Startling admission after Turnbull sacking

 

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has hit back after he was sensationally dumped from his role as chair of an advisory body on climate change.

But the minister responsible for sacking him has made a startling admission.

Speaking on breakfast television, Mr Turnbull accused NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro of wanting more coalmining in the Upper Hunter Valley, describing it as a "shocking betrayal of the people".

"They (Mr Barilaro, One Nation's Mark Latham and the NSW government) want to keep ripping up that valley for open cut coalmines even though export demand for coal is declining, even though existing mines are operating below capacity, even though new mines and new extensions to existing mines will only put workers in current mines out of work," he said.

He went on to argue that Muswellbrook had the worst air quality in NSW.

"John Barilaro and (Mark) Latham are saying the people in Muswellbrook are imagining it and manipulating the figures, so they are basically gaslighting the people of Muswellbrook, saying … 'No, that's not dust you are coughing and choking on'," he told the Today show.

Mr Turnbull has hit back after he was dumped from the role. Picture: NCA NewsWire/POOL/Bianca De Marchi
Mr Turnbull has hit back after he was dumped from the role. Picture: NCA NewsWire/POOL/Bianca De Marchi

"The fact is Muswellbrook has the worst air quality in NSW. The reason it does is because it is surrounded by open-cut coalmines, and John Barilaro and his ally, Mark Latham, want to surround it with even more."

But NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean made a startling admission on Wednesday just hours after his sacked Mr Turnbull from the key role.

Mr Kean confessed he dumped Mr Turnbull from his high profile climate change job to "manage the politics" but insisted the former prime minister remained the best man for the role.

"You can't do good policy without managing the politics," Mr Kean told Sky News.

"Malcolm Turnbull, love him or loathe him, is a lightning rod who inspires very fierce opinions, no matter what your views are.

"We need someone that can unite the community and help us move forward in this debate."

He said Mr Turnbull handled the decision "like the professional he is" and understood the reasons behind it.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has clashed with Mr Turnbull in recent weeks. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has clashed with Mr Turnbull in recent weeks. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

"Malcolm Turnbull is a good man. He is someone who has made an outstanding contribution to Australian public life and is someone that I look up to. I will continue to do that," Mr Kean said.

Earlier he explained the board's focus needed to be on facts, technology, science and economics and not on personality.

"However, no person's role on the board should distract from achieving results for the NSW people or from the government's work in delivering jobs and opportunities for the people of NSW," Mr Kean said.

"For this reason, I have decided not to proceed with his appointment as chair."

Mr Barilaro revealed on Tuesday that Mr Turnbull had been stood down as chair of the NSW government's Net Zero Emissions and Clean Economy Board, just a week after he was appointed to the role.

" (Mr Turnbull) pulled my pants down within 48 hours of his appointment on an area that I take seriously," Mr Barilaro told 2GB.

"We are not proceeding with the appointment of Malcolm Turnbull as chair."

Mr Barilaro accused Mr Turnbull of having a "damaged ego" and of being "at war with the Coalition" after the former prime minister backed a call for a moratorium on new coalmines in NSW.

It comes after Mr Turnbull said the coalmine proposals and approvals in the state's Upper Hunter Valley were "out of control".

Originally published as Startling admission after Turnbull sacking



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