Scott Morrison isn’t getting ahead of himself but is keen to bring the coalition together to tackle climate change with the aim of getting to net zero emissions by 2050.
But Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese says the prime minister is having to deal with a Nationals “rabble” completely divided on the issue.
Mr Morrison has spent the past week in the US meeting with President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who are both locked into the 2050 target, as well as fellow members of the so-called Quad that includes India and Japan.
“I’m keen to ensure I bring people together on this so Australians can have confidence we are dealing with climate change, that we care deeply about their concerns about what the change means for them,” Mr Morrison told the Seven Network from Washington.
Asked if he was close to a deal with coalition partners, the Nationals, Mr Morrison said: “I don’t get ahead of these things, I’m a patient person when it comes to getting things right.”
He said the government has been working on a plan to get to net zero without taxing people and having to shut down industries and regions.
Deputy Nationals Leader David Littleproud said a technology road map will be presented to all members of the National Party in the very near future.
“Never pre-empt the Nationals Party party room, that is always a dangerous thing to do,” he told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program.
“But I think you’ll find they are pragmatic members and senators, all 21 of us. We need to look through this through the lens of opportunity, not just cost, and I think this is where Nationals Party members are pragmatic.”
Acting Prime Minister and Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce confirmed he is in discussions with the prime minister but appeared to still need some persuasion when it comes to coal.
“If people say the world is moving on from that, you will know that because no ships off Hay Point in Queensland, no ships off Gladstone, no ships off Newcastle and you can assume when that happens the world has moved on,” he told the ABC’s Insiders program.
“But currently we have record sales at record prices and we have England reopening coal-fired power stations because they can’t keep the lights on.”
He also doesn’t want the regions paying the cost of tackling climate change.
“If I said the way we will have a carbon strategy in Sydney, shut down three lanes of the Harbour Bridge and shut down the M2 and M7 and we are there, folks. You would lose your mind,” he said.
Mr Albanese said these were just more “incoherent ramblings” from the Nationals leader when it comes to climate action.
“The Nats aren’t just a rabble, they’re a roadblock,” he told reporters in Sydney.
“It’s very clear they are completely divided when it comes to climate change.”