Barnaby Joyce said choice was ‘quite obvious’ in Nationals signing net zero climate policy

Ellen RansleyNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: Supplied

A frazzled looking Deputy Prime Minister has hit back at allegations his party has backflipped on its climate policy, saying the Nationals would rather negotiate within the parliament than stand outside in protest.

Comparing himself to a Fatboy Slim song, Barnaby Joyce told Sky News the Nationals had been faced with two possibilities ahead of the Prime Minister’s trip to the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow next week – negotiate or demonstrate.

While Mr Joyce is understood to have told colleagues he did not support the target, he was happy to accept the party room majority.

Sky News host Laura Jayes asked Mr Joyce whether the Nationals approving a net-zero target emissions by 2050 goal was a sign that the party had “come a long way”.

“A couple years ago, you were warning about $100 roasts. Last election some within your party were warning about electric cars cancelling the weekend … It’s been quite a journey – is this the position you thought you'd end up in?” Jayes asked.

“It has been quite a journey, it sounds like a Fatboy Slim song,” Mr Joyce replied, referring to the English musician’s 1998 album You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby.

Camera IconDeputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says the choice to support net zero was ‘quite obvious’. NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage Credit: News Corp Australia

“Things evolve. In politics it’s quite simple. The PM was going to Glasgow, he didn’t need our approval … (But) we could negotiate or demonstrate.

“We could scream and yell out on the lawns or we could negotiate for a better deal for the people of regional Australia.

“The choice was quite obvious”.

Details of the package are yet to be made public; however, it’s understood the Nationals have bargained for a new regional future fund and an extra cabinet position.

Twelve Nationals MP were in support of the target, while nine were opposed.

Camera IconBarnaby Joyce is understood to have voted against net zero. NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Joyce said as signatories on the deal, regional Australians would not be put out by the cut to emissions.

“We’ve made sure in our discussions the regions will be in the same place or better,” Mr Joyce said.

“We’ve made sure that there is no, basically, inflection or caveat that’ll affect coal mining to supply the global demand.”

Scott Morrison said on Sunday he welcomed the junior Coalition partner’s in-principle support.

“We recognise this has been a challenging issue for the Nationals. I thank (Mr Joyce) for his leadership and his colleagues for their considered support,” Mr Morrison said in a statement.

“I greatly respect the process they have undertaken in reaching this decision.

“Only the Coalition can be trusted to deliver a plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 that will protect and promote rural and regional Australia.”

Originally published as Barnaby Joyce said choice was ‘quite obvious’ in Nationals signing net zero climate policy

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