MALCOLM Turnbull has cancelled a scheduled speech on the carbon tax, averting a public contradiction of Tony Abbott.
The former Liberal leader - a staunch carbon price supporter - was listed to speak in the parliament today on the government's carbon tax legislation, The Australian reports.
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But Mr Turnbull had his name removed from the speaker's list and his office confirmed he would not address the parliament today.
Mr Turnbull tweeted today that he was yet to make a final decision on whether he would contribute to the carbon tax debate.
"I will decide whether and if so when I speak after I have heard the other speakers and read the legislation," he said.
A spokesman for manager of opposition business Christopher Pyne said: ''The speakers’ list changes all the time.
''Members regularly swap and change on the list.''
Mr Turnbull's office said the opposition frontbencher had been mistakenly included on the list by the office of the chief opposition whip.
As a shadow cabinet member, Mr Turnbull is expected to support Coalition policy.
He has already committed to vote with the opposition on Julia Gillard's carbon tax.
But Mr Turnbull would be expected to resign from the opposition frontbench if he publically rejected Coalition policy.
Mr Turnbull has repeatedly caused anguish in Coalition ranks with his outspoken views on climate change, at times criticising his own party's "direct action" emissions reductions policies.
In July, Mr Turnbull refused to comment on the government's carbon tax proposal, saying: "The best thing that I can say is not to take a personal view and just simply say that the Coalition's policy is to be opposed to it. I'm part of the collective, I'm a member of the shadow cabinet".
He then pointed out that Mr Abbott had, prior to taking Mr Turnbull's job amid party infighting over the former Rudd government emissions trading scheme, suggested a carbon tax was potentially a good approach to reduce Australia's carbon footprint.
Read more on The Australian.