and advocate for the planet shows she is not only out of line, but she is out of her depth.
"Former president Anote Tong is a passionate advocate for saving our planet and taking strong action on climate change and it is absolutely deplorable for Minister Price to treat him in this way," Greens environment spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
"Sea levels are rising and people will be displaced en masse across the Pacific region - this is what it is actually all about. Melissa Price's disrespectful comment towards former president Tong is a slur on an esteemed leader and the Pacific, who are facing the first, and worst effects of climate change.
"This is a man who is trying to save his people, his home, and the planet from the worsening effects of climate change, and our Environment Minister has treated him like a beggar.
"Between Peter Dutton joking about water lapping at the doors of pacific island residents, and Melissa Price's slur towards Mr Tong, it is clear this crass colonialist crap from the Morrison Government is becoming all too common.
"Assuming she could pay off a former president who is fighting for action on climate change shows Melissa Price is completely out of line, and out of her depth. At the very least, she owes Mr Tong and the people of the Pacific an apology.
"The Prime Minister needs to bring his Environment Minister into line. This is the attitude of this Government, to climate change and our neighbours in the pacific."