‘Torture’: Malcolm Turnbull lashes Coalition over climate wars
Malcolm Turnbull says watching the Coalition government fight over emissions reduction policy is “torture”, claiming Scott Morrison is trying to avoid an “implosion” like the one that ended his own prime ministership.
The federal Nationals and Liberals are divided over Australia’s potential commitment to a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050, with Mr Morrison under significant international pressure ahead of his appearance at the crucial COP26 climate summit in Glasgow later this month.
Mr Turnbull, who was ousted as the Liberal leader in 2018 after an internal brawl over his signature energy policy, the national energy guarantee, claims the federal government remains beholden to climate change denialists in 2021.
“I understand this better than most — I lived through it — and it is just caught in this vice of (a) really strong group of climate deniers who don’t take global warming seriously (and) are absolutely wedded to the fossil fuel sector,” he told the ABC on Monday.
The Nationals have so far refused to sign up to the target, with a number of prominent frontbenchers demanding deals to support people living in the regions, particularly those working in the resources and agricultural sectors.
Nationals MPs were presented with the Liberals’ emissions reduction plan on Sunday but failed to reach a position despite a marathon party room meeting.
Mr Turnbull has accused Mr Morrison of being determined not to lead on climate action, calling on his successor to air his plan publicly and “make a case for change” to the junior coalition partner.
“What Scott (Morrison) is trying to do is to avoid having the same implosion that we have had in the past that brought my prime ministership to an end,” he said.
“You can’t underestimate the propensity for (the Nationals) to blow it all up.
“It’s very hard to manage that Coalition party room and manage the Nationals, and very hard to manage (Deputy Prime Minister) Barnaby Joyce.”
Nationals Deputy Leader David Littleproud appeared on the same ABC program where he said his party would aim to reach an agreement on net-zero by 2050 before Mr Morrison heads to the UK in less than a fortnight.
“I think this is our opportunity to bury it once and for all. There is fatigue out there and people just really want us to get on with solution,” he said.
“They don’t want it to cost them too much but they want us to be honest about how we achieve it.
“Zealots from both sides really need to bugger off and let the adults now, over the coming week, resolve this.”
Independent MP Zali Steggall on Monday reintroduced her own climate change bill to federal parliament, proposing that Australia commit to reaching net-zero emissions by December 31, 2050 after reducing them by 60 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.
Originally published as ‘Torture’: Malcolm Turnbull lashes Coalition over climate wars
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