Home » Australian Politics Live: Barnaby Joyce Says Nationals ‘not Chained To A Script’ On Net Zero

Australian Politics Live: Barnaby Joyce Says Nationals ‘not Chained To A Script’ On Net Zero


So does David Littleproud think Scott Morrison is in danger of going to Glasgow with nothing to say?



We’re not working away from this. We’re going to work through it. And that’s what we’re doing now. We’re going to come back together again today, and there’s a lot of questions. And you’ve got to understand when something like this is presented, obviously, for the first time, you need to sleep on it. You need to understand it and work through it. And that’s what we did last night. We’re going to come back again today, and we’ll just continue to work the issue and get to a juncture whereby you can get comfort with it- and what would give us comfort. And that’s really where we are at the moment. There’s a lot of pragmatic feeling within the room that we understand this is a global problem that’s not going to go away. It’s going to keep hitting us, and it’s going to impact not only our commodity prices, potentially, but also our mortgage prices. And you know, if you’re going to ask Australians to pay extra on their mortgages, whether they be just for residential or even businesses, we’ve got to be able to say why, and we’ve got to try and find a solution.

I think that’s what Angus has tried to do, is find a technology solution that’ll give our cake and eat it too.

Again though, the Nationals are only considering a 2050 target. Anything this decade – like 2030 – is all but of the table.


Really not sure what David Littleproud is referring to when he says “we footed the bill last time” (he means regional Australia) but its the rhetoric the Nationals are using to excuse their delays on acting on climate. There is never any mention from the Nationals on what not acting on climate will cost. Or that many of the sectors they say they are representing, are already acting themselves, because the market, and the environment, demands it.

Here is the deputy Nationals leader speaking to Sydney radio 2GB this morning:

No deal yet. We’re going to take our time. We’re going to work through this. This will have serious ramifications for regional and rural Australia. We footed the bill last time, and we’re not going to do it again, but we’re being pragmatic, we’re being mature. We’re going to make sure we work through these issues. And I think what Angus has tried to present to us yesterday is a technology roadmap that continues to protect industries here, even coal and gas. And you’ve got to understand, I think if you take the emotion out of this, we’re still going to be digging coal out of this country for another 30, 40 years. The world’s still going to need it. Any transition away from coal-fired power stations is going to take time. But we’re trying to also say, let’s embrace new technology like carbon capture storage, that not only reduces potential emissions here in Australia, but also, if it’s adopted by other countries that we’re exporting to, will keep exports of coal, ammonia, but- and also our gas.

So we’re pragmatically working through this. But obviously, it’s very complex. And to think that, you know, after just seeing it and this complex plan, and to make a decision in four hours is reckless. We’re not going to do that. Our people need to have a good look at this, overlay it across their communities, and make sure that we get this right.


NSW reports 265 new Covid cases and five deaths; Victoria reports 1,903 new cases and seven deaths



Mike Bowers was out the front to capture the latest Extinction Rebellion protest, where the Pikachus were restrained by police, after moving towards the vehicle carrying the prime minister.

The prime minister’s convoy runs the gauntlet past Extinction Rebellion protestors dressed as Pikachu on his way to Parliament House this morning. A few protestors rushed the vehicle and were restrained. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

An Extinction Rebellion protestor dressed as Pikachu is detained. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian



There have been some climate protests outside parliament this morning, which is not unusual. Except this morning had a bit of a Pikachu theme, which is in reference to Scott Morrison praising Frances, a protester often found standing outside parliament in a Pikachu onesie, waving to cars as they arrive.

In August Morrison said he was “listening” to Frances, who holds a sign calling for climate action, while he was criticising Extinction Rebellion protesters who set a pram on fire outside the parliament building, and spray-painted a call to arms on the outside wall (as well as the Lodge).

An Extinction Rebellion protestor dressed as Pikachu is detained after rushing the prime minister’s car as he drove into Parliament House in Canberra on Monday. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Frances though, told Daniel Hurst she sympathised with the Extinction Rebellion protesters:

“When a child misbehaves, you have to look at why they’re misbehaving – a child hasn’t got a voice, and so it will kick and scream and misbehave to get what it feels it needs.

They’re not violent, but the people who protest more demonstratively – they’re terrified, they’re absolutely terrified. They love their families, they love the world, and they’re just terrified at what climate change is going to do to it. And no one has listened to them.



For those looking for more information on the loosening of restrictions, you can find NSW info here:

and Victoria here:


Also very much worth your time this morning:


Icac hearings begin into Berejiklian

Icac hearings in NSW are beginning today. As AAP reports:

The corruption inquiry that prompted former premier Gladys Berejiklian’s shock resignation is set to begin testing the allegations against her, with another former premier and a current government minister among the first to give evidence.

Berejiklian announced her resignation after the state’s corruption watchdog disclosed the 51-year-old – premier from early 2017 – was under investigation for potential breaches of public trust.

Berejiklian denied wrongdoing but said she had no choice but to resign. She is also leaving state parliament.

Former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian. Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/EPA



‘This is not about you, Josh,’ says Daniel Andrews

The federal treasurer and Victorian Liberal MP Josh Frydenberg has once again ramped up his attacks on the Victorian Labor government over lockdowns (you may remember some of his speeches on the Victorian lockdown last year) a theme he continued yesterday, even as the state government announced an earlier than expected loosening of restrictions.

Josh Frydenberg (@JoshFrydenberg)

Some progress today, but a long way to go before Victorians, who have given up so much, get the same freedoms as NSW.

In Sydney at 70%, no masks outdoors, indoor retail, cinemas, gyms & pools are open, & hospitality has a 4sqm rule.

None of which can happen in Melbourne. pic.twitter.com/7mj8UeOLG1

October 17, 2021

Daniel Andrews responded to that on ABC News Breakfast this morning:

Well, look, I would just say to Josh, this is not about you and your breathless political rants don’t work against this virus. This day and this week, and the weeks to come, are all about Victorians who have done an amazing thing.

They’ve got vaccinated in record numbers and in record time. And this is their moment. It’s not for Josh. And his endless criticism and negativity, I just don’t think it goes down very well in Victoria because it doesn’t work against this virus. So, I will say no more about him.

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images



Labor MP Tim Watts has posted part of Barnaby Joyce’s book on Twitter, where the Nationals leader waxed lyrical about his role in sinking the Rudd government’s emissions trading scheme.

He details his strategy in the “particularly bitter fight” where he boasted of “freewheeling at the morning media doorstop” “as well as every media outlet that would listen to me”.

From the book:

I told the Australian populace that Kevin Rudd’s ETS which Malcolm [Turnbull] supported, stood for the extra tax system; that every time your light goes on in your fridge when you open the door, it was to remind you that you were being taxed; that when you turn on your electric blanket, Kevin’s tax is in bed with you; and that when you cook dinner, Kevin’s at the table with you – God forbid!

In a period of great excitement, I said it was possible that the cost of a roast could go up to $100, which was a dramatic overreach for the time – but no more than environment minister Peter Garrett telling us Coogee Beach would be drowned out in the next 100 years due to rising sea levels.”

And of course, Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff, turned political talking head, Peta Credlin admitted in 2017 that the “carbon tax” was never actually a tax:

It wasn’t a carbon tax, as you know. It was many other things in nomenclature terms but we made it a carbon tax. We made it a fight about the hip pocket and not about the environment. That was brutal retail politics and it took Abbott about six months to cut through and when he cut through, Gillard was gone.

And lo and behold, we have seen internal polling results presented to cabinet “leaked” already that shows while the majority of Australians want something done on climate change, the number of Australians who want something done drops if reaching that target was to cost them $500 a year. (Which is a $1.30 a day.)

Meanwhile, the Nationals are hoping they can secure billions of dollars in exchange for their net zero by 2050 support.



Barnaby Joyce also told ABC radio RN this morning that “you guys” (meaning people in the cities) “don’t really get affected by this decision”.

Except obviously, they do. Sydney and Canberra were under a smoke haze just a few short years ago because of one of the worst bushfire seasons in recent memory. Climate change impacts the whole world – even those who live in cities.

Barnaby Joyce talks to the media outside the House of Representatives doors before his party room meeting in Canberra on Sunday afternoon. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian



The current deputy prime minister was also a little tetchy this morning.

He took offence at the Nationals being referred to as “your mob” on ABC News Breakfast this morning:

Q: OK, so how can the New South Wales Nationals enthusiastically embrace a 50% cut by 2030 when your mob can’t?

Barnaby Joyce:

Well, hang on, I don’t like the pejorative “mob”. It’s not your “mob” at the ABC and what your mob are doing down there at Ultimo.

We’ll call it a party, and yours a broadcaster.

That is a question to direct to the New South Wales Nats. They also … see, we’re a party which we affiliate at state levels. We affiliate at a federal level.

We don’t have a federal party that binds all the states. So, the states can make their decision.

And the LNP in Queensland, which also is a large part of the National party, have passed unanimous resolutions not supporting 2030.

So, there you have a dilemma. You have two decidedly different positions for which people will come into the room with decidedly different outcomes.

And Victoria have another view of their outcomes. So, that’s politics and that’s the cryptic art of trying to come to a consensus position. And you don’t do that in four hours on a Sunday night*.

*Your regular reminder that the Coalition have been in power for eight years and Joyce has been a member of cabinet/the deputy prime minister for the majority of those years.



Zali Steggall to push for 60% emissions reduction target by 2030

Independent MP Zali Steggall is going to introduce her own climate bill to parliament, pushing for a 60% emissions reduction target by 2030:

The objects and guiding principles of the bill now include a target of 60% emissions reduction on 2005 levels by 2030 and strong regional consideration.

Steggall says it’s time for an open conscious vote on the Climate Change Bills to take Australia’s climate policy out of the National Party’s hands.

“It’s time we had a climate policy that will create jobs and investment overseas.”

Independent member for Warringah Zali Steggall. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP



Barnaby Joyce has spoken to ABC News Breakfast about the inconclusive Nationals party room deliberationson a net zero by 2050 emissions target.

Joyce confirmed the Nationals “don’t agree” with having a more ambitious 2030 target but said on the 2050 target there is “further to go” in discussions.

Joyce argued the Australian economy is different to the UK, Europe and US due to its reliance on resource exports, including fossil fuels, and agriculture, warning that regional constituents want “stringent oversight” on what would be the “biggest decision for the future of the Australian economy” ever made.

Although Scott Morrison is off to climate talks in Glasgow, Joyce emphasised this did not mean the Nationals would fall into line:

We’re not chained to a script. We have our own party and our own party room for a distinct purpose – that at times we have variance of views, we have divergent views and we have different views. And that is our right. And we’ve absolutely, absolutely, we’re fervent about the exercise of that right. And if we ever believed that we were being sort of threatened or pushed or stood over, I know what the outcome of that position is – the people just say, ‘No.’”

Asked if Nationals opposed to net zero would have to leave cabinet if that were the ultimate decision, Joyce said that was a “statement of the bleeding obvious” before warning of “ripple effects through the Coalition”.



The single desk debate was about the deregulation of the Australian Wheat Board. The Liberals wanted to do it, the Nationals did not. Barnaby Joyce was new to the Senate then, and it was one of the first issues he made his name on, agitating very strongly against any changes. It eventually happened, but not when the Liberals wanted it to. The fight went on for years, with the Howard government forced to delay any changes and so it was the Rudd government in 2008 which oversaw the deregulation.



Barnaby Joyce ‘hopes’ climate won’t split the Coalition

The current deputy prime minister has been a busy man this morning with multiple media appearances.

It’s all about climate (of course) and what the National party will do. It’s not the first time the Nationals and the Liberals have been at loggerheads over government policy – that’s been going on since the Coalition was formed. Neither party can govern without the other (most particularly the Nationals) so most times they just have to work it out, as they did with Telstra, guns and the AWB single desk. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of posturing in the mean time.

Joyce told ABC Breakfast he didn’t believe this latest disagreement would split the Coalition:

I hope not. We don’t suggest that. A lot of times – I have been through them all – the single desk debate, the ETS debate, the Telstra debate – well, I wasn’t there for the guns debate, but we all remember that.

And, you know, these are trying times and we think, for what my view is, the single desk debate would be pretty close, there would be a lot of people with strong ideas about regional Australia from people who didn’t live there.

And I think a reflection on that is probably the closest to what is happening now.

And because the Labor party say they’re all in, no questions asked. Well, hello, regional Australia, they’ve just said it, they really don’t give a toss what happens to you, they’re just going to go forward completely blind, legislate it, “Good luck and goodnight, Irene.” We’ll make sure that we don’t do that.

Barnaby Joyce: ‘These are trying times.’ Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP



International vaccination proofs all set

There are a lot of names on this press release from the government (pretty much everyone who has anything to do with planes or technology within the cabinet) but the point of it all is that the vaccine travel pass will be go from tomorrow:

From tomorrow, 19 October 2021, Australians and Australian visa holders who have a valid passport and their Covid-19 vaccination recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) can obtain an international Covid-19 proof of vaccination.

The international proof of vaccine will enable fully vaccinated Australians to depart Australia and to travel internationally consistent with the national plan to transition Australia’s Covid-19 Response.

It can be downloaded digitally or printed and is compatible with Covid-19 travel apps such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) travel pass.

The international proof of vaccination features a secure QR code to prove Covid-19 vaccination status to border authorities around the world and increases a person’s ability to travel safely and with confidence.

You should be able to get it through (where else) the MyGov website.



Good morning

Welcome to Politics Live! It’s been a long six weeks between parliament sittings – if you have been in lockdown (or still are) it’s been longer than most. When every day is basically the same, time tends to lose all meaning. A massive well done to everyone who has done it – particularly those in Melbourne, who have now hopefully spent their last weekend in a citywide lockdown in this pandemic.

Lockdowns will no doubt be part of the conversation in parliament this week (Josh Frydenberg has certainly had a bit to say – again) but the big issue is climate and what the Morrison government is doing about it. At the moment, it’s all down to the Nationals, and what they want to do about it. Which is nothing on 2030. The junior Coalition partner does not want to see any change on the interim target, despite international pressure. Scott Morrison wanted to be able to take an improved target to Glasgow (Australia has agreed to a 26% to 28% emissions reduction target by 2030) but the Nationals don’t want any changes set down. So the fight is over 2050 – a target 30 or so years away, when none of these people will be in parliament.

Barnaby Joyce is enjoying his moment back in the spotlight. He’s been everywhere this morning talking about how it is a decision for the party room, not him – but we all know his views. It’s how he returned to the leadership.

I’ll bring you more of what Joyce has been saying, as well as everything else which will happen in parliament (and it’s halls) as the day plays out. Cabinet is meeting today, where the climate plan will be discussed – but as one of the last sitting weeks before the end of the year (and possibly, the election, if the March rumours prove true) so there is a bit to get through. Just don’t expect too much movement on a federal Icac.

Mike Bowers is already out and about, and you have the Canberra team of Katharine Murphy, Sarah Martin, Daniel Hurst and Paul Karp with you – and we are all in the same office for the first time in almost three months (ACT lockdown) which is exciting. You’ve got me, Amy Remeikis, with you for the majority of the day. I’m a bit out of practice – so I am on coffee number three so far, but no doubt the muscle memory will kick in.

Let’s hope.


Let’s get into it.