While today's headlines are all about former Prime Minister Tony Abbott's call for Australia to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, it’s worth noting - firstly - that he is 18 months behind Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi, and - secondly - the deal was signed when Mr Abbott was Prime Minister.
As Mr Abbott said last night, “it takes character to do what’s right and it takes courage to disagree with your peers” - and that's exactly what Senator Bernardi did back in December 2016.
It was then, Sarah Martin wrote in The Australian:
Outspoken Senator Cory Bernardi is calling on Malcolm Turnbull to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, saying ditching the international agreement on emission targets would drive down power prices and be for the “good of the country”.
Following a damaging internal brawl after the Coalition signalled it may adopt Labor’s policy for an emissions intensity scheme in the electricity sector, Senator Bernardi is agitating for a further retreat on climate action, warning that voters are more concerned with electricity prices and reliability.
“The loopy left are intent on shutting down the most reliable and cost effective method of generating power that gives our nation a competitive advantage — coal fired power stations,” Senator Bernardi says in his update to supporters today.
“It seems ok for us to dig it up and send it to China but not for us to use it ourselves. The idiocy of this approach appears lost only on our political masters. The rest of us want cheap reliable electricity for the good of the country.”
“This approach will create jobs, benefit Australian industry and help ease the cost of living pressures for every Australian family,” he says.
“Simple, easy to understand and easy to achieve: just don’t hold your breath waiting to hear it from the current players!”
Arguing that the appeal of such an approach was stronger given the recent election of Donald Trump, Senator Bernardi said his promise to withdraw from the Paris agreement “should be the catalyst for Australia to do the same.”
“We don’t need to be part of an international agreement that actually impedes us from making determinations in our own best interest. Particularly an agreement that won’t include the world’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide!”
Senator Bernardi said that the issue was of deep concern to voters, and failing to address electricity reliability and cost would leave business in despair.
“Some are seeing 100 per cent increases in annual contract prices. Some are deferring investment whilst others are shutting up shop because they cannot afford an extra 500K every year to power their enterprise,” he says.
“Households are struggling to keep their air-conditioners running as utility bills skyrocket.
“Incredibly, this state of affairs is a direct product of politics and the abrogation of real leadership to act in the national interest.
“Too many state and federal politicians would prefer to be seen hugging a wind turbine and blowing up a power station rather than have to make a principled and considered economic argument about the importance of reliable and cost-effective power.”
To read Sarah Martin's full article, click here.
Here's what Senator Bernardi said recently about the Paris climate agreement - before Mr Abbott's comments today:
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