The Nationals rats who voted with Labor to install estranged colleague Llew O’Brien as Deputy Speaker have been criticised for the ‘revenge’ act.
As tensions between the Coalition continued to flare in the party room on Tuesday, moderate Liberals were urged not to respond to provocation from the Nationals.
Speaking before the meeting, Nationals MP and Assistant Minister for Children and Families, Michelle Landry said there was “a bit of revenge” from Barnaby Joyce supporters in the shock Deputy Speaker’s vote after they failed to install him as leader.
“Colleagues have voted with Labor and that’s very disappointing,” Ms Landry said.
“I think it might have been a bit of revenge happening there because Barnaby didn’t get the leadership. I am disappointed with what has happened.”
In the Coalition party room, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg took a swipe at those continuing to fuel the tensions, complaining the good news of the free trade deal with Indonesia on Monday had been overshadowed.
Earlier, ex-frontbencher Matt Canavan, who quit cabinet to support Mr Joyce’s leadership tilt, urged Liberals – including former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull – to keep telling Nationals they were “amoral” for supporting coal.
“Malcolm is welcome to his views, good luck to him,” Senator Canavan said.
“In fact, I would love for Malcolm to continue to express these views.
“If at the next election, if he’s got time, I would love for him to come up to Collinsville, bring a convoy with him, hold a rally and tell all the people of north Queensland how evil and amoral we are.
“That will help us a lot – I might even pay for his petrol.”
You might have noticed that yesterday the House elected a new Deputy Speaker. If you've got questions about the role of Deputy Speaker, or the process of the secret ballot, we've got answers for you right here: https://t.co/mZUfPBpUXZ pic.twitter.com/ujVsQOXFlc
— Australian House of Representatives (@AboutTheHouse) February 10, 2020
But mixed messages on the future of the coal industry have also emerged in Labor ranks after Anthony Albanese adopted much stronger rhetoric than his deputy Richard Marles’ wishy-washy argument on Insiders on Sunday. The deputy leader said it was “a matter for the market”.
Both men were against spending taxpayers’ money on a feasibility study for a new coal-fired power station but Mr Albanese adopted stronger language.
“I don’t think there’s a place for coal-fired power plants in Australia, full stop,” he told ABC radio on Tuesday.
“No. Exclamation mark. This is quite outrageous. Here we have, essentially, the government pretending that the world isn’t changing.
“What we need is a transition to a clean energy economy. And the truth is that no private sector operation will touch a new coal-fired power plant with a barge pole. It can’t get the proper insurance, they can’t get financing. And that’s because renewables are cheaper. This is hush money – hush money for the climate-change deniers in the Coalition.”
Mr Albanese said journalists might as well ask him “if I support unicorns”.
“It doesn’t stack up,” he said.