Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is copping criticism from party colleagues for claiming the coalition partyroom has endorsed the government’s national energy plan.
Two Liberal MPs rejected the suggestion on Tuesday, saying the policy detail hadn’t been given the overwhelming support Mr Turnbull says it has.
Backbencher Craig Kelly, a vocal coal supporter who has already flagged potential changes to the policy, says he and other colleagues haven’t yet been consulted on the government’s final position.
“I think realistically we would need more time to consider this,” he told The Guardian on Tuesday.
“There’s a lot of complex detail yet to be released.”
The policy is due to go before the coalition partyroom next Tuesday, four days after Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg meets with his state and territory counterparts to secure their tick of approval.
But the Victorian and Queensland Labor governments are potential barriers to securing nationwide support for the deal, making their support conditional on its passage through the coalition party room.
Mr Frydenberg says they’ll still get a final say in a phone hook-up after that meeting.
Liberal senator James Paterson avoided questions on Tuesday about whether that was a fair position for those states to take, but said he too would like to see the final detail and any legislation.
He said most energy policies over the last decade have not received the rigour and scrutiny they deserve.
“(They) have not received the kind of input that it should have from the full spectrum of the government’s partyroom – so this one really needs to do that,” he said.
He said it was easy to envisage a well-designed policy and a bad one, so he’d need to see the details before offering his support.
Labor’s energy spokesman Mark Butler jumped on the division claiming it was the latest sign of chaos over the policy.
Pressure is continuing to pile on states and territories to back the energy policy, with more stark warnings from business and energy groups about what not supporting it will mean for policy stability, investment and bills.
Clean Energy Council boss Kane Thornton told a parliamentary inquiry on Tuesday that there were obvious concerns around the policy’s level of emissions reduction ambition.
“But I don’t think we should let that get in the way of progressing with the policy architecture and the states and territories continuing to move on toward the implementation of the National Energy Guarantee,” he said.