Scott Morrison – Former leader John Anderson fails in Senate bid for troubled Nats
He made a run for the Senate, saying he was gravely concerned for the nation’s future and wanted to act as an adviser and mentor to the party’s leadership.
There was a view held by some that Mr Anderson could help settle the internal friction in the Nationals, built around the rivalry between Barnaby Joyce and leader Michael McCormack.
Fresh speculation over Mr McCormack’s leadership has arisen but sources said there was no prospect of any move next week, when Parliament sits for one more week before rising for the winter break.
First, Mr McCormack had the numbers and the party was not good at organising coups, said the source.
“When push comes to shove, you can rely on inertia.”
Nonetheless, the unrest in the Nationals makes it extremely unlikely Prime Minister Scott Morrison will be able to make final commitment towards net zero emissions by 2050.
At this stage, that remains a “strong preference” and the Nationals have made it clear they will oppose the ambition should Mr Morrison try to formalise it.
Mr McCormack is caught between the demands of his party and his role as Deputy Prime Minister in trying to work with the Liberals.
Nationals MPs have made it clear in recent days that Mr McCormack will put his job on the line if he accedes to a net zero target.
The stance among the Nationals is causing concern among Liberals who believe the party will be punished electorally in the cities if it does not sign on to net zero by 2050.
Mr Morrison is expected to detail a position before the international climate summit in Glasgow in November. It is not certain that he will attend the summit.