Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has conceded the Australian Parliament has failed to deal with the challenge of climate change as he confirmed the new Morrison government will concentrate on lowering power prices ahead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Mr Frydenberg said "no one is more disappointed that I am" about the decision to get rid of the National Energy Guarantee, the policy he designed and campaigned for as energy minister, but he declared the focus would now be on price.
"What you will hear from us, which you will not hear from the Labor Party, is that we will put reducing people’s power bills first, over emissions. You will not hear the Labor Party say that," he said.
Mr Frydenberg said the argument over the NEG was not the cause for the Liberal Party's removal of Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister on August 24 but he did not nominate a reason for the spill when questioned on ABC TV on Sunday.
"As Bismarck said - politics is the art of the possible. It was very clear that that legislation couldn’t proceed so our focus now turns to the reliability aspect of the national energy guarantee, which is very much needed," Mr Frydenberg said.
Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull formally killed off the policy on the Monday leading up to his removal as leader.
Mr Turnbull cut climate change targets from the National Energy Guarantee as he tried to fend off threats to his leadership and said the revised scheme would go ahead without federal legislation to stipulate a 26 per cent cut to greenhouse gas emissions.
Mr Frydenberg's comments on Sunday followed those made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Saturday when he said he would formally ask the Liberal party room to ditch the policy when it meets this week.
Mr Morrison repeated his commitment to Australia meeting its international greenhouse gas reduction targets under the Paris agreement but said the target would no longer be legislated.
The National Energy Guarantee had a broad cross section of support including from Labor, business groups and power companies which saw it as an opportunity to break the deadlock on emissions policy.
It had passed the Coalition party room three times before Mr Turnbull was dumped as leader.
Mr Frydenberg said the issue of climate change was one which had bedevilled Australian politics for more than a decade.
"This is a challenge that has dogged both sides of politics," Mr Frydenberg said.
"Who could forget Kevin Rudd saying it is the greatest moral challenge of our time and then Julia Gillard in the same electoral cycle saying there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead?"
Mr Frydenberg said he was confident Australia would still meet is international greenhouse gas reduction targets but people wanted to see the government acting on power prices.
"The people of Australia want to see their power bills come down, and they want to see the government take whatever measure possible to do that," Mr Frydenberg said.
Labor's energy spokesman Mark Butler said the government's decision to walk away from the policy was a capitulation to the more conservative elements inside the Coalition.
"In an abject surrender to the hard-right, to the Tony Abbott forces within his own party room, he’s [Scott Morrison] decided to walk away from his government’s own policy, and households will end up paying the price," Mr Butler told Sky News.