POWER PLAY

Tony Abbott and almost two dozen other Liberal and National MPs have rounded on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over the proposed Clean Energy Target, which they say would drive up power prices and hurt the coal industry. At least 22 Coalition members confronted the PM in a tense, three-hour joint party room meeting, demanding that he rule out any changes to Australia's energy policy that would hurt coal and gas power. It's a reaction to Chief Scientist Alan Finkel's report, released last week, which recommends forcing electricity companies to sell a portion of their power from renewable sources, such as wind and solar. Coal-loving MPs including Victorian MP Kevin Andrews, Western Australians Rick Wilson, Andrew Hastie, Chris Back and Ben Morton, South Australian Tony Pasin and Nationals Ken O’Dowd, Bridget McKenzie, Mark Coulton, Andrew Broad, George Christensen and Andrew Gee want the PM to promise not to implement the report's recommendations, which Abbott described as “effectively, a tax on coal”. 

Abbott was the most vocal in his opposition to the target, according to The Australian. Why might that be? An anonymous MP in the room told Fairfax: "Malcolm could lose his leadership over this if he doesn't listen to us."