Josh Frydenberg, George Christensen and Mark Butler on the Finkel review

June 14, 2017

Malcolm Turnbull declared on Wednesday he'd "provided decisive leadership on energy". It is a claim perhaps better cast in the future tense.

The debate over the Finkel panel's recommendation for a clean energy target (CET) is just beginning, and already it is clear that reaching an outcome that brings the certainty the business community needs to invest will be a hard slog for Turnbull, who will be undermined by critics on his own side.

In this podcast we talk Finkel with Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, Nationals backbencher George Christensen, and opposition climate spokesman Mark Butler.

Frydenberg, charged with the detailed heavy-lifting, tells Michelle Grattan: "We have to work together as a team to land this difficult policy area."

Christensen proudly wears the agrarian socialist title as he advocates for radical changes to the regulation of Australian energy prices. "Being bold is the answer and market intervention has to happen." He's sceptical of a CET without seeing the modelling and data.

Butler believes a CET is workable but it has to be consistent with principles, which means such a scheme shouldn't incorporate so-called "clean" coal. "The discussion of the Finkel report shouldn't include concessions for the hard-right-wing," he says.

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