PM faces backlash over energy recommendations

Upset Coalition MPs have warned Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull against adopting a clean energy target that hits consumers with higher prices, according to The Australian.

Despite the paper quoting an unnamed Liberal MP as saying the PM could “lose his leadership over this if he doesn’t listen”, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann denied Mr Turnbull’s leadership was on the line over energy policy.

“Yesterday what the Prime Minister did was precisely that – he was listening,” Senator Cormann told ABC TV.

“We received on Friday the Finkel Report, which is a blueprint on how our energy policy framework can be transformed to ensure we can put downward pressure on electricity prices to ensure reliable energy supplies into the future, and in a way that still helps us meet our emissions reduction target. What the Prime Minister did at the first opportunity was give the party room an opportunity to be heard, and we did have a full and frank conversation.

“We did, of course, listen to all of the issues raised. A lot of questions were asked and it is now a matter for Josh Frydenberg and the government to work through the recommendations and the Finkel Report and to develop the best possible policy response for Australia.”

Meanwhile, Chair of the Coalition’s backbench energy and environment committee, Craig Kelly, said he wouldn’t go as far as one of his colleagues, who has been reported as saying “Finkel in its current form is dead”.

Instead, he said Finkel’s report was, “Merely a set of parameters for the parliament to decide how to set a clean energy target, and did not stipulate the details of that should be done.”