Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack's intervention to set up an argument over agriculture and the Morrison government's hypothetical zero net emissions 2050 target is symbolic of all that's wrong with the Nationals' claim to represent regional Australians.
The fact is that the National Farmers Federation and all its state branches support a target of zero net emissions by 2050. Meat and Livestock Australia support carbon neutrality by 2030.
Why? Because they, like most regional Australians, know that it is in their long-term economic interests to do so.
Regional Australians see the effects of climate change all around us.
We are already engaged at the business, community and local government level in reducing emissions and increasing our reliance on renewable energy.
The reality is the only people in regional Australia the Nationals can claim to represent is themselves.
So desperate are they to hold onto their declining influence within the government, and so desperate is the Deputy PM to cling to his job, that again they are resorting to the nonsense chest-beating which previously included the claim that action on climate change would lead to Whyalla being wiped off the map and Barnaby Joyce telling us Sunday lamb roasts would cost $100.
Times are a-changing, but the Nationals are stuck with an outdated and unrealistic view of our regions.
Regions are ready for change. Much has been said about the success of regional Australia during the pandemic.
COVID-19 cases have been kept low, and the largely regional-based mining and agriculture sectors have underpinned the economy.
Many have enjoyed the opportunity to base ourselves in our hometowns and discovered that working from home and connecting with people around Australia and the world is possible, as long as you aren't saddled with the Coalition's inferior NBN.
Recent ABS figures show that domestic migration to our regions increased during the pandemic, with a record 11,200 Australians moving out of the capital cities during July, August and September last year.
The influx to our regions has seen strong recovery and demand in the housing sector as many seek to take advantage of affordable housing and better lifestyles.
But scratch the surface and a patchier and more complex picture emerges. The success or otherwise of our regions has always been highly dependent on the make-up of our local economies.
Through the pandemic, regions with local economies centred on mining or agriculture have maintained their strength, while those dependent on retail or tourism have been smashed.
There are many reasons to look hopefully at the prospects of a regional recovery, but it cannot be taken for granted and it won't happen without a deliberate plan to ensure no region gets left behind.
It is hard to think that a party that has presided over the sport rorts, and dodgy Western Sydney airport land deals; excluded NSW's fire-ravaged south coast and Blue Mountains from regional recovery funding; and used the community support grants and drought funding as its own personal re-election fund is up to the task.
It seems even more unlikely the Nationals will be prepared to stand up and advocate for those regional communities reliant on tourism, hospitality and retail as JobKeeper and JobSeeker is withdrawn next month.
Instead of motherhood statements and pork-barrelling, regional Australia needs a comprehensive plan to recover and thrive.
A plan that reflects complexity and diversity and acts as an enabler of smart regionalisation.
Depending on the region's potential, this could mean investing in tourism infrastructure, rail manufacturing, food production, increased services sectors, or energy generation.
Building the enablers of regionalisation: digital connectivity, education and workforce capacity, water infrastructure. All need significant and consistent attention, not the lottery of funding and grants we get under the Nationals.
A plan for regional Australia needs to look at how procurement policy can work for regions and leverage government spending across all levels of government for broader policy objectives.
Labor's National Rail Plan is an example, designed to leverage government investment in rail infrastructure to grow secure manufacturing jobs and build more trains in Australia.
It would be of significant benefit to regions such as Maryborough in Queensland, Newcastle and my hometown of Ballarat.
Infrastructure Australia has been exploring the possibility of creating a process for analysing regional infrastructure projects and a separate regional priority list.
This is worth supporting as regional projects, which can set up generations of growth and productivity, struggle to compete against metro infrastructure projects.
We need to look at policy areas such as improving national freight and logistics systems, coastal shipping, the future of aviation, and building renewable energy jobs, all through the prism of how they will grow long-term, secure jobs.
We are itching to contribute to the nation's post-COVID growth, just as we've done in times gone by.
But we need a government that understands the party of the member that represents a region should not determine whether you get support to recover from drought, bushfires or COVID-19.
Catherine King is federal Opposition spokeswoman for transport, infrastructure and regional development.