Bill Shorten accuses Nationals, Barnaby Joyce of being in ‘Squid Game’ over net zero

Ellen RansleyNCA NewsWire
The Nationals will link up with their Liberal colleagues for a Coalition party room meeting on Tuesday. Gary Ramage / NCA NewsWire
Camera IconThe Nationals will link up with their Liberal colleagues for a Coalition party room meeting on Tuesday. Gary Ramage / NCA NewsWire Credit: News Corp Australia

Former opposition leader Bill Shorten has accused the Coalition of being in the their “own game of Squid Game” as the stalemate over net zero rages on.

After two consecutive days of meetings, the Nationals are yet to agree on a position regarding the net-zero deal Scott Morrison is hoping to take to Glasgow later this month for Cop26, leaving the Coalition divided.

Several Liberal ministers have expressed their frustration at their Nationals colleagues for holding up the process, but leaders remain hopeful the Coalition will work out a deal.

But the Prime Minister has told Liberal colleagues he will proceed with a plan to cut carbon emissions by 2050 without the support of the Nationals if they cannot come to an agreement.

Supplied  Episodics from Netflix series Squid Game.
Camera IconBill Shorten has compared the Coalition’s infighting to the Squid Game. The popular, violent Korean Netflix show follows hundreds of participants who fight to be the last person standing in games that kill the losers. Credit: Netflix

Speaking to Today on Tuesday, Mr Shorten said the only conclusion that could be drawn was that the Nationals and the Liberals were in a “very unhappy marriage” and were trying to kill each other.

“It’s become like the Squid Game of Australian politics, except without the nice tracksuits,” Mr Shorten said.

Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said Mr Shorten obviously “has a lot of time on his hands” if he can watch the violent Korean Netflix show.

BARNABY JOYCE PRESSER
Camera IconDeputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and the Nationals have yet to reach a decision on net zero. Gary Ramage / NCA NewsWire Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Joyce said he wanted to ensure the Coalition remained “tight” but there needed to be a plan for regional Australia – including a long-term plan for jobs and more spending.

“I think the nation expects that of us. We will make sure we give our best endeavours to do that,” he said.

“We’re not going to be haphazard and go down a process … It is not about ransom, grandstanding. It is about looking after regional people.

“We can’t just decide that we are going to go in a different direction without proper consideration of the people who sent us to Canberra.”

NATIONALS PARTY ROOM
Camera IconThe Nationals will link up with their Liberal colleagues for a Coalition party room meeting on Tuesday. Gary Ramage / NCA NewsWire Credit: News Corp Australia

Nationals Senator Matt Canavan, who accused Mr Morrison of “gas lighting”, said his party wanted to see a “credible plan.”

“According to the media a decision has already been made … The Prime Minister is gas lighting the nationals,” Mr Canavan told Sky News.

“We’re getting very little detail about this and I’m a position of being asked to marry a girl that I haven’t met. That’s not how the Nationals party room works.

“I believe we should get to know someone seriously before you take that leap.”

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull told RN Breakfast that Australia was “being held hostage by climate deniers in the National Party”, a statement Resources Minister Keith Pitt rebuked.

“I’m a member of the executive. My position will always be the government’s position, but right now that is not established,” he said.

Liberal MP Dave Sharma said he thought it would be “unusual” if there was unanimity of opinion, given how divisive an issue it had been in Australian politics for “over a decade”.

“I respect their processes … I just make the point that there’s 109 MPs that sit in the Coalition party room – 88 are Liberals, 21 are Nationals,” Mr Sharma told RN Breakfast.

“When the Prime Minister goes to Glasgow, he needs to be in a position to announce a policy, and I have no doubt that will be the case.”

The Coalition party room will convene on Tuesday.

Originally published as Bill Shorten accuses Nationals, Barnaby Joyce of being in ‘Squid Game’ over net zero

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails