CANBERRA, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Australian Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack's recent comments on climate change was denounced by the opposition party as "ignorant".
"These are ignorant comments from the acting prime minister and he should know better," said Richard Marles, opposition Australian Labor Party leader.
McCormack has said that Pacific island nations will survive climate change "because many of their workers come here to pick our fruit".
The deputy prime minister made the remarks at a business event on Friday after Prime Minister Scott Morrison refused to join Pacific leaders in committing to end coal mining and go carbon neutral by 2050.
"I also get a little bit annoyed when we have people in those sorts of countries pointing the finger at Australia and say we should be shutting down all our resources sector so that, you know, they will continue to survive," McCormack said.
McCormack, acting as the prime minister while Morrison had been attending the pacific forum dialogue partners meeting in Tuvalu, said there's no question they'll continue to survive on large aid assistance from Australia.
"Because many of their workers come here and pick our fruit, pick our fruit grown with hard Australian enterprise and endeavor and we welcome them and we always will."
Morrison drew criticism from Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand prime minister, and Enele Sopoaga, prime minister of Tuvalu and chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum, after the meeting held on Thursday.
Frank Bainimarama, the prime minister of Fiji, vented his frustration with the outcome on social media.
"We came together in a nation that risks disappearing to the seas, but unfortunately we settled for the status quo in our communique," he wrote.