Shorten to Save Turnbull?

Shorten to Save Turnbull?

In today’s Australian, it is reported that attempts are being made by so called “rebel” MPs (said to be 10) to persuade some ministers to resign their positions. This would avoid the requirement that ministers vote with the government and Assistant Minister Keith Pitt is mentioned as a possible resignation (see Possible Resignations by Ministers Re Neg). He and Deputy PM McCormack had apparently proposed establishing a $5bn fund to build “at least three new power stations (presumably coal-fired) under a government-owned company model to keep the cost off the budget books”, but this was apparently rejected by the government.

It also emerged that Turnbull again held discussions with some of the rebel MPs and that the main concerns of the rebels regarded a possible price guarantee and opposition to the legislation itself. The latter is apparently judged as an attempt by Turnbull to enshrine in legislation the 26 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 as in the Paris accord (ie implicitly Turnbull accepts that this accord could in practice be ignored).

Interestingly, the article reports that Frydenberg says that the chances of having the legislation passed are “tenuous”.

Meantime, Andrew Bolt actually lists the 10 rebels who have reserved their right to cross the floor and vote against “this global warming scheme that even Labor says it could vote for”. Although there is no indication as yet of Labor doing a deal with Turnbull, it would not be surprising if he agreed to some modification of his legislation on that basis (say to allow an amendment moved by Labor to raise the 26%). Relevant here is that the union movement is saying that Labor should support NEG. But if the legislation did pass on that basis, it would seem unlikely that the rebels remained as members of the Coalition.

We are now in a chaotic situation where attempts will be made by both sides to do “deals”. But whatever happens will not be of concern to Turnbull as he will have achieved one of his objectives viz undermine the Liberal Party. The only hope of stopping this is if the majority of Coalition ministers either resigns or votes to change PMs.

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