Nick Minchin

My friend Tim Flannery (‘Comment’, June) refers rather disparagingly to “appalling treachery and weakness” in the Liberal Party in relation to Malcolm Turnbull’s failed attempt to force the Liberal Party to support Kevin Rudd’s emissions trading scheme in November last year.

With great respect, Tim, where, oh where, was the “treachery” of which you speak? When Mr Turnbull brought to the Coalition party room a shadow cabinet recommendation (opposed by me and five other shadow cabinet members) to support Mr Rudd’s ETS, the party room clearly rejected it.

The majority of the party room was not persuaded that we should change our policy of not enacting an ETS until after the Copenhagen conference and the outcome of the US Congress consideration of an ETS. The right thing for Mr Turnbull to do was to accept the party room position, or at the very least to take the matter back to shadow cabinet for reconsideration. Instead Mr Turnbull insisted that the Coalition vote for Mr Rudd’s ETS prior to Copenhagen, in defiance of the will of the party room. As a result, he lost his leadership.

Again I ask, where Tim was the treachery? There was no treachery, just a failure by Mr Turnbull to respect the majority view of the Coalition party room. The debacle at Copenhagen and the failure of the US Congress to legislate an ETS vindicated the Coalition party room position, which reflected not treachery, but common sense.

Nick Minchin

Kent Town, SA