Fractures within the National Party on climate action have been revealed after the Deputy Prime Minister was caught in the hot seat regarding rogue comments made by his colleagues in the Senate.
During question time on Wednesday, Barnaby Joyce was forced to defend claims made by Nationals Senate leader Bridget McKenzie that forcing the junior Coalition partner into a corner on committing to net zero by 2050 would see things get "ugly".
Ms McKenzie warned Prime Minister Scott Morrison there would be consequences for proceeding without backing from the Nationals.
"I think it will be ugly. I think it will be ugly. I agree with Senator Canavan, [but] you'll have to check with Barnaby if he doesn't," she said.
"What we're doing as a political party is carefully considering the proposal before us."
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Senator McKenzie refused to predict how many Nationals ministers would resign if Mr Morrison pushed ahead with the target, dismissing the prospect as a "hypothetical".
In real-time ping pong between the chambers of power, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese asked whether Mr Joyce agreed with his minister.
The Deputy Prime Minister responded by saying the Nationals would have a position for the Morrison government in the next day, claiming the party is not politically grandstanding.
"What I can say is that the process of going through this has been diligently followed," he said.
"We are going to make sure that the Prime Minister of Australia is reported back [to] as soon as possible.
"In fact, I believe within the day, within the next day, we will get back to him because we are not grandstanding."
Mr Joyce also attacked Labor over renewable energy projects, which he claimed would not replace a hole left by fossil fuels.
"They can produce power, there is no doubt about that. But they don't produce thousands of jobs," he said.
The Deputy Prime Minister also rejected the National Farmers' Federation's claim that failing to agree to a net zero target would be an economic handbrake on the industry.
Mr Joyce said only 12 per cent of his electorate were farmers.
"I have a great respect for [them] ... but I am not here as a member of the National Farmers' Federation," he said.
Short shrift was also given to a Business Council of Australia report which argued regional Australians would be dollar-for-dollar better off than their metropolitan equivalents.
"Modelling is not a letter from God," Mr Joyce said.
Mr Morrison faced pressure from independent Zali Steggall to allow an open debate and conscience vote on net zero.
But the Prime Minister said the position he brought to Glasgow would be determined by cabinet.
"We have been working towards that date over the course of the year, so when I attend that summit, I will take the government's position. The government's position will be determined ... by the federal cabinet," Mr Morrison said.
"That was the approach taken in the past when it came to these matters, and on the commitments that Australia has made in the past on these issues."
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