Barnaby Joyce has confirmed he could cross the floor on the federal legislation associated with the National Energy Guarantee. “Of course I could,” he says in an interview with The Conversation.
Joyce is out on the author’s circuit for his just-released book Weatherboard and Iron, which reprises the personal saga that took him from deputy prime minister to backbencher, as well as canvassing life in Canberra and policy issues.
On the NEG, he says in this podcast: “If it comes back from COAG and it’s absolutely untenable in regards to what happens to power prices and it forces even more misery onto people that can no longer afford power then I think you’re almost duty bound to leave that option [crossing the floor] up your sleeve.”
Asked whether the government should ditch its tax cuts for big business if it cannot get them through the Senate, Joyce says: “To be quite frank I’ve probably got a different view than some of my colleagues, in that I look at the company tax cuts and I say, well we have to also be internationally competitive.”
Provocatively, Joyce says the Nationals should run a candidate in the NSW Labor held seat of Eden-Monaro - which would mean contesting against a Liberal contender.
On future aspirations, Joyce makes it clear he would like to return to the frontbench after the election. “If I was offered that I would never knock it back,” he said. “In politics you should try to get to the point of most effect – because that’s how you bring the best outcome”.
Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra