Matt Canavan’s split from Scott Morrison in calling for new coal fired power stations is a breach of Cabinet solidarity and is further evidence of the Government’s irreconcilable divisions.
This is a test of Scott Morrison’s authority - who is setting policy, the Prime Minister or a rogue minister?
Today’s Courier Mail reports Matt Canavan calling for a new coal fired power station in North Queensland – saying there is a ‘clear need’ for new coal.
This is a clear contradiction of Scott Morrison’s comments shutting down the possibility of new coal fired power stations:
“So I tend to work in the area of the practical, the things that actually can happen. Governments have to focus on what they will actually do and can actually deliver and that's what I'm focused on, not in hypothetical debates.” [SCOTT MORRISON, 11 MARCH 2019]
For more than five years the Government have been torn by division on energy – while Australians see their energy bills go up and up.
For a Cabinet Minister to break ranks shows just how divided this Government is.
The Prime Minister must pull Matt Canavan into line – he’s broken Cabinet solidarity.
Even Scott Morrison’s own Cabinet handbook says:
20. Members of the Cabinet must publicly support all Government decisions made in the Cabinet, even if they do not agree with them. Cabinet ministers cannot dissociate themselves from, or repudiate the decisions of their Cabinet colleagues unless they resign from the Cabinet. It is the Prime Minister’s role as Chair of the Cabinet, where necessary, to enforce Cabinet solidarity.
Senator Canavan’s comments also contradict those of his colleagues.
The Deputy leader of the National Party Bridget McKenzie has said it will not happen and slammed Joyce’s advocacy for coal yesterday:
‘What Barnaby Joyce is saying publicly is very different to what the party room is saying. What we are agreed on is that we do need to back a neutral approach, a technology neutral approach to getting reliable, baseload power into our energy system.’ [BRIDGET MCKENZIE, 12 MARCH 2019]
The Leader of the National Party and the Deputy Prime Minister has said it will only consider new coal fire power stations ‘if the business case stacks up.’ [MICHAEL MCCORMACK, 11 MARCH 2019]
Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman has said that it won’t happen:
"It is bad policy. I don't think we should be in the business of building or funding or operating coal-fired power stations at a federal level." [TRENT ZIMMERMAN, 12 MARCH 2019]
Liberal MP Tim Wilson has said it won’t happen:
“I don’t believe that’s Coalition policy or ever has been.” [TIM WILSON, 12 MARCH 2019]
Even NSW Nationals leader and Deputy Premier John Barilaro doesn’t think any government would ‘subsidise coal going forward.’ [JOHN BARILARO, 12 MARCH 2019]
This government is hopelessly divided and the only way to fix this mess is to vote them out.