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Carbon tax repeal set to go through new Senate, but Abbott government faces fight to abolish Clean Energy Finance Corporation

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Negotiating the budget

Senate numbers are finely balanced and DLP Senator John Madigan has warned the Government he won't be taken for a fool. Analysis with Chris Hammer and Fairfax political correspondent James Massola.

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Clive Palmer is set to agree to the repeal of the carbon tax but the government may face a fight to abolish related elements of Labor's clean energy package, with crossbench support for retaining the profit-making Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Mr Palmer and the three Palmer United senators-elect are due to announce a final position on the carbon tax repeal package on Wednesday at 5.30pm. 

Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer speaks with Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. Mr Palmer's senators are set to approve the Abbott Government's bills to repeal to carbon tax.

Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer speaks with Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. Mr Palmer's senators are set to approve the Abbott Government's bills to repeal to carbon tax. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

''Wednesday night we'll have an announcement to make on what we think is a solution for Australia and the world,'' Mr Palmer told the ABC.

''It's going to be a very exciting time I think.''

Fairfax Media understands the PUP bloc will give their blessing to the Abbott government's plan to legislate the carbon and mining taxes out of existence in return for agreements around savings being passed back to energy consumers.

Mr Palmer is also likely to seek financial concessions for veterans as part of the price for his support.

The PUP group, along with its ally Ricky Muir of the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party, Democratic Labour Party Senator John Madigan and the South Australian independent Nick Xenophon are looking closely at the merits of renewable energy.

There would be enough support for the government to abolish the 20 per cent Renewable Energy Target, despite figures showing consumers would be better off the target was kept, but the CEFC, which has turned a $200 million profit on investing in renewable energy projects, is likely to be retained on current numbers.

Senator Xenophon stated his support for the CEFC in a speech in the Senate last week.

The only votes the government can rely on to kill the CEFC is NSW senator-elect David Leyonhjelm and Bob Day of Family First.

Mr Muir, who will vote against the carbon tax, is said to be ''very interested in issues around renewable energy''.

Glenn Druery, an adviser to Mr Muir, said the Victorian senator-elect would make no final decisions until after a briefing with government next week.

''In my opinion, Ricky's vote may not be crucial on the carbon tax but he is leaning towards voting against it,'' he said. ''It is likely his vote will be important on certain aspects of the clean energy package like the Clean Energy Finance Corp,'' he said.

The government is preparing for protracted negotiations, warning the new crossbench senators on Tuesday that they may be kept in Canberra until the government gets the result it wants.

Coalition leader in the Senate, Eric Abetz, has written to senators-elect flagging that the fortnight of sitting days from July 7 could be expanded to deal with its most important package of bills.

''I flag to you that to ensure passage of this legislation, the government may move to sit on additional days,'' the letter from Senator Abetz states.

One incoming senator said: ''The message seems to be that we will keep you voting until you get it right.''

The government has already injected an extra fortnight into Parliament's sitting schedule so that it can deal with Prime Minister Tony Abbott's ''pledge in blood'' to axe the carbon tax.

Senator Abetz said: "Private correspondence between myself and other Senators will remain private. The normal practice is that the agenda in the Senate is set by the government."

Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Penny Wong, said Senator Abetz could not add sitting days at a stroke of his pen.

''I'm surprised he is threatening, rather than talking, to crossbench Senators. Any extension of hours is a matter for the Senate, not Senator Abetz,'' she said.

The government gagged debate on the carbon tax repeal bills in order to rush them through the House of Representatives and have them ready to be considered by the Senate from July 7.

Incoming senators, who cannot pay staff until July 1, will also have to deliver inaugural speeches as well as understand the repeal legislation.

Senator Nick Xenophon said it was an unreasonable time frame for such an important vote and it was his preference to delay.
NSW senator-elect David Leyonhjelm, of the Liberal Democratic Party, said he was ready to vote to end both taxes.

''The carbon tax and the mining tax I feel comfortable about dealing with,'' he said.

Bob Day of Family First, representing South Australia, has pledged to vote with Mr Leyonhjelm on economic issues such as the tax repeal.

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118 comments

  • Wow - Clive and SHY in the same room together. Beyond pleasantries, what do you think was said?

    Commenter
    JTHooker
    Location
    Melbs
    Date and time
    June 25, 2014, 12:29PM
    • Not unexpected. Now you have the 'lets pay people who are doing nothing and are not going to do anything' party versus 'everyone else'. Bring it on!

      Commenter
      SimpleLan
      Date and time
      June 25, 2014, 12:46PM
    • @n SimpleLan, I would prefer a dozen parties who actually represent everyone. In that kind of environment there would be huge contributions from all sides and acceptance of other people's ideas, rather than the insipidly stupid two party system we have now.

      That is true democracy. Small parties representing various people. Not two opposing parties because there are virtually no ongoing problems in your life that will ever have such extremes. Everything is varied based on numerous variables.

      Especially when the LNP (which is actually two parties in itself and is completely disingenuous in terms of party solidarity) is now leaning so far right that we no longer have a minister for science, we are crushing the CSIRO - which by the way, holds the patent for WiFi - we have $250 million for dimwitted bible bashers in schools but we can't afford $100 million for seriously minded scientists who actually make us money through research and patents.

      Us.

      The people of Australia.

      Versus the Catholic church, which pays no tax, holds huge amounts of land wealth, abuses children and hides it, then pays for silence, and this is where our illustrious leader chooses to spend our cash. Our cash. Not his. Ours. On moral teachings from a morally bankrupt institution instead of a nationally owned research centre that delivers outcomes.

      Commenter
      JoBlo
      Location
      Here
      Date and time
      June 25, 2014, 1:40PM
    • I too have been canvassing Clive to consider a realistic Green policy so as Greens followers have more realistic things to aim for, and no doubt Clive will add further to any initial policies. Even Abbott yesterday conceded that at least Clive has ideas unlike the other two. So as a federal level PUP, I eagerly await such policy announcement to judge with scrutiny.

      Commenter
      Brian Woods
      Location
      Glenroy
      Date and time
      June 25, 2014, 1:42PM
    • @SimpleLan: Please explain what you comment has to do with the carbon tax.

      Commenter
      Atticus Dogsbody
      Location
      Melb.
      Date and time
      June 25, 2014, 2:04PM
    • I reckon it went like this JT;
      SHY: So Clive got any idea's we already voted against all of ours.

      CLIVE: Frankly my dear I don't give a damn.

      SHY: Oh fiddlededee but tomorrow is another day.

      Commenter
      GD
      Location
      Kogarah
      Date and time
      June 25, 2014, 2:12PM
    • People need to evaluate Clive on merits, he realises humans only create 3% of carbon footprint and nature 97%, also aware any green measures have to have a big overall reduction / impact. A potential of attracting the green votes in fact. Likewise time to build on green policies as time goes by. I do not follow PUP like a sheep, I am very critical and scrutinise everything and raise concerns direct if I feel something isn't right or could be better. And federal-wise I feel PUP has done well so far.

      Commenter
      Brian Woods
      Location
      Glenroy
      Date and time
      June 25, 2014, 2:54PM
    • I'm soooo looking forward to the end of the carbon tax. Mr Abbott has a much better Direct Action plan. We pay polluters directly to reduce pollution. Simple. Maybe we should pay criminals to reduce their level of crime as well. It makes perfect sense. Maybe if we pay spin doctors more they will reduce their level of spin. We can only hope.

      Commenter
      Born Yesterday
      Date and time
      June 25, 2014, 3:12PM
    • @Brian Woods The CO2 that nature emits (from the ocean and vegetation) is balanced by natural absorptions (by the ocean and vegetation). Therefore human emissions upset the natural balance, rising CO2 to levels not seen in at least 800,000 years.

      Commenter
      FOP
      Date and time
      June 25, 2014, 3:33PM
    • What people forget is that the Direct Action plan VOLUNTARY and is not LAW, unlike the carbon tax.

      Commenter
      Pat
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      June 25, 2014, 3:35PM

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