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Action but not laws on climate: Coalition

Sussan Ley
It's too simplistic to claim the election was lost on climate change, Liberal deputy Sussan Ley says. Photo: AAP
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Surviving members of the federal coalition are grappling with their climate policies after a slew of Liberal members lost their seats to candidates advocating for stronger action on the environment.

While moderate MPs who lost their seats call for stronger emissions targets, those of the Liberal-National coalition left in parliament say the market is doing its job.

It is too simple a characterisation to claim the election was lost due to climate change policy, Liberal deputy leader and former environment minister Sussan Ley says.

“I did hear messages (from voters) about climate, absolutely, but we had a strong set of policies which engaged the world in decarbonising which … will make a difference to the global climate,” she told Sky News.

She would not say if the Liberals would consider reassessing their climate policy.

Meanwhile, the Nationals will not support legislating an emissions-reductions target, new party leader David Littleproud confirmed.

“Australians are far more sensible than what we give them credit for, they don’t need politicians telling them what to do,” he told ABC Radio National on Tuesday.

“They’re doing it by themselves and what we need to do is put the environment and infrastructure around them to achieve it.”

Moderate MPs, including Trent Zimmerman who lost his North Sydney seat to independent Kylea Tink, have called for stronger emissions-reductions targets.

With Labor’s parliamentary majority of at least 76 seats, Mr Zimmerman urged the opposition to accept the government’s 43 per cent emissions reduction by 2030 target.

“The easy early step the opposition could take is to recognise that the Labor government does have a mandate … and to indicate that it will accept the verdict of voters on that,” he told ABC News on Monday.

But Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie says she “couldn’t see any scenario” where the party would agree to Labor’s policy.

Queensland LNP MP Warren Entsch told AAP he would like to see Australia’s target to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 accelerated.

“We already had a pathway as to where we were going to achieve net zero by 2050. I was expecting that we could do it a lot sooner,” he said.

“I’d like to see it accelerated but I want to see a clear pathway.”

But while he strongly supports renewable energy, Mr Entsch stopped short of endorsing Labor’s more ambitious target without seeing a clear plan.

“I’m going to look at the details,” he said.

“At the end of the day, I’m not going to send us bankrupt or turn off the heaters.”

– AAP