A billboard in New York’s Times Square beamed messages highlighting Australia’s climate policies after a comedian crowdfunded enough money to buy the prime space for 10 minutes.
With Prime Minister Scott Morrison bound for Glasgow for next month’s COP26 climate summit of world leaders, Australian comic Dan Ilic took the opportunity to highlight the federal government’s contentious environmental policies.
In a post on crowdfunding website Indiegogo, Ilic, who refers to himself as an “investigative humourist”, asked fans for “financial support to do something silly”.
Ilic originally planned to buy advertising space in the Scottish city during the conference hosted by the United Nations.
But when his crowdfunding campaign rocketed to $14,000, his budget suddenly allowed for a slightly higher-profile space: the biggest billboard in Times Square.
Images displayed during the 10-minute slot on Thursday (local time) included slogans such as “Cuddle a koala (Before we make them extinct)”.
One ad referred to the PM as Coal-o-phile Dundee, while another contained an open letter to the world:
“Dear World, … yeah, look … sorry about our government bullsh**ing you about our emissions targets. Kind regards, People of Australia.”
The federal government has not committed to net zero emissions by 2050, amid tensions between the Liberal and Nationals arms of the Coalition.
The stunt got plenty of traction on social media, with supporters like Australian actor Russell Crowe sharing the exploits.
In an interview with CNN, Ilic criticised Mr Morrison for “running away from a crisis”.
“This is what we have to do in this country, we have to drag our leaders to lead us,” he said.
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“We have to lead our leaders, because our leaders don’t work for us, they work for the fossil fuel companies.”