A fired up Penny Wong has described the opposition leader as “microwaved Tony Abbott” as she taunted the Coalition over its internal divisions on climate.
Peter Dutton has publicly urged his troops to toe the line and vote against the government’s plan to overhaul the safeguard mechanism – a Abbott-era instrument designed to stop companies continuing to grow their emissions.
Labor wants to beef-up the mechanism, established eight years ago by then-environment minister Greg Hunt, to require 215 companies to gradually lower emissions by 5 per cent a year.
But the moderates within the Liberals, such Tasmanian Bridget Archer and NSW senator Andrew Bragg, have pushed back on the party room’s call to oppose the government bill.
The government’s policy has so far won support from business groups, with the Business Council, Ai Group and Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry all pleading with the Coalition to support the proposal.
But Mr Dutton dug in and went as far to link the bill to the Gillard-era carbon price.
During question time on Thursday, the Foreign Minister was gifted the opportunity to sledge the Coalition rehashing a scare campaign from the early days of the climate wars.
“After a wasted decade in government, what are we going to see from the other side? We’re going to see yet again the leader of the opposition who wants to oppose our reforms because he wants to rehash tired negative scare campaigns,” Senator Wong said to uproar from Coalition benches.
“You know, as one respected commentator noted, Peter Dutton is like a microwaved Tony Abbott. Reheating pathetic scare tactics and fielding internal divisions.
“The question for those opposite is are you going to look to the future? Or do you stay stuck in your own past?”
Senator Wong warned if they don’t come to the table, their voters will away.
“They don’t like hearing this, do they? Their constituency is walking away,” she added.
With the Coalition opposed to the bill, the government must secure the support of the Greens and two crossbenchers. But that may prove difficult as the Greens complain the measure is too weak to curb the largest emitters.
Story Credit: news.com.au