The climate wars have reignited in the Coalition party room, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying he won’t be bullied into tougher action on global warming.
“We listen to Australians right across the country. Not just in the inner city,” Mr Morrison told Nine on Wednesday.
“We won’t be bullied into higher taxes or higher electricity prices.”
The PM’s tough talking came after the Nationals leadership turmoil ignited a stoush in the Coalition party room on Tuesday.
Barnaby Joyce, who was unsuccessful in an attempt to roll Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack early on Tuesday, launched a tirade in a subsequent joint Coalition party room meeting. He described climate change as a “hobby horse” issue – prompting some Liberal party moderates to demand more action to cut emissions and boost investment in renewable energy.
Some referred to an “ultimate ambition of carbon neutrality” by ensuring Australia became a global leader in renewables.
“Hazard reduction is as important, if not more than, emissions reduction.” @ScottMorrisonMP on the sports grant saga and Nationals leadership spill taking focus from the bushfire crisis on the first day back for parliament. #9Today pic.twitter.com/ZyP3waJ5Fk
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) February 4, 2020
Later on Wednesday, Mr Morrison doubled down on his comments about climate change, saying Australians had endorsed the Coalition’s policies by voting it into government.
“I would never make a commitment like that if I couldn’t tell the Australian people what it would cost them,” Mr Morrison said.
It comes as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson flagged banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 as the UK moves towards a net-zero emissions target.
Mr McCormack pointed to the action the government was already taking on emissions targets.
“But we’re doing it in a responsible way,” Mr McCormack told ABC on Wednesday.
“We don’t want to be sending industry offshore. And there is a future for coal in this country.”
New Nationals deputy leader David Littleproud said businesses had certainty there would not be significant changes to energy policy.
“It’s not just Australia that has to act [on climate change],” Mr Littleproud told ABC.
— abc730 (@abc730) February 5, 2020
As the Greens target younger voters with climate change policies at the next election, newly minted leader Adam Bandt sat down with school climate strikers at Parliament House on Wednesday morning.
Canberra teenager Aoibhinn Crimmins said the lack of government action on climate change left her angry and wanting stronger policies.
“How can we be kids in the climate crisis,” Ms Crimmins said.
Anyone care for some leaked PMO talking points? pic.twitter.com/8TetRvG9qQ
— Alice Workman (@workmanalice) February 4, 2020
Leaked talking points from the government on Tuesday showed extensive responses its team should adopt on climate change questions, highlighting its vulnerability on the issue.
Earlier on Wednesday, two climate protesters were arrested after gluing themselves to one of the roads into parliament.