Barnaby Joyce, David Littleproud say regional Australia priority as Nationals attempt to reach net zero position

October 17, 2021 by No Comments

Barnaby Joyce fired up at ABC Breakfast host Michael Rowland in a heated TV interview.

Barnaby Joyce has hit back at an ABC host after the Nationals leader came under fire for his party failing to reach a net-zero position ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison could head overseas at the end of this month without a deal to reach net-zero by 2050, as the Nationals refuse to sign a deal that would “harm” regional Australia.

On Sunday, the Nationals held a four-hour meeting in an attempt to come up with a position on Energy Minister Angus Taylor’s plan to reach net zero by 2050, to no avail.

On Monday, Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce said it was impossible for the party to come up with a deal in four hours – despite the Coalition having been in power for eight years.

ABC Breakfast host Michael Rowland questioned how the NSW Nationals could agree to a 50 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030, but Mr Joyce’s “mob” couldn’t.

“I don’t like the pejorative ‘mob’,” Mr Joyce hit back.

“It’s not your ‘mob’ at the ABC and what your mob are doing down there at Ultimo.

“We’ll call it a party, and yours a broadcaster. That is a question to direct to the NSW nats. We affiliate at a federal level.

“ … People will come into the room with decidedly different outcomes … That’s politics and that’s the cryptic art of trying to come to a consensus position and you can’t do that in four hours on a Sunday night.”

Mr Joyce went on to tell RN Breakfast what the Nationals were being asked to sign was “such a titanic change” to the trajectory of Australia, “that absolutely insists on due diligence”.

“To be frank, four hours on a Sunday night, to make a change that could be part of a process of redesigning the economy of Australia is not prudent,” he said.

“We will continue on trying to understand the issues brought in by members and senators … And from those various views, try and work out what our position is and what our caveats are if that position is to go forward.”

When asked whether it was possible the Prime Minister could head to Glasgow without a deal, Mr Joyce said the Nations would “try to be an effective member of the coalition”, but that they would not bend over to the detriment of regional Australia.

“We’re not going to be belittled, beaten into a position because others say that’s what they want,” Mr Joyce said.

“We are representing regional (Austrans). Our voice is … on their behalf.

“This will be the decision of the National party room. It is not going to be a unilateral decision of anybody.”

Nationals Deputy Leader and Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud, said the party wanted to be “pragmatic” and “take the emotion out of this”.

“We’re still going to be digging coal out of this country for another 30 or 40 years. The world is still going to need it,” he told 2GB.

“Any transition away from coal fired power stations is going to take time, but we’re trying to also say, let’s embrace new technology.

“We are pragmatically working through this, but obviously it’s very cosmplex. And to think that after just seeing this complex plan, and to make a decision in four hours is reckless and we’re not going to do that.”

The Nationals will meet again on Monday for further discussions.

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