Butler gaffe on coal-power future puts pressure on leader
IT may not be great for the environment but it's good for the economy, so little wonder Mark Butler (pictured) felt the political heat when he admitted he thought coal-fired power should be phased out.
Yesterday Opposition Leader Bill Shorten went into damage control as he defended the Shadow Environment Minister's comments, saying both coal and renewable energy played an important part in the nation's energy mix.
In an interview with ABC radio, Mr Butler said he thought coal-fired power and coal exports should be phased out.
"I think everyone agrees that over a period of time - it will be a fairly extended period of time - we'll move to more renewable energy sources," he said.
But while in CQ, a major hub for coal mining, Mr Shorten refused to speculate on whether he thought the energy source would be phased out.
"I don't believe that Mark said there's no place at all for coal in Australia," he said. "Coal is part of our energy mix, but it's also important that we take action on climate change.
"The rest of the world is going in one direction on climate change, trying to make us more sustainable in the future … what we're doing is taking billions of dollars' worth of taxpayer's money to big polluters."