Saturday 22nd of January 2022

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Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is insisting the Nationals will not be bullied into backing a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, as he also ruled out supporting more ambitious short-term climate targets.

Key points:
  • Nationals members are meeting to discuss net zero carbon emissions reduction target on Sunday afternoon
  • Some members have been very vocal in their criticism of the policy, arguing it will decimate regional communities
  • Australia is under pressure to formally adopt the target ahead of the Glasgow Climate Summit

Members and senators from the junior Coalition partner are meeting in Canberra to try to thrash out a deal on net-zero.

While there is a sense the Nationals will end up backing the policy, the meeting will likely be dominated by discussion of what concessions party members will demand in exchange for their support

It could prove a costly exercise for the taxpayer, with some Nationals already publicly insisting hundreds of millions of dollars in financial support will need to be provided to regional communities and industries they believe will be decimated by the policy.

The debate comes ahead of the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, which the Prime Minister confirmed he would attend on Friday.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Joyce said his message to his colleagues was clear.

"I'd say, 'you've been listening to your phones, you've been talking to your people in your electorate, this is your opportunity to convey those concerns and issues and sentiments of those electorates into this room'," he said.

"And then in a collegiate way with others, we'll try and land at a position as best we can."

He warned that the Nationals would not simply fall into line and adopt the policy at the behest of the Liberals, despite governing in coalition with them.

"In the Nationals, on crucial decisions, we'll make a Nationals decision like we have in the past," Mr Joyce said.


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Barnaby Joyce insists his Nationals will not be held hostage to the wishes of others when it comes to climate change policy.

The Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister chairing a meeting of the party on Sunday to discuss the policy Prime Minister Scott Morrison wants to take to Glasgow later this month for the United Nations climate change conference.

“Something as important as this is a decision that is not made by one person, it is not even made by the leadership. It is made by the party in general, that is the National Party,” Mr Joyce told reporters as he headed in to Parliament House.


Energy and Emission Reductions Minister Angus Taylor was slated to address the Nationals meeting, spelling out how the plan to get to net-zero emissions by 2050 will protect jobs and regional communities.

Asked if there is likely to be an agreement for an interim target of a 50 per cent emissions reduction, Mr Joyce said: “I think that is highly unlikely.”

‘We are the Nationals’

“We are not in the Liberal Party room. We are the Nationals. We will not be held hostage to what other people wish.”

He said there is unlikely to be a vote in the party room, rather he will gauge the temperature.

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham earlier dismissed suggestionsthe Nationals, the coalition’s junior partner, are dictating climate change policy.

“Certainly not,” he told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program. “The government is deciding the government’s climate change policy.

“We bring together people right across the country to be able to effectively consider all of the implications and issues.”

But he said there was no point pretending some parts of the community were not concerned about those implications.


“The important message to them and to those who represent them is to understand other nations are already making these commitments,” Senator Birmingham said.

“Other nations are already making decisions that will have impacts on Australia and that’s why we need to invest and position ourselves to make sure we can take advantage of opportunities and make the transition successfully to protect jobs, to protect regions.”

Former veterans minister and now Nationals backbencher Darren Chester will end his boycott of the party room and attend the online meeting.

“The Nationals party room can’t be looking back wistfully at the 1950s as the good old days, when our communities are looking forward with optimism and purpose to a better future in 2050,” he told Nine newspapers.

Setting a carbon price?

But Labor frontbencher Katy Gallagher says it is still not known what the government’s ambition is.

“What we have seen is eight years, three prime ministers, 21 energy policies and now we have got the Prime Minister trying to wrangle a last-minute deal with the Nationals party about what they actually stand for,” she told ABC’s Insiders.

“They need to agree to net zero, they need to legislate that target and they need to set medium targets.

“That is the minimum the government should be doing.”

While supporting net zero emissions by 2050, Labor has yet to fully spell out its plans to get there and has yet to announce its 2030 or interim target.

Senator Gallagher did not rule out a price on carbon.

“We will outline our policies, we are looking at everything. We are looking at all of the information that is coming from all of the reviews,” she said.

“We are watching Glasgow and we will announce our policies in the lead up to the election.

“That is the responsible thing to do.”



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Barnaby Joyce is an absolute zero. His "National" party had more than 30 years to think — and most of its members did was fart... Still farting around... 


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Australian mango growers are expecting the smallest harvest in at least two decades this summer, cherry farmers are losing trees and grape growers are contending with shortening harvest windows.

Getting fruit on shelves is becoming harder and more expensive as climate change threatens some of the country’s most popular fruit-growing regions.


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Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce has conceded Scott Morrison will make the final call on committing to a 2050 net zero carbon emissions target as coalition climate divisions continue.

The Nationals leader said his party would not bully or coerce the Prime Minister, conceding it was his “prerogative” to make the decision.

“He has his own mandate and he has his own capacity,” Mr Joyce said on Tuesday.


“That is absolutely and utterly his own right.”


The contentious issue was not mentioned when Mr Morrison and Mr Joyce addressed a meeting of Coalition MPs in Canberra on Tuesday.

Some Nationals remain staunchly opposed to the 2050 target, while senior Liberal cabinet ministers are making the case to sign up.

Mr Morrison has linked Australia’s alliances to the climate target he wants to take to a United Nations conference which starts in less than two weeks.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor said working with the US and Britain was crucial as the region faced its most uncertain security situation in years.

“Those alliances really matter. That means working together on other issues like emissions reduction is important,” he told 4BC radio.

“But we’ll always do it in a way which is right for our regions, our traditional industries. We’re not going to hit our exports with policies that are going to hurt them.”

Mr Morrison has indicated cabinet, which is due to meet on Wednesday, will make the final call rather than a vote of MPs because the pledge will not be legislated.


Resources Minister Keith Pitt – a Nationals MP not in cabinet – defended how long it was taking for his colleagues to reach a decision on a 2050 net zero target.

“Right now, it’s a no, as the Deputy Prime Minister has said, but those discussions are ongoing,” he told ABC radio.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley, a Liberal in a regional NSW electorate, said it wasn’t just Nationals who represented the bush.

“My strong belief is that rural and regional Australians have a lot to benefit from a move to net zero,” she told ABC radio.

“I’ve certainly heard that from farmers and rural communities.”

Nationals senator Matt Canavan warned there would be ugly consequences if Mr Morrison forged ahead with a net zero target.

Ahead of the joint party room meeting, Senator Canavan accused Mr Morrison of “gaslighting” coalition MPs through media reports suggesting a net-zero decision had been made.

The federal government has ruled out lifting its 2030 emissions target from a 26 to 28 per cent reduction on 2005 levels.


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