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Deja Vu All Over Again As PM Stands His Ground In The Face Of Abbott's Niggling

Ever get the feeling you've seen this movie before?

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In the wake of a fiery Coalition partyroom meeting, prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has stood defiant and claimed: "I have provided decisive leadership on energy".

Lukas Coch / AAPIMAGE

An eerie sense of deja vu has descended on Parliament House, with Turnbull holding a press conference on Wednesday in which he attempted to reassert his authority over the Coalition backbench after a fiery meeting on the subject of energy policy and climate change.

"Our job as a government is to deliver and to lead, and I have provided decisive leadership on energy," Turnbull said.

Earlier the prime minister took time to attack "one liners and glibness", which may be seen as a nod to former prime minister Tony Abbott's recent intervention in the debate about the government's plans to impose a Clean Energy Target (CET) on the power sector.

"Let me tell you, glib answers and one liners have been of no assistance in keeping Australians' energy secure and affordable," he said. "What Australians need is wise leadership, not glib leadership."

Turnbull is fighting back after a three hour partyroom meeting on Tuesday night, where Abbott led other backbench MPs in protest over the government's own plans to reregulate the electricity sector and meet emissions targets.

Andrew Taylor / AAPIMAGE

According to The Australian, Abbott repeatedly intervened which led to Liberal MP Craig Laundy verbally shirtfronting the former prime minister.

Since last week, Abbott has been publicly slagging the idea of taking further action on bringing down emissions, suggesting that imposing a CET from 2020 would be a so-called "tax on coal".

That's despite recent economic modelling making it clear that doing nothing in the electricity sector and continuing with the policies brought in under Abbott would hurt new coal developments and push power bills up.

These events of the last few days mirror the situation facing Turnbull in 2009.

Back then, Turnbull famously stood up to those in his own party over the issue of climate change.

In late November 2009, Turnbull survived a failed leadership challenge and seven-hour Coalition partyroom meeting about climate change to assert the Coalition would continue to negotiate with the government for an emissions trading scheme.

"I am the leader," Turnbull said. "I've made the call".

It took just days for the party to again challenge Turnbull's leadership on the ETS, with Abbott emerging to win by a single vote.

Sergio Dionisio / AAPIMAGE

The emissions trading scheme collapsed, with the new Abbott-led Coalition and the Greens also moving against the Labor government policy.

Thanks for your support - sorry haven't had a chance to reply to all yr msgs. Very disappointed the ETS has been blocked in the Senate.

It was a heady time. Turnbull even penned this memorable op-ed calling Tony Abbott's "direct action" climate change policy "bullshit".

On Wednesday MPs unloaded on Abbott's latest efforts to scupper action on climate change.

"I mean it's disgraceful, just go through it again, 2013 – Tony Abbott destroyed a working carbon price, he wrecked it and now he's in the party room wrecking all this again," Labor MP Wayne Swan said, referring to Abbott's move to axe the former Labor government's carbon pricing regime.

"Every time this parliament sits down to discuss climate change, Tony Abbott comes in like a wrecking ball," Greens MP Adam Bandt said.

Mark Di Stefano is a media and politics correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Mark Di Stefano at

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