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The Nationals Say “It Will Be Ugly” If ScoMo Moves Ahead With Climate Plan Without Them

The Coalition is still deliberating a net zero target plan ahead of Cop26 next week.

Nationals Cop26

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Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie has warned “it will be ugly” if Prime Minister Scott Morrison formulates a climate plan without the Nationals’ input and support after Coalition talks hit a stalemate over the weekend.

A Nationals advisory group, which McKenzie is in, began compiling the party’s demands in exchange for their support, is expected to deliver a final wish list to ScoMo on Thursday. A top priority is an assurance that regional jobs will be guaranteed, as the world moves away from fossil fuels.

Her comments come 10 days before the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, AKA Cop26, begins in Glasgow. Most countries in attendance have made ambitious goals to get their emissions to a net zero target by 2050 — a target Australia has failed to lock in.

On Sunday, the Coalition were presented with a first look of the Morrison Government’s plan, presented by Energy Minister Angus Taylor. But the Nationals reportedly butt heads with the Liberals for four hours, and have failed to reach a mutual agreement on the target commitment in the days since.

McKenzie offered her opinion after Nationals colleague Matt Canavan said he would vote against the Government if he moves without the Nationals. “I think it will be ugly. I do agree with Senator Canavan,” she said on Wednesday. However, the prime minister said earlier this week he would push ahead with the new policies without the support of the Nationals by going through Cabinet if need be.

“Eight years in office, 21 energy policies, weeks before the most important climate change conference we’ve seen — and the Government doesn’t know what its policy is,” said Shadow Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen in response to the Coalition’s back-and-forth.

It’s believed the staunch approach by the Nationals is an image-preserving attempt to show regional Australia they’re being looked after ahead of the next federal election. Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce insisted his party isn’t “grandstanding”, when grilled on McKenzie’s comments in the House of Reps by Labor Leader Anthony Albanese.