Turnbull risks all on ETS
MALCOLM Turnbull is on a collision course with his own back bench after staking his leadership on a demand that they back his climate change strategy. Several MPs immediately refused to do so.
If the partyroom refused to back his strategy of negotiating amendments to the government's emissions trading scheme, Mr Turnbull said yesterday, the Coalition would "literally be a party with nothing to say ... a party with no ideas", and that was "not the party I am prepared to lead".
Throwing down the gauntlet to his internal critics, Mr Turnbull said: "I am asserting my authority as the leader of the Liberal Party and the Leader of the Opposition."
"If the partyroom were to reject my recommendation to them, that would obviously be a leadership issue. That's perfectly plain, perfectly clear," he told ABC Radio in Adelaide.
"I could not possibly lead a party that was on a do-nothing-on-climate-change platform."
His critics were not cowed, despite the fact that both mooted leadership alternatives -- Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott -- support Mr Turnbull's stance.
West Australian backbencher Wilson Tuckey said: "Mr Turnbull has made the ETS a leadership issue and we will now treat it as such." His leader's ultimatum did not alter his "total opposition to an ETS and to the suggestion that we might amend it".
Victorian Liberal senator Julian McGauran said he stood by his vow to vote against the ETS in November, no matter what amendments were negotiated.
Nationals senators also remain implacably opposed to the scheme. "He hasn't got the partyroom with him on this one ... we are going to stand up for what we believe in," said senator Ron Boswell.
"This is not just another issue. This is not one we can let go through to the keeper," said senator Barnaby Joyce.
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