Australians need not worry about the threat of a comet hitting Earth, Prime Minister Tony Abbott told The (Un)Australian, because he was prepared to “shirtfront” any rock from outer space that “sought to illegally cross our borders”.
The comment came amid reports the Earth has been left with “a huge blind spot” for potentially devastating comet strikes after the only dedicated comet-spotting program in the southern hemisphere was closed due to funding cuts in Australia.
It was this now-closed program that discovered the Siding Spring comet that just narrowly missed Mars, prompting ANU astrologer Beradley Tucker to tell The Guardian: “There could be something hurtling towards us right now and we wouldn’t know about it.”
However, Abbott responded to Tucker by telling The (Un)Australian that “Comet strikes are good for humanity.”
Abbott dismissed scientific consensus that a giant rock from outer space hitting Earth would likely have catastrophic consequences, insisting: “The argument about potentially civilsation-destroying asteroid strikes is absolute crap.”
Nonetheless that prime minister insisted that, faced with a potential asteroid or comet strike, his government would protect Australia’s borders and “stop the rocks” by direct action, declaring: “I am going to shirtfront rocks from out of space, ah … you bet you are, ah … you bet I am.”