Elections 2022: Michael McCormack talks about coalition split on net zero climate change policy
National MPs have turned on one of their colleagues, with one saying “the world has passed over” the outspoken senator.
Nationals deputy leader said “the world has passed over” Matt Canavan on climate change as the pro-coal senator’s party colleagues turned to him.
David Littleproud was among the national MPs to publicly end Queensland Senator Canavan’s claim that the Coalition’s net zero carbon footprint by 2050 was dead.
Senator Canavan and his anti-net-zero allies are on the verge of reopening a rift in the Coalition on Climate Change Policy 3.5 weeks before federal elections.
Speaking to Sky News, Littleproud said the goal had been “resolved before Christmas” despite fierce opposition from Senator Canavan at the time.
“His views were contrary. This is nothing new. And while he may want to pursue it, the world has surpassed Matt Canavan, “Littleproud said.
Mr. Littleproud said he spoke with Senator Canavan on Wednesday morning and it was “Party of Nationals culture” that people could express different opinions.
Former Nationals leader turned backbencher Michael McCormack also dismissed Senator Canavan’s claim, telling him to “stick your head in.”
McCormack said his party “shook hands” and accepted the mid-century carbon neutrality goal.
“When country people make a deal, a deal is a deal is a deal,” he told ABC Wednesday.
The Nationals – led by Barnaby Joyce – agreed on the net zero target last October in exchange for more government investment in regional Australia, including a record $ 21 billion passed down in the recent federal budget.
McCormack noted that Joyce, who replaced him as Deputy Prime Minister in June 2021, was not getting the numbers he needed to make the promise fail.
With Australia under intense international pressure to make the commitment, the target was agreed despite emphatic protests from some Nationals members.
Scott Morrison on Wednesday denied the Coalition disagreed on the climate, saying no one should be surprised at the news that Senator Canavan does not support net zero.
“This is his point of view, it’s not a surprise. She held it for a long time, that debate has been held, “the Prime Minister told reporters in Rockhampton.
He stressed that Senator Canavan’s views were not the government’s position and denied that the emissions reduction target could cause a rift between cities and regions.
But he said the Nationals backbencher was right on Labor’s plan to strengthen the safeguard mechanism, a benchmark that requires Australia’s largest greenhouse gas emitters to keep their net emissions below a predetermined limit.
“It’s a sneaky carbon tax that Labor is putting in place and it’s not just about the mining industry … it’s on fuel supplies, it’s oil, it’s gas, it’s transportation, it’s down the line.” Morrison said.
The safeguard mechanism was legislated by the Abbott government, but Morrison denied that a “carbon tax” fear campaign was misleading.
“The difference is, as you know, how the thresholds work,” he said.
“The fact that we have put incentives in place. What Labor is doing is binding them on this and imposing sanctions on those companies, so they couldn’t be more different. “
As to whether Australians could trust him to hit net zero, Morrison said he took the pledge “very seriously,” but declined to say whether he would legislate on the target.
“This has been a problem that has been very difficult for our side of politics,” he said.
“I was the first leader of our party to put our coalition together on the same page on this issue. And it wasn’t a simple challenge. “
Morrison released Australia’s plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 before flying to Glasgow for a UN climate summit, but the target is not legislated.
Senator Canavan on Tuesday said the net zero goal was “anything but screams” not long after Morrison insisted it was still “absolutely” coalition policy.
The brawl was stirred up earlier that day when Mr. Morrison was undermined by other citizens, including Mr. Joyce and the candidate for Flynn’s Queensland seat, Colin Boyce.
Mr. Boyce said the net-zero plan was flexible, saying it “leaves us room for maneuver as we move forward”.
“Morrison’s statement that he made is non-binding. There will be no legislation attached to it, “Boyce told ABC.
Originally published as National MPs question Matt Canavan over climate change claims