Booker Prize winning novelist Richard Flanagan said he was “ashamed to be Australian” during a scathing attack on the environmental policies of his home nation.
Flanagan, 53, made the comments after being awarded the Man Booker Prize in London for his book “The Narrow Road to the Deep North”, inspired by his father’s experience as a prisoner of war.
The book tells the story of Dorrigo Evans, a surgeon imprisoned in a Japanese work camp on the Thailand-Burma railway.
In an interview with the BBC late Tuesday, he said Prime Minister Tony Abbott was being “foolish” in his declaration this week that “coal is good for humanity” when opening a new mine in Queensland state.
“Australia has the most extraordinary environment and I don’t understand why our government seems committed to destroying what we have that’s unique in the world,” said Flanagan, a long-time campaigner for the preservation of old growth forest in Tasmania where he lives.