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Tony Abbott: NEG should go ‘back to the drawing board’

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Former prime minister Tony Abbott says the National Energy Guarantee must be taken back to the drawing board after it cleared a Coalition party room meeting yesterday.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull claimed the government’s flagship energy policy received “overwhelming support” from his colleagues, but he now faces a fight to get the policy through parliament.

Some Coalition MPs are reserving their right to cross the floor on the issue, including Mr Abbott.

The Member for Warringah tells Ben Fordham he won’t support the policy as it stands.

“Had I been at the top table, it would have had to go back to the drawing board.

“Certainly in John Howard’s time, a submission from a minister that got the kind of treatment that Minister Frydenberg’s submission got yesterday, it would go back to the drawing board.

“Because the first duty of the leader is to keep the party together, we should be fighting the Labor Party, not fighting ourselves.

“At the moment, thanks to this so-called National Energy Guarantee, the fight is an internal fight.”

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When asked whether he’ll be voting for the NEG, Mr Abbott says he “can’t support anything that entrenches the Paris targets”.

“We’re just penalising ourselves even though nothing we do on emissions is going to make any significant difference.”

On whether more Coalition members will start speaking out against the NEG, Mr Abbott says we will “see what happens”.