Tobin has a degree in physics and meteorology, four years experience as an aviation forecaster with the Royal Air Force and has worked as a broadcast meteorologist for 12 years. She has also completed a climate course with the World Meteorological Organisation.
Nevertheless, Tobin said she hadn’t taken the insults personally and was glad to be able to contribute to the debate.
Kelly worked as an “export manager” before entering Parliament as the Member for Hughes in 2010, according to his parliamentary bio.
Kelly and Tobin clashed on live television after the MP claimed the bushfires were caused by fuel loads.
“You have the second-highest carbon emission on earth per capita, you are burying your head in the sand. You’re not a climate sceptic, you’re a climate denier,” Tobin said.
Tobin said her “outburst” was prompted by her “frustration” by Kelly’s false claims.
Tobin said she was first made aware of Mr Kelly’s insult, via Twitter but said she was untroubled by Mr Kelly’s comments, for which he has apologised, because it was furthering the broader debate about the link between climate change and Australia’s horrific bushfires.
“I don’t mind. I don’t take anything personally, there are bigger things to worry about than what people say about you.”
“The most important thing is the people and the animals and if we can protect those by having that conversation than we’re winning.”
Tobin said Australia was widely viewed in Britain as a blocker of climate change action internationally, particularly after the last Conference of the Parties (COP) meeting on climate change where Australia downgraded its carbon abatement targets using an accounting trick.
She said while Australia was a smaller country, what it does on climate change affects other countries’ climate policies and decision-making.
“I think our view is that the Australian government is not taking it as seriously as it should be and that the people of Australia want it to be taken more seriously,” she said.
She added that climate change protests around the world had shown that the distance between the public’s views on climate change and the government’s response was not unique to Australia.
Latika Bourke is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based in London.