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Nationals to attend jobs summit, but no consensus yet on being inside the tent



David Littleproud calls it an inside the tent/outside the tent dilemma.

Last week the Nationals leader and his colleagues chose outside.

They voted against the government’s climate change legislation, but also an amendment proposing to ensure regional Australia benefitted from the transition to renewable energy and its attendant public investment.

Critics said they had betrayed their reason for being.

This week Mr Littleproud is choosing inside the tent for the government’s jobs and skills summit.

Helpfully, Treasurer Jim Chalmers had extended a welcome after hearing the Nationals stance would diverge from that of Opposition Leader Peter Dutton.

Dr Chalmers wrote to ‘‘seek clarification on the Opposition’s approach’’.

‘‘I offered the opportunity to (Peter Dutton) or another opposition member to participate in the summit,’’ the letter said.

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‘‘I note Mr Dutton has said publicly that the opposition won’t accept the invitation, but you have said publicly you want to attend.’’

Mr Littleproud took the high road.

“I tend to think that this is more of a gab fest – a political stunt, but I’d rather be inside the tent as a voice for regional rural Australia,’’ he said on Wednesday.

“You can’t walk away from the opportunity to be a voice for reason and for rural Australia.

“That’s our sole purpose.”

Mr Dutton had earlier said the event would be a stunt:  “I’m not going to a summit with those people’’.

The summit was promised by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese during the election and has once before been the source of dissent in the Coalition.

EEmissions report scheme
Better to have a seat at the table, says shadow treasurer Angus Taylor. Photo: AAP

Shadow treasurer Angus Taylor had earlier said it would be better to have a seat at the table for the summit when Mr Dutton was away on holiday.

The letter to Mr Littleproud, like Mr Dutton’s before it, was leaked to the media a short time after it was issued.

“If they were genuine about a respectful invitation to the Leader of the Opposition, it would have happened directly,” Coalition Senator Jane Hume said.

Senator Hume said the summit would be the first test of whether the Albanese government would be controlled by “union masters”.

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Earlier Dr Chalmers had called Mr Dutton a “destructive figure” and said the Liberal Party would be left ‘‘isolated’’ and ‘‘humiliated’’.

The summit is being styled in the fashion of Bob Hawke’s 1983 national economic summit, which brought together unions and business at a time of high inflation to reach an accord on wages and services. 

The big idea? Forging consensus.

The post Nationals to attend jobs summit, but no consensus yet on being inside the tent appeared first on The New Daily.



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