Turnbull blasts Abbott's 'bullshit' climate change stance
ARI SHARPDecember 7, 2009 - 10:58AM
Blast ... Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott in happier times.
Former Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has delivered an extraordinary attack on Tony Abbott, describing the central plank of his successor's response to climate change as "bullshit" and saying the party could not be trusted.
In a blog posted on his website this morning, Mr Turnbull has delivered what he describes as "a few home truths" about the "farce" that the Coalition's climate change policy has become.
Mr Turnbull lost the leadership of the Liberal Party to Mr Abbott by a single vote in a partyroom meeting last Tuesday.
Mr Abbott has since ditched the party's commitment to the Government's emissions trading scheme negotiated under Mr Turnbull's leadership. The new Opposition Leader says he remains committed to the target of 5 per cent carbon emissions on 2000 levels by 2020, but has ruled out a carbon tax or trading scheme as part of his alternative policy.
"You cannot cut emissions without a cost," Mr Turnbull wrote. "To replace dirty coal-fired power stations with cleaner gas-fired ones, or renewables like wind let alone nuclear power or even coal fired power with carbon capture and storage is all going to cost money."
Somebody has to pay, Mr Turnbull declared.
"So any suggestion that you can dramatically cut emissions without any cost is, to use a favourite term of Mr Abbott, 'bullshit'. Moreover, he knows it."
He seized on earlier comments from one of Mr Abbott's backers, Senator Nick Minchin, that a majority of the members of the parliamentary Liberal Party did not believe in climate change caused by human activity. While disputing Mr Minchin's reading of the party room's mood, Mr Turnbull said the leadership of the party did not see any need to act on climate change.
"The Liberal Party is currently led by people whose conviction on climate change is that it is "crap" and you don't need to do anything about it. Any policy that is announced will simply be a con, an environmental figleaf to cover a determination to do nothing."
In his deeply personal attack, Mr Turnbull charts the movements in Mr Abbott's stance on climate change.
Mr Turnbull claims Mr Abbot has: publicly advocated blocking the ETS, passing the ETS, amending the ETS and passing it with those amendments, and now blocking it.
"His only redeeming virtue in this remarkable lack of conviction is that every time he announced a new position to me he would preface it with 'Mate, mate, I know I am a bit of a weather vane on this, but.....'," Mr Turnbull wrote.
The former Opposition Leader declared that the failure to uphold the deal negotiated with the Government meant: "We have given our opponents the irrefutable, undeniable evidence that we cannot be trusted."
The blog post comes just four days after Mr Turnbull vowed not to cause trouble for his new leader from the backbench.
‘‘I’m not going to run a commentary on Tony Abbott,’’ he told reporters last Thursday. ‘‘Lots of people ran commentaries on me when I was leader but I’m going to be more measured in my backbench remarks.
Before Mr Turnbull published his blog post, Mr Abbott spoke this morning about his alternative climate change policy, noting that the cost would depend on what was agreed by the party room, but it would be less than Labor’s $120 billion carbon pollution reduction scheme.
‘‘I’m confident that we can achieve, well and truly, mandatory (emission) targets for an enormous amount less than that,’’ Mr Abbott said.
Mr Abbott is expected to respond to Mr Turnbull's claim when he addresses the media late this morning in Sydney.