Nats spark works projects

FEDERAL POLITICS:

The Morrison Government says major capital works under way at Parliament House in Canberra are necessary to accommodate the National Party’s position on tackling climate change.

As part of the works, a new annex has been built on the roof of the building (main picture) to house National Party Ministers and MPs including party leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office said the new annex was needed to maintain the integrity of the nation’s Westminster parliamentary system.

“On Sunday the Morrison Government representing Australia signed the final communique of the  UN’s Climate Change Conference in Glasgow which commits signatory nations to step up efforts to cut emissions in the medium term to 2030,” the spokesperson said.

“Barnaby has made it clear that he and the Nationals did not sign the communique, even though they form part of the government.

“You’ll recall that the same sort of thing happened leading up to Glasgow when Barnaby and the Nationals denied any knowledge or involvement in the development of the Morrison Government’s climate change plan.

“Basically we have a situation where the Nationals are part of the government but not part of it, if you can follow that.

“So on the advice of parliamentary staff with extensive knowledge of the Westminster system we need to accommodate their position.

“The solution has been to build an annex separate from but still in proximity to the executive wing of Parliament House where all other Ministers and the PM have their offices.

“Now, depending on what issue is being discussed, Barnaby and the Nationals can say they are part of the government or not. It’s really up to them.”

The spokesperson could not reveal the cost of establishing the new annex, saying the overall capital works project was not yet completed.

“We still need to modify both the federal cabinet room and both chambers of the parliament to install similar separate but connected pods where the Nationals will sit so that they can be either in or out of government on any particular issue,” the spokesperson said.