'Forget night footy': Michael McCormack warns against Labor's renewables target

(The Guardian, 10 Mar 2019) Nationals leader talks tough on energy in face of demoralised party room, saying he stands for affordable power.

The deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, has suggested renewable energy will eliminate night sport in Australia, declaring voters can “forget night footy” and “forget night cricket” if Labor wins the election and legislates a 45% emissions reduction target, or if Australia moves in the direction of an electricity grid powered by renewables.

McCormack, who heads a demoralised party room, and has had the former party leader Barnaby Joyce signalling in recent days he wants to return to the top job, claimed on Sunday it was “nonsense claptrap”, “rubbish” and “absolute garbage” that Australia could provide its energy needs from 100% renewables.

The Nationals leader then said contradictory things. He said first it was “not possible” to increase Australia’s emissions reduction target to 45%, and then said “I mean sure, go down that path but forget night footy forget, night cricket, and you’ll have pensioners turning off their power because they won’t be able to afford it, and they will be shivering all winter, and they’ll be melting all summer”.

McCormack is under internal pressure about his performance as leader, and specifically on energy, after Queensland Nationals George Christensen, Michelle Landry, Ken O’Dowd, Keith Pitt, Llew O’Brien and Barry O’Sullivan wrote to him last week, demanding, in essence, that he muscle up to the Liberals, and insist that action is taken before the election.

In the letter, the Queensland rebels demanded immediate action to “legislate the big stick bill in the next parliamentary sitting and to underwrite new generating capacity (power station) construction for regional Queensland”.

McCormack was asked on Sunday whether he wanted taxpayers to underwrite new coal generation in Queensland, which is what his Queensland colleagues want.

External link

The Guardian, 10 Mar 2019: 'Forget night footy': Michael McCormack warns against Labor's renewables target