The Coalition government is bracing for its second leadership challenge in less than two months, with Nationals MPs counting numbers to potentially topple Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack within days.
The growing internal unrest inside the junior Coalition partner has infuriated the Liberal Party, which is fighting to retain its one-seat majority at Saturday’s crucial byelection in the Sydney seat of Wentworth.
Former leader Barnaby Joyce, who resigned in disgrace in February after former staffer Vikki Campion became pregnant with his child, wants to reclaim the top job but has denied making calls for support.
However Fairfax Media understands his Queensland-based backers are counting numbers and believe they could have enough support to challenge Mr McCormack or ask him to stand down.
In a significant development on Thursday night, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud – who is widely viewed inside the government as a potential future Nationals leader – ruled himself out of running in any spill.
“There is no chance of a leadership challenge and even if there was I would not be interested in any positions,” Mr Littleproud said.
Mr Joyce’s backers claim Mr McCormack has failed to cut through with regional communities and fear a wipeout in Queensland at next year’s federal election.
A leadership challenge this week is unlikely. But in a tactic similar to the one used by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton in his botched attempt to replace Malcolm Turnbull, a substantial bloc of aggrieved Nationals MPs are attempting to create a crisis around Mr McCormack’s leadership.
Most MPs, including some of Mr McCormack’s backers, believe a showdown is almost certain next week but warned events were moving quickly and could not dismiss a move on Thursday before Parliament rises for the week.
Source: ‘They have lost their minds’: Government fuming over growing push to topple Deputy Prime Minister
Residents in the Mandurah suburb of Meadow Springs have been selected to take part in an Australian-first communal battery trial.
The 105kW (420kWh) Tesla powerbank battery installed in a neighbourhood park will allow 52 surrounding houses with solar panels to store the excess power generated during the day and draw on it in the peak evening period.
The battery is a smaller version of the 100-megawatt Tesla lithium ion battery installed in South Australia in 2017.
Unlike Tesla’s powerwall battery, which is installed at the home level, the powerbank is fed and accessed by an entire neighbourhood.
The two-year Western Power and Synergy trial is the first time in Australia a utility-scale battery has been integrated into an already-established metro grid.
Synergy has been trialling a 1.1 megawatt community-scale lithium ion battery in the new Alkimos Beach estate since 2016.
The system was expected to save households money. For $1 a day residents will be able to use 8kWhs of the powerbank battery storage after 3pm without having to outlay upfront costs for a behind-the-meter battery storage system…
Source: Mandurah suburb to get communal Tesla battery in Australia-first trial
A new Climate Council report has found despite 27 per cent of West Australian households having solar panels installed, the state is lagging far behind the rest of the country in its renewable energy generation.
- WA performs poorly on renewable energy scorecard, despite big solar uptake
- It is the only state or territory yet to commit to a renewable energy target
- Climate Council says WA’s inaction could be dangerous for the state
The report, first released in 2014, rates how states and territories are tracking in their transitions to renewable energy sources, with WA found to have fallen far behind.
The Climate Council’s Greg Bourne, a former president of BP Australasia, said the latest report found WA generated just 7.5 per cent of its energy from renewable sources in 2017.
“The ACT, Tasmania, South Australia are well ahead of the pack,” Mr Bourne said.
“Queensland is somewhere in the middle but West Australia — unfortunately I’m a West Australian — is right at the back of the pack.”
Source: WA losing Australia’s renewable energy race, Climate Council report finds – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)