“I don’t know what he’s talking about,” Mr Morrison said. “I think Matt can focus on hazard reduction and I will focus on emissions reduction.
The Prime Minister’s terse reaction comes after Mr Kean told Sky News on Sunday that “some of the most senior members of the government” were raising concerns about the Coalition’s climate change policies.
“And they [the MPs] are not moderates. They are from the right of the party,” Mr Kean said. When asked if this group included cabinet members, Mr Kean said: “in cabinet, absolutely”.
“This is because their communities are crying out. They are listening to their communities saying ‘We want you to protect our environment.’ “
Mr Kean, the leader of the moderate Liberal faction in NSW, said there was “widespread support for the Prime Minister to take strong action when it comes to climate change”.
“I undertand a group of moderate MPs and MPs right across the party, from different states and different factions, all want to see decisive and responsible action.”
NSW Families and Communities Minister Gareth Ward swung in behind Mr Kean.
“As someone who has had my community hit by these fires, I don’t see how these comments are helpful or appropriate,” Mr Ward said.
“The focus of everyone should be on helping communities get back on their feet.”
Mr Kean’s latest comments follow his declaration last month that “no one can deny” the link between climate change and the bushfires burning across NSW.
“This is not normal and doing nothing is not a solution,” Mr Kean said in December.
Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham admitted knowing who the NSW minister is. Asked if he knows Mr Kean, Mr Birmingham told Sky News: “Yes, I do.”
Lisa Visentin is a state political reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.