Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday abandoned plans to legislate to limit greenhouse gas emissions to head off a revolt by conservative lawmakers.
Turnbull said that he could not get legislation through the Australian House of Representatives, where his conservative coalition holds only a single-seat majority.
He said that although most government lawmakers supported the target of reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent below 2005 levels, that support was not enough.
“Even with strong support in the party room, if a small number of people are not prepared to vote with the government on a measure, then it won’t get passed,” Turnbull told reporters.
Some lawmakers, including former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott, say the government should be focusing on cutting electricity prices instead of cutting emissions.
Abbott deposed Turnbull as leader of the conservative Liberal Party in 2009 over differences in energy policy. Turnbull ousted Abbott as prime minister in 2015 in a leadership ballot of government lawmakers concerned by the government’s poor opinion polling.
Some government lawmakers want Australian Minister of Home Affairs Peter Dutton to challenge Turnbull’s leadership.
Turnbull said Dutton had told him he would not challenge for the party leadership.
“He has given me his absolute support,” Turnbull said of Dutton.
Dutton also watered down speculation of a challenge.
“In relation to media stories today [yesterday], just to make very clear, the Prime Minister has my support and I support the policies of the Government,” Dutton tweeted.
The government has trailed the opposition Labor Party in most opinion polls since the previous election in 2016. Australia is due to hold a general election early next year.
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