Prime Minister Scott Morrison has dismissed suggestions his reluctance to legislate net zero emissions targets is out of fear members of the government will cross the floor, saying Australians didn’t need a mandate “to do what’s right”.

“Australians, of course, want us to achieve net zero by 2050, but they don’t want a blank cheque, they don’t want to be signed up by a blank cheque,” he said.

“They want to be trusted; we trust Australians to be able to go forward and do these things, just like we trusted them to go out and get vaccinated – the Leader of the Opposition thought they had to be bribed to do that.

“We believe in the integrity of Australians and their commitment to do what’s right by Australia; we don’t think they need to be mandated.”

Mr Morrison also said the nation’s ability to meet its Kyoto and Paris targets suggested legislation was not needed.

“We have met, and we have beaten, our Kyoto targets – they weren’t legislated,” he added.

“We are going to meet and we’re going to beat our Paris targets that we set at 26 per cent to 28 per cent, we had this discussion at the last election.

“Those opposite said they didn’t believe that our plans would meet that target, said it won’t happen, other commentators said it wouldn’t happen.

“They said the same thing about our 2020 targets, they made all the same criticisms, and they made all the same noise that they’re making today about our plans for 2050.

“But guess what: we met 2020, there aren’t that many countries that can say that. We didn’t just meet it, we beat it by almost a full year of emissions.”

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