Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Australia looks set to take a Net Zero by 2050 pledge to COP26. But the mostly rural based National Party have a lot of explaining to do, to supporters who expected them to hold the line on affordable fuel prices, and protecting coal and farming jobs. The National Party are the junior partners in Australia’s ruling coalition.

Nationals agree to net zero target by 2050 despite Barnaby Joyce’s opposition

Agreement is conditional on cabinet submission reflecting negotiations between Scott Morrison and Joyce, who refused to reveal if he supported the target

Sarah Martin Chief political correspondent and Katharine Murphy Political editor

Nationals MPs have agreed to sign up to a net zero emissions target by 2050, despite the opposition of leader Barnaby Joyce, in exchange for a regional transition package and an extra cabinet position.

In a two-hour long partyroom meeting on Sunday, Joyce said the party had agreed to a “process” to support the net zero target, dependent on cabinet signing off on a package that would protect regional economies.

While details of the package are yet to be made public, it is understood it includes a new regional future fund and an extra cabinet position that is expected to go to the resources minister, Keith Pitt, who was dumped after Joyce became leader.

The Nationals MP George Christensen, who has repeatedly threatened to shift to the crossbench, told colleagues he would now reconsider his position in the government in protest at the party’s position.

Christensen attended the meeting remotely wearing a “support coal” T-shirt.

Others who spoke out strongly against the target included senator Matt Canavan and Wide Bay MP Llew O’Brien.

While details of the package are yet to be made public, it is understood it includes a new regional future fund and an extra cabinet position that is expected to go to the resources minister, Keith Pitt, who was dumped after Joyce became leader.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/oct/24/nationals-agree-to-net-zero-target-by-2050-despite-barnaby-joyces-opposition

To say I’m bitterly disappointed in this apparent shift in position would be an understatement. Barnaby Joyce led what appeared to be a principled opposition to higher fuel prices and a net zero shutdown of the coal industry, promising coal workers especially they have their back. But I guess every principle has its price, when you are dealing with politicians.

via Watts Up With That?

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October 24, 2021