Good morning, blogans,
This morning, 10 years of divisive climate politics is coming home to haunt the Coalition. On it goes, through John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Malcolm Turnbull 1.0, Tony Abbott, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott, 2.0.
Australia desperately needs a stable energy policy FOUR YEARS AFTER THE COALITION DISMANTLED THE CARBON PRICE.
The chief scientist, Alan Finkel, has provided an acceptable path forward but the argument continued in the party room last night.
The meeting, let’s be clear, was a presentation of the Finkel report followed by thoughts and feelings about Finkel’s findings. It was not expected to land on a solution but give a chance to vent.
At the end, the only thing there seems to be consensus on is that something needs to be done.
The senior ranks of the government appear to be on the same page at this stage (all things liable to change without notice). The talking points are:
- the Finkel review only landed on Friday
- this is a mature and responsible discussion
- we need to move to a new model to provide investor certainty
But like an old rockstar, Tony Abbott was returning to his greatest hits. His interventions were consistent. At one point he asked whether the government could buy the closed Hazelwood power station to which the energy and environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, said it was being dismantled “as we speak”.
Among Abbott’s like-minded MPs, there was some appetite for somehow supporting new coal power but Frydenberg said it would take years to build.
Abbott finally had a set to with a Turnbull supporter Craig Laundy, over his constant interventions.
Tony Abbott interjected so often throughout the meeting that Craig Laundy, a frontbench ally of Malcolm Turnbull, called the former prime minister out and asked that he show respect to those who wanted to speak.
The finance minister, Mathias Cormann, was hosing down reports this morning.
I don’t go into the specifics of party-room meetings but what I would say, I was in the meeting in the morning and I was in the meeting in the afternoon, it was a very good discussion, it was courteous and professional discussion.
The treasurer, Scott Morrison, also had his fire hose out. He told the ABC that the had done a good job in identifying the problem that we don’t have investor certainty in energy.
He said as treasurer it was important for the economy and he asked for patience, given that the report only dropped on Friday.
It has frankly vexed governments for a decade so we are not going to have a solution nicely tied up in a bow and presented to the media, Morrison said.
Finally, Morrison was asked if the clean energy target threshold would be high enough to include so-called “clean” coal in the incentive scheme.
I believe that will be achieved.
But Bill Shorten was making hay while the sun doesn’t shine.
Mr Turnbull has been weakened and Australians are the losers. He needs to stand up to Tony Abbott.
Stay with me, talk to me in the thread, on the Twits @gabriellechan and . As you can see from the main pic, Mike Bowers has been swimming through the pea soup fog to bring you the vibe in parliament. Onwards and upwards.