Déjà vu: Liberals divided over national energy guarantee

national energy guarantee

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has attempted to back away from his previous position of supporting the national energy guarantee by suggesting the NEG is not a Coalition policy if it has a 45 per cent emissions reduction target.

When quizzed by Labor on whether he agreed with his own previous statements that the NEG would result in lower electricity prices, he said there was a misrepresentation made by Labor as the Coalition never proposed the 45 per cent target.

“In the proposal considered by the government, the emissions reduction target was 26 per cent – it wasn’t 45 per cent,” Mr Morrison told parliament.

“The Labor party cannot use the national energy guarantee as some sort of Trojan horse to legislate a 45 per cent emissions reduction target, Mr Speaker.”

Related article:Labor to keep the NEG plus billions for renewables

Former deputy Liberal leader, now backbencher, Julie Bishop has called for the Coalition to work with Labor on a bi-partisan approach to energy policy.

“The government needs to consider energy policy through the prism of securing bipartisan agreement with Labor, to establish a long-term, stable regulatory framework that will support private-sector investment in generating capacity,” Ms Bishop told The Australian Financial Review.

“The generators need long-term certainty to give them confidence to make large-scale capital investments that will provide affordable and reliable energy, and with an appropriate level of return.”

The NEG was developed by former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and then energy minister Josh Frydenberg, and division over the policy was a key contributing factor to Mr Turbull being ousted as prime minister in August this year.

Related article:Energy companies to fight Morrison’s Big Stick

Earlier this week Julia Banks quit the Liberal party to sit on the crossbench and serve as an independent, making her disaffection after the ousting of Mr Turnbull clear.

She said the move against Turnbull had been “led by members of the reactionary right wing … aided by many MPs trading their vote for a leadership change in exchange for their individual promotion, preselection endorsement or silence”, and their actions were “undeniably for themselves”, according to The Guardian.