Nationals agree to net zero emissions target by 2050
The Nationals have backed a Coalition plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050 in an historic decision.
The National Party has agreed to in-principle support of Prime Minister Scott Morrison's plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
The breakthrough came in a vote this evening after the party's MPs and senators debated for more than two hours Mr Morrison's response to their demands.
The majority position was reached amid dire predictions from at least one.
"I don't think that people really realise when they hear net zero that means they want to transition you to be a vegan," Nationals senator Matt Canavan told Sky News.
It was accepted not everyone will sign up to the party's decision when the majority rules.
"We appreciate that there will be those that will oppose it and that's fine," Agriculture Minister David Littleproud told 9News.
"That's the culture of the Nationals Party. That's something we celebrate."
The Nationals say they want long-term policy guarantees that ensure agriculture and mining can continue to thrive in a low emissions world.
But most had shifted with the tide of public opinion.
"To make sure we can give confidence to the Australian public and the global community that we are responsible citizens," Mr Littleproud said.
After the Sunday debate, Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce emerged to break the news.
"We are in support of a process going forward that would go towards the 2050 emissions target," Mr Joyce told reporters in Canberra.
Mr Morrison welcomed the Nationals' support, which will be "finally considered and determined by Cabinet" on Monday.
The Prime Minister was under pressure to achieve the net zero pledge before attending the COP26 conference in Glasgow that begins at the end of the month.
"We recognise this has been a challenging issue for the Nationals. I thank (Mr Joyce) for his leadership and his colleagues for their considered support. I greatly respect the process they have undertaken in reaching this decision," Mr Morrison said.
"Only the Coalition can be trusted to deliver a plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 that will protect and promote rural and regional Australia.
"Ensuring regional Australia continues to grow and prosper is a core objective of any Coalition Government, and this will be central to our plan.
"Australia will continue to reduce emissions while keeping our economy growing, maintaining affordable, reliable energy and ensuring our regions remain strong.
"That's our Australian way."
Labor leader Anthony Albanese criticised the prime minister today, saying he was following, not leading.
"This is a government frozen in time as the world warms around it," Mr Albanese said.
But Mr Albanese is also adamant that the federal government shouldn't sign up to any international plan that bans coal-fired power by 2030, saying "we need to keep the lights on".
The Nationals say this is all about protecting their people.
"We've got to be honest with the Australian people, we've got to tell them how we're going to get there and who pays for it," Mr Littleproud said.