Barnaby Joyce defends different coal messaging despite criticising Labor at last election

Jamieson Murphy
By Jamieson Murphy
May 2 2022 - 10:00pm
MIXED MESSAGES: The coal and climate message of Queensland Nationals candidate Colin Boyce stands in stark contrast to Sydney Liberal MP David Sharma.

BARNABY Joyce has defended the Coalition for pushing contradictory messages about coal and climate action in different parts of the country, despite criticising Labor for doing the same thing at the last election.

In the Coalition's targeted social media ads, Nationals candidate for Flynn Colin Boyce talks up the future of coal in Queensland, which stands in stark contrast to the ads of Liberal MP David Sharma, pictured next to a solar farm telling Wentworth voters the "transition to a low-carbon future is under way".



During the 2019 election, Labor was criticised for talking out both sides of its mouth on coal. The party struggled to clearly articulate its position on Adani's Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland, as it sought to appease city voters who opposed the mine on climate grounds and regional voters worried about the decline of the coal industry.

This election, the Coalition faces a similar dilemma as it tries to spruik its climate credentials to ward off challenges by strong independent candidates in inner-city seats, while also reassuring regional voters the resource sector is not under threat from its climate policies.

Speaking from the campaign trail within his New England electorate, the Deputy Prime Minister said the different views within the Coalition were coming from its candidates and backbenchers, unlike Labor's mixed messaging which was coming from the party's leadership team.


"Labor has [shadow] ministers who are part of the executive [team], with different positions to [Labor leader] Anthony Albanese," Mr Joyce said.

"Colin Boyce is a candidate and David Sharma is a backbencher. If you're a backbencher, you're not tied to the views of the executive."

Several independents have attempted to use the Nationals' support for coal to wedge the Coalition, particularly in inner-city Liberal-held seats, where voters are demanding stronger climate action policies.

Independent MP for Warringah, Zali Steggall, has been running the line "vote for moderate Liberals and you get Barnaby Joyce".

"For all the moderate Liberal MPs who say they're committed to action on climate change, barely an inch of ground has been gained on the most significant issue of our time," Ms Steggall said.

"It's clear to all that the Nationals are writing our climate policy."

Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was forced to clarify the government's climate policy commitment after Mr Boyce said the net-zero 2050 plan was "flexible".

Mr Joyce acknowledged climate change as an important issue but said "right now, China is a bigger issue".

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Jamieson Murphy

Jamieson Murphy

National Rural Affairs reporter

National Rural Affairs reporter, focusing on rural politics and issues. Whisper g'day mate to me at

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