Hume MP Angus Taylor has defended his role in this year's toppling of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the government's approach to climate change and the energy sector.
Mr Taylor was among nine MPs who initially moved to replace Mr Turnbull with Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton. He has since placed his support behind successful Prime Ministerial nominee, Scott Morrison.
"Malcolm called the spill and the rest is history," Mr Taylor said when asked why the move was necessary.
"I firmly believe we needed a leader focused on the needs of people in regional Australia and very focused on middle Australia, getting the infrastructure and investment we need and deserve and continuing to make sure we grow and prosper.
"I believe Scott is a brilliant advocate on all of those issues."
But Mr Taylor would not say specifically that Mr Turnbull did not advocate on these issues, only that Mr Morrison was "strongly aligned" with where the Hume MP wanted the party to be.
He has drawn criticism in some quarters for his and the party right's role in the coup. Asked whether he had received backlash from the electorate, Mr Taylor said he'd only received "overwhelmingly positive feedback" to Mr Morrison's elevation.
"There will always be a range of views but my role is to judge where people are at. We are in a region that is doing very, very well. Not everything is perfect but we have investment in infrastructure that we've never seen before," he said.
"What's crucial now is that we knuckle down and focus on people and Scott is showing extraordinary leadership in that regard."
Mr Taylor has also defended the splitting of the environment and energy portfolios and argued that contrary to some commentary, the government did have a coherent energy policy.
He said he has argued for some time that the government needed to focus on reducing electricity prices given changes in the system.
The now Energy Minister said this was an enormous challenge and countered opinion that the government would do this at the expense of renewable sources.
"I'm very confident we'll reach our 2030 emission reduction target early in the 2020s. It means we can stay sharply focused on the electricity sector and keeping prices down and the lights on. That will be challenging as more and more of generation is intermittent and relies on the sun shining and the wind blowing," Mr Taylor said.
While he believed "middle Australia" wanted lower electricity prices, he said renewable energy would play a big role with a $15 billion investment in the next two to three years, taking its make-up in the sector from nine per cent to 23pc.
"That investment is unprecedented and it's happening right now because of natural technology gain and market forces," he said.
"Subsidies are playing much less of a role. We need to get the balance right and make sure we have back-up supply when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow because not having that is how we ended up with some of the highest electricity prices in the world."
Asked whether this meant more coal-fired power stations, Mr Taylor reiterated his view that balance was essential.
Hume contenders, including The Greens’ Dr Saan Ecker are seizing on the energy debate, claiming Mr Taylor is out of step with his electorate's views on climate change and the role of renewables.
But Mr Taylor said he was not concerned about candidates campaigning on this issue because Australia would reach its emissions targets "in a canter." He argued voters would judge him on his record and he'd continue to work hard on jobs, cost of living issues and infrastructure.
"I'm passionate about the region and I'd like to have the opportunity to serve another term," he said.
On Liberal MP Julia Banks' decision to leave the Liberal Party and sit as an independent on the cross bench, Mr Taylor said he was disappointed but she would have to explain her call to voters who supported her.
Ms Banks made a parting shot, saying the Liberal Party's treatment of women was years behind the business world's and there had been a "blinkered rejection of quotas and support of the merit myth."
Mr Taylor would not commit to quotas but said support and mentoring was the best way to attract and keep women in Parliament.
Meantime, the MP has shifted his office into a different part of the AMP building in Auburn Street.
He told The Post this was due to structural changes needed that “were not going to be in keeping with the heritage features of the old office.”
But he said Goulburn would remain the largest office with the most staff in his electorate. Mr Taylor also has an office in Camden which he established before the 2016 election.