Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has once again publicly undermined Malcolm Turnbull, this time in relation to the Prime Minister’s energy policy. Turnbull’s National Energy Guarantee — a policy which, if enacted, would see Australia take a step back towards the dark days of the Gillard era carbon tax, has reportedly caused much disunity within the party rooms of the Liberal National Coalition. If passed, the National Energy Guarantee would see the imposition of emissions reduction obligations on Australian energy retailers from 2020. The policy’s emphasis on emissions reductions as opposed to improved electricity affordability for Australian energy consumers, has led Abbott to suggest that he may potentially cross the floor if the legislation reaches parliament. Doing so would see him voting alongside the Greens, who have also stated their opposition to the policy, albeit for significantly different reasons to that of Abbott.
This is of course not the first time that Abbott has publicly undermined Prime Minister Turnbull, with similar divisions emerging earlier in the year amidst Turnbull’s ongoing run of Newspoll defeats. Interestingly, energy policy was also used by Abbott as a wedge to unseat Turnbull from the leadership of the Liberal Party in 2009, when the then Leader of the Opposition supported Labor Party Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s calls for an Emissions Trading Scheme to be introduced. Clearly Prime Minister Turnbull hasn’t learnt his lesson. History repeats itself.