“It’s a strong bond and it is a partnership that is important for our nation and for the things that we hold dear as Liberals.”
‘Just shut up’ says NSW Nat
NSW Nationals Leader and Deputy Premier John Barilaro, who faces a tough state election on Saturday week, called on all his federal colleagues to “just shut up”.
Victorian Nationals Leader Peter Walsh said people were “shaking their heads” at the behaviour of Mr Joyce.
Neither support government-subsidised coal-fired power.
Moderate Liberal MPs, who were labelled “latte inner-city Liberals” by Queensland Nationals MP George Christensen, also returned fire, saying people in their electorates preferred reliable renewable energy.
“Residents in my electorate want to see the government supporting the move to renewable energy,” said the member for North Sydney, Trent Zimmerman.
“We are five minutes to an election. Now is not the time for policy adventurism.”
The Nationals fear the election is lost and are spruiking coal to save their seats in Queensland. But coal is especially unpopular in the southern states, especially Victoria, which is polling disastrously for the federal government.
Mr Morrison deliberately opted to nominate pumped hydro in Tasmania as the first project the government could underwrite under its policy to boost competition in the generation sector.
Mr Joyce, who also wants to depose Mr McCormack as leader, said he did not care if the Nationals’ coal push cost the Coalition seats in Victoria.
Nats are ‘practical environmentalists’ in Vic
Victorian federal Nationals MP and minister Darren Chester hit back at Mr Joyce and the Queenslanders.
“In Gippsland, some of my strongest supporters and party members are the most vocal on environmental issues,” Mr Chester said.
“They are the practical environmentalists in the community who join Landcare and undertake projects to sustain their properties and the environment.
“They expect a balanced and rational response to the challenges of energy security and affordability along with our national response to climate change.”
Nationals Deputy Leader Bridget McKenzie, a Victorian senator, said Mr Joyce did not represent the majority view of the party.
“What Barnaby Joyce is saying publicly is very different to what the party room is saying,” she told reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday.
“Michael McCormack is our leader – we all back him to the hilt – he’ll be leading us to the federal election.”