Written by ClimateRealists.com
The National party has unanimously rejected the federal government's emissions trading scheme legislation at the party's annual council in Canberra, Australia today.
The motion was first on the agenda and has opened the way for a potential split between the coalition parties in the Senate when the vote on the ETS comes up again in November.
Prior to the council vote, outspoken Senator Barnaby Joyce said it was a most "dangerous scheme for regional Australia."
"The emissions trading scheme will do nothing to affect the climate of the globe," he told delegates at the council.
Senator Joyce said it would be an "insidious tax" which would "completely undermine the structure for which this country is built on".
Liberal MP Darren Chester, who seconded the motion, said if the unions were too gutless to stand up for regional Australia and country jobs, then it was up to the Nationals to do so.
The motion was passed unanimously by the more than 50 members present at the council.
Earlier, Nationals Federal President John Tanner told delegates under the party's new slogan "for Regional Australia" that the weekend's meeting was an important one given next year's election.
He said after the 2007 election defeat, the Nationals needed to have a "honest, fair dinkum look at ourselves."
In the past the Nationals had displayed varied views from state to state and there was often confusion about what the party stood for.
Mr Tanner said the regions were looking for "honest leadership without the spin".
He attacked Labor for treating the regional areas with disdain.
"It treats them as a dumping ground and something to be exploited, whether it be food, water, natural resources," he said.
The Nationals believed the regions were entitled to a fair share of private and public investment and a share in infrastructure and services.
He said the party stood for a "triple bottom line" of creating and maintaining strong regional economies, secure communities and a sustainable environment.
"We are about protecting free choice, the right for all Australians to have a fair go," he said.