Turnbull survives leadership vote
Liberal MP Peter Slipper compared Malcolm Turnbull's verdict on the party room decision on climate change to an election result by Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe.
Peter Slipper made the comments after Mr Turnbull declared the joint parties room had accepted Coalition amendments to Labor's emissions trading scheme (ETS).
"The result announced by the leader last night was about as dodgy as a Zimbabwean election organised by Robert Mugabe," Mr Slipper said today.
Mr Slipper told ABC radio this morning that Mr Turnbull's leadership was definitely on the line because of the appalling way he has handled the issue.
"I think Malcolm Turnbull's leadership is a bit wobbly at the moment,'' the Member for Fisher said.
"I think it is a question of watch this space.''
This morning, former Howard government Minister Kevin Andrews declared he would run at the leadership.
But just after noon, Mr Turnbull survived a party room vote at noon with 48 MPs in support and 35 against.
Party room sources have told the Australian that the vote was 41-32 against climate change laws.
Mr Slipper said Mr Turnbull had added the votes of the shadow leadership to those in the party room to claim he had a majority.
"I think it is just incredible for someone to walk out of the party room and declare black is white,'' he said.
Last night, Mr Slipper told the Daily he would defy his own party leader and cross the floor to vote against climate change laws he described as “national economic suicide”.
The Liberal MP said the government’s emissions trading scheme would lead to more “cheap, nasty Chinese food” on our tables, higher electricity prices, and the loss of investment in Australia and thousands of jobs, without making any difference to world pollution.
Mr Slipper said while the coalition had secured important changes, the legislation was still a “mangy dog” and there should be a secret ballot on the issue among conservatives.
MR Slipper said the conservative party room was split down the middle despite calls from leader Malcolm Turnbull to support the legislation.
He said he had been inundated with calls and emails from Coast residents angrily opposing the Rudd plan.
Mr Slipper said his Maroochydore office received some 30 calls from residents yesterday morning alone.
“There is no doubt that people are becoming more and more angry about these new laws and concerned about the massive impact they will have on everyday prices, without making one iota of difference to pollution levels,” Mr Slipper said.
“In terms of volume of contacts on the one issue, this is by far the biggest concern locally in quite a while.”
Mr Slipper has been a strong critic of the legislation, arguing in parliament that it would destroy the competitiveness of Australian exports and result in the importation of more foreign food and goods.
With Australia’s emissions representing 1.4% of the global output, and China’s emissions increasing by a similar amount every eight months, Mr Slipper said the legislation was a “feel good” measure that would have no positive impact at all.
He said it was madness for Australia to jump the gun on the issue just so Kevin Rudd could strut on the world stage at the climate change conference in Copenhagen.
“Your grandchildren will be paying for this debt,” he said of the multi-billion dollar cost of the new compensation package.
The member for Fisher said his party should stand up for farmers and business people rather than being pressured by the government.
“We should not blink because there is a threat of a double dissolution,” he said.
Mr Slipper said whether climate change was the result of human activity was an open question, with studies supporting both sides of the argument.
“A lot of the so-called scientific evidence is sus(pect),” he said, citing reports of alleged fraud involving overseas studies on climate change."
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