The Chronicle

Net-zero talks not on agenda for Coalition


THE government did not discuss the road to net-zero in their first joint party room meeting in seven weeks, despite a stalemate between the Liberal and National parties raging on.

On Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Treasurer Josh Fydenberg addressed the Coalition, but did not discuss how the government was progressin­g in finalising a plan for net zero ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, which Mr Morrison will head to in a matter of weeks.

The government has not said publicly why the issue was not discussed.

Several Liberal ministers have publicly expressed their frustratio­n at their Nationals colleagues for holding up the process, but leaders remain hopeful the Coalition will work out a deal.

But the Prime Minister has told Liberal colleagues he will proceed with a plan to cut carbon emissions by 2050 without the support of the Nationals if they cannot come to an agreement.

Mr Joyce, the Nationals leader as well as Mr Morrison’s deputy, said he wanted to ensure the Coalition remained “tight” but there needed to be a plan for regional Australia – including a longterm plan for jobs and more spending.

“I think the nation expects that of us. We will make sure we give our best endeavours to do that,” he said.

“We’re not going to be haphazard and go down a process … It is not about ransom, grandstand­ing. It is about looking after regional people.

“We can’t just decide that we are going to go in a different direction without proper considerat­ion of the people who sent us to Canberra.”

Nationals Senator Matt Canavan, who accused Mr Morrison of “gaslightin­g”, said his party wanted to see a “credible plan”.

“According to the media a decision has already been made … The Prime Minister is gaslightin­g the Nationals,” Mr Canavan told Sky News.

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull told RN Breakfast on Tuesday morning that Australia was “being held hostage by climate deniers in the National Party”.

Liberal MP Dave Sharma said he thought it would be “unusual” if there was unanimity of opinion, given how divisive an issue it had been in Australian politics.

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Scott Morrison

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