Australia ditches greenhouse gas emissions target | News | DW | 20.08.2018
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Australia ditches greenhouse gas emissions target

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's decision to drop the emissions target has been seen as an attempt to keep his job. It comes as some lawmakers are urging another minister to challenge the leadership.

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday abandoned plans to create legislature limiting greenhouse gas emissions, in hope of easing tensions among conservative lawmakers.

Turnbull said while most government lawmakers supported the target of reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent below 2005's levels by 2030, he probably would not be able get the measure through parliament.

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"Even with strong support in the party room, if a small number of people are not prepared to vote with the government on a measure, then it won't get passed," Turnbull told reporters.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten accused Turnbull of walking away from policy in order to save his job.

"[It's] an energy policy that is about one thing only for the Turnbull Government: it's to save Mr Turnbull's job. It's just about appeasing Mr Turnbull's enemies in the Government so he can keep his job," the Australian Broacasting Corporation (ABC) quoted Shorten as saying. 

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Turnbull's announcement comes amid a push from some government lawmakers who want Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, a close ally of Turnbull's predecessor Tony Abbott, to challenge for the leadership.

Dutton tweeted his loyalty to Turnbull on Saturday, saying the prime minister had his support and that he backed the government's policies.

Abbott overthrew Turnbull as leader of the conservative Liberal Party in 2009 over differences in energy policy, but Turnbull ousted Abbott from the prime minister's office in 2015 in a leadership vote by government lawmakers concerned by a dip in opinion polls.

Turnbull's government has fallen behind the center-left opposition Labor Party in most opinion polls since the last election in 2016. Australians are due to hold a general election early next year.

When asked about a possible leadership challenge from the right wing of his Liberal party, Turnbull attempted to quell the notion.

"Can I say, I have, I enjoy the confidence of the Cabinet and of my party room," Turnbull said.

Turnbull would next month become Australia's longest serving prime minister since John Howard, having held the office for three years and four days.

law/msh (AP, Reuters)

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