Barnaby Joyce warns on Coalition after net zero impasse

Asia's Tech News Daily

Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce has warned of a “ripple effect” through the Coalition if his party is put under pressure to endorse a cut in carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 as some of his colleagues warn against the goal.

The Deputy Prime Minister said the Nationals would reject the net zero target if his colleagues felt threatened to make a rapid decision after they emerged from a four-hour meeting on Sunday without agreement.

Asked if he and others would have to quit cabinet if they could not agree with government policy, Mr Joyce said this was a “statement of the bleeding obvious” but he warned that this should not be pushed too far.

“The process is quite clear – everybody is in cabinet at the behest of the Prime Minister and that includes me,” he told the ABC on Monday morning.

“But of course, hand in glove goes with that the ripple effect through the Coalition, and everything comes with rights and comes with consequences and everybody is aware of that.”

Mr Joyce said the Nationals were not “chained to a script” and could go their own way on the climate change policy.

“At times we have a variance of views, we have divergent views, we have different views, and that is our right,” he said, in his first substantial remarks since the Sunday meeting ended without a decision.


Video: Barnaby Joyce ‘roughly on board’ with net-zero (Sky News Australia)

“And we are absolutely fervent about the exercise of that right and if we ever believe that we are being threatened or pushed or stood over, I know what the outcome of that position is – people just say no.”

Nationals MPs said the meeting of 21 federal MPs was a good discussion without heated argument but also without a consensus. Some estimate that while one third of the group is strongly against net zero by 2050, at least one third support the goal.

The party room meets again on Monday for the usual discussion when Parliament is sitting. The Liberal party room is also meeting on Monday for a debate about climate policy, ahead of a Coalition party room meeting on Tuesday morning.

Mr Joyce confirmed a statement he made on Sunday that he did not expect the Nationals party room to accept a higher Australian emissions target for 2030, standing by a cut of 26 to 28 per cent while United Nations leaders have called for a 45 per cent cut.

“We just don’t agree with it,” he said of a higher target on the ABC on Monday morning.

Nationals deputy leader and Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said on Sunday night the party room meeting was not asked to make a decision on a higher 2030 target.

Mr Littleproud said the Nationals would need “the coming days” to consider the detail of the decision on net zero.

“We’ll work through it as quickly as we can just to make sure that regional and rural Australia is protected.”

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