- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Britain's High Commissioner to Australia has been described as a "sanctimonious bore" by senior political figures in Canberra who accused her of "haranguing" the Australian government on climate change.
Australian government sources hit out at Vicki Treadell, who has been the UK’s most senior diplomatic representative to the country since 2019. She is understood to have angered Australian ministers by setting a public carbon reduction target for the nation in an interview with its Special Broadcasting Service last week.
In the interview, Ms Treadell urged Australia to slash its carbon emissions by 40 to 50 per cent below 2005 levels and said the coalition's target of 26 to 28 per cent was inadequate.
"No movement would not be acceptable. We would find that disappointing," she said. "The global benchmark is that the majority of people are going for somewhere between 40 to 50 per cent. So ideally that is what we would like to see."
Critics argued that her proposal went beyond Boris Johnson's encouragement for Australia to go faster in its efforts to counter global warming.
A senior Australian government source told The Telegraph: "She's a sanctimonious bore trying to wedge our government on climate change... There are a lot of cabinet ministers very unhappy with the situation."
A second source claimed Ms Treadell had become "isolated" from the office of Scott Morrison, the Australian prime minister, and the foreign minister's team because of her "lectures".
The source accused her of "repeatedly overstepping the mark on climate change by giving us public lectures on what our sovereign domestic policy should be", adding: "We don't welcome that – even from our friends, or particularly from our friends.
"We are happy to hear the views of the UK Government on these things, and we take them very seriously. But we don't need public lectures."
The insiders highlighted the recent trilateral security pact and submarine deal between Britain, Australia and the United States, known as Aukus, and said it should be the focus. The second said: "Our governments can still work closely together, but have to work around her."
However, British sources hit back, insisting Ms Treadell has regular contact with the Australian government on an array of issues including the green agenda. A government source said: "She is very well qualified and is there for a reason."
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office declined to comment on the criticisms of Ms Treadell. A spokesman said: "Australia is one of the UK's closest allies. We continue to build a strong partnership for the future focused on a wide range of issues including security, trade and economic ties."