He said he and his colleagues, including Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor and fellow WA MP Rick Wilson – whose electorate covers the Collie coal region – did not support the policy.
“The WA state Liberal leadership had conceded defeat, so their green energy policy is academic,” he said.
“We are the party who backs working families and industry.
“If we’re being honest about our prospects, we need to be honest about the green energy policy: it’s a lemon.”
Mr Hastie was critical of the policy in an endorsement letter for Liberal candidate for Murray-Wellington Michelle Boylan.
The letter in support of Ms Boylan, whose electorate neighbours Collie’s coal region, is to be sent to voters over the next week.
“She will stand up for the jobs, industry and traditional energy sources that our region depends on,” the letter read.
Mr Hastie said the party now needed to “save the furniture” to ensure Ms Boylan is elected.
“She’s for jobs, industry and the gas and coal power that support those things,” he said.
Even Ms Boylan herself said she did not support the policy.
“We are the party that backs workers — so I can’t support a policy that undermines their jobs by putting reliable baseload power at risk,” she said.
Mr Wilson was the first to hint that the federal party was not happy with the state promise in a speech to Parliament on February 24.
“I reiterate what Minister Taylor has said: we won’t sacrifice jobs and industries in regional Australia for no global emissions benefits and we won’t impose taxes to get there,” he said.
On Friday, Mr Wilson said the policy gave the Labor Party the licence to go further than they would normally in efforts to wipe coal from the energy mix.
WA Liberal Senator Matt O’Sullivan said some aspects of the plan – like green hydrogen industry investment – were exciting, but the timeframes needed to be revised to ensure it could be realised without sacrificing jobs and increasing the cost of energy.
The comments will damage Mr Kirkup’s campaign, which abandoned hope of victory and is now focused on convincing voters to stop Labor from gaining total control of WA Parliament.
They also expose a significant split between the two arms of the WA Liberals, which Mr Kirkup downplayed on Friday afternoon.
When asked whether the energy policy was toxic to the state and federal party relationship and whether it was a reason why Prime Minister Scott Morrison had not visited the state he replied: “no and no.”
“I’m very thankful for the support we’ve received federally.”
Mr Kirkup’s electorate sits within the boundaries of Mr Hastie’s federal electorate and he claimed despite Mr Hastie’s comments the pair worked well together fighting for their community.
“I respect his views and appreciate the contest of ideas,” he said.
Another key pillar of the policy was to develop 1500 megawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2025 in the Mid West with private sector money.
The policy was panned by Labor, who said it would cause rolling blackouts and criticised a lack of transparency around costs.
But it was warmly welcomed by green groups who said it recognised the huge opportunity renewable energy could play in the state.
“The policy shows that action on climate change and renewable energy does not need to be held back any longer by partisan politicking,” Conservation Council WA director Piers Verstegen said at the time.
The policy was launched at a glitzy press conference earlier this month, which included a professionally created video that compared the vision to that of previous Liberal governments that kick-started the iron ore export and WA gas industries.
At a televised debate on Thursday night, Mr Kirkup did not mention the energy policy once, even after being asked what his party’s main election promise would be.
WAtoday understands the policy was presented to former opposition leader Liza Harvey but she did not act on it.
Hamish Hastie is WAtoday’s political reporter.
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