Malcolm Turnbull has attacked his former Nationals colleagues as ‘nuts’ for calling for taxpayer funding for a new coal-fired power station.
The former prime minister emerged in Canberra on Monday to mark the official visit of the Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
But he also weighed in on domestic politics, slamming the idea of taxpayers getting involved in subsiding coal-fired power stations.
“The fundamental economic reality is this: there is no economic basis on which to build a coal-fired power station in Australia any longer,” Mr Turnbull said.
“The cheapest form of new generation is a combination of renewables, plus storage. Literally that is no longer even a remotely contentious proposition.
“Those people who are advocating that the government should fund coal-fired power are basically making the case for higher emissions and higher energy prices. And that is nuts.”
Recently, Mr Turnbull described right-wing conservatives within the Coalition as “terrorists.”
Asked on Sunday if an Albanese government would support new coal-fired power stations, Labor’s deputy leader Richard Marles said it was for the market to decide.
“Well, when the energy industry itself aren’t touching this with a barge pole, why on earth would governments be in the business of subsidising it?” Mr Marles asked.
But he would not rule out a future Labor government supporting a new venture as long as it wasn’t government subsidised, arguing the normal processes should apply.
The comments came as independent MP for Warringah Zali Steggall unveiled details of her plan for a climate change act, arguing action was “a matter of conscience” similar to the same-sex marriage debate.
The legislation is modelled on Britain’s Climate Change Act and is designed to provide a national framework for action and mandatory annual reporting of Australia’s trajectory towards meeting reduction targets.
“We need to set out a road map for Australia to become a low-carbon economy without all the fear-mongering and misinformation,” Ms Steggall said.
“The big question all sensible Australians are asking is how? This is why we need a climate change act to set out a legislative framework.”
Several Liberal MPs have already signed on to a crossbench-led climate action committee, amid calls for the independents to take partisan politics out of the nation’s climate debate.
Proud to support @zalisteggall‘s Climate Change Bill 2020. An opportunity for the Parliament to work together on a sensible & urgent response to the #ClimateEmergency instead of the political nonsense up until now.
#auspol #politas #climatechangebillhttps://t.co/zkxMjKiOwD pic.twitter.com/C19asLdWGK
— Andrew Wilkie MP (@WilkieMP) February 10, 2020
But there’s no confirmation yet that any of those MPs will vote for Ms Steggall’s draft legislation.