Despite reports Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce told colleagues during a two-hour partyroom meeting on Sunday he did not back the commitment, he is now adamant he supports it.
“One hundred per cent I’m on board with the goal of 2050 net-zero emissions, what more do you want?” he told ABC radio on Monday.
“Each one of us agreed to the process, we never would have had to go into the negotiation process if the Nationals were 100 per cent happy with where the proposition was.”
The deputy prime minister said it was logical to negotiate an outcome for regional Australia.
The Nationals party room on Sunday agreed for a cabinet submission to go forward, ahead of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s attendance at the Glasgow climate summit starting on October 31.
The Nationals gave “in-principle support” to the government’s policy, despite not publicly indicating what the party has backed.
Nationals deputy leader David Littleproud said further details of the agreement would be made public in the next 24 hours.
“Now we will work through that in a mature and sensible way to get to the resolution, and tonight that will be ratified,” he told ABC.
“We worked through this calmly and rationally as a party.”
Littleproud did not comment on how much the plan would cost taxpayers but cited cabinet confidentiality as the reason details were being withheld.
While there is speculation the Nationals could gain an extra seat in cabinet, Joyce said that was a decision for the prime minister.
No deal with the Nationals could have been a major embarrassment for Morrison, with climate shaping up as a major issue at the next election.
Despite the Nationals reaching agreement, some MPs and senators continue to publicly criticise the proposal.
Queensland senator Matt Canavan said the deal was bad for the country.
“Net zero is going to end in tears,” he told the Nine Network.
“I don’t think this is the right approach for this country. It’s a fantasy to think we can remove all carbon emissions.”
Greens leader Adam Bandt hit out at the Nationals’ deal, calling it devastating for the climate.
“The deal between Barnaby Joyce and Scott Morrison is a death sentence for many regional communities,” Mr Bandt told ABC radio.
“Delay is the new denial.”
Labor leader Anthony Albanese said Mr Morrison was more interested in political survival than a climate policy.
He noted the prime minister had previously described renewable energy targets as “nuts” and lampooned battery-storage technology.
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