The Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has dumped the emissions reduction target section of his national energy guarantee, postponing indefinitely plans to legislate the emissions reduction target for the National Energy Guarantee.
This means the revised scheme will go ahead without federal legislation to stipulate a 26 per cent cut to greenhouse gas emissions
He has conceded there is not enough support for it to get through Parliament, partly because some of his own MPs would cross the floor on it.
The target was the key part of the National Energy Guarantee. However, it faced resistance in the Coalition party room.
This comes at a time when his political opponents are urging Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to challenge him for the leadership.
But Mr Turnbull hosed down the dissent.
“Even with strong support in the party room, if a small number of people are not prepared to vote with the government on a measure then it won’t get passed,” Mr Turnbull told reporters.
“We propose bills in the House when we believe we can carry them and so at the moment we don’t have [enough support], because it is a one-seat majority. That’s a fact of life, we don’t have enough support to do that. Although we do, of course, have overwhelming support in the party room.”
Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne said the party was backing Malcolm Turnbull but singled out former Prime Minister Tony Abbott as the one behind the turmoil.
“Tony Abbott is not making any secret about his unhappiness so it is a statement of the obvious, it is not a revelation to anyone in Australia, that Tony Abbott is unhappy with the leadership and the direction of some of our policies, he has said so himself,” Mr Pyne told Radio National.
Arriving at Parliament House yesterday, Mr Abbott told reporters he was determined to pull Australia out of the Paris agreement.
“As long as we are in it we will be running our power system to reduce emissions, not to give us affordable, reliable power,” the former PM said.
Asked if he had lost confidence in Mr Turnbull, Mr Abbott said it was not about personalities. “It is not about him, it is not about me, it is about what is going to give Australia the best possible energy system that delivers affordable, reliable power,” Mr Abbott said.