The Greens and the Coalition have been accused of reigniting the climate wars and “driving themselves into the past”.
The Coalition has said it would not support Labor’s Safeguard Mechanism – which would hold the largest fossil fuel emitters to a legislated emissions reduction standard – meaning Labor needs the Greens and two independent senators to get the legislation through the senate.
The minor party says it will not support the mechanism unless the government closes the loophole allowing new coal and gas projects.
Resources Minister Catherine King used a Dorothy Dixer in Question Time on Wednesday to attack the Greens over former leader Bob Brown’s rejection of the former Labor government’s carbon pollution reduction scheme in 2009.
“We remember … What they did is teamed up with the Liberals and the Nationals opposite to make sure there was no action on climate change nearly 13 years ago,” Ms King said to the minor party.
“(Now) You are driving yourselves into the past, reigniting the climate wars.
“This country, the people of this country elected this government earlier this year because they wanted an end to the uncertainty you have created for the whole nation, for our economy and for our resources sector.”
Greens leader Adam Bandt inaudibly shouted back across the chamber.
Ms King also hit out at the former government for failing to acknowledge the “absolutely essential” role the resources sector would play in transitioning to net zero.
Later, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek also attacked the Greens, saying she thought voters would be “shocked” that the minor party was “getting ready to sit next to Peter Dutton and Barnaby Joyce to vote against action on climate change”.
“We cannot afford to relive the past decade of inaction, when Liberal governments simply gave up on our environment,” she said.
“ … The Liberals and Nationals … never pretended to care about the environment.
“But I think that Greens voters would be shocked to see the Greens voting with the Liberals and Nationals against a safeguard mechanism.”
The safeguard mechanism was first introduced by Tony Abbott after the Coalition repealed Labor’s carbon scheme.
The former government’s mechanism did not mandate emissions limits, meaning industrial emissions continued to rise.
The government also used Question Time to attack the Coalition for not supporting its centrepiece housing policy.
The government needs the support of the Greens to pass the legislation through the senate, but as it currently stands, the Greens don’t believe the $10 billion fund does enough to address housing pressures, and won’t support the bill unless amendments are made.
Primarily, the party wants $5 billion a year dedicated to building homes, rather than the proposed $500 million.
Housing Minister Julie Collins gave a pointed message to the Greens and the Coalition, asking them how they could face people in their electorate who want more social and affordable housing.
“What are you going to say? That you came in here and you voted no to more social and affordable housing for those that need it most?” Ms Collins said.
The Coalition has said it will not support the fund, however renegade Bass MP Bridget Archer in a speech earlier in the day suggested she would cross the floor to support the fund.
Ms Collins welcomed this.
“And of course, the Member for Bass over that side has acknowledged this. Most people on that side want to vote no to more social and affordable housing,” she said.
“But the Member for Bass said and I quote, ‘As the government, you are expected to solve these issues, and I’m not going to get in the way.’”
Story Credit: news.com.au