Carbon tax to be abolished
The Liberal government strikes a deal with the Palmer United Party senators that should see the Carbon tax repeal pass the Senate.PT1M39S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3bx5b 620 349 July 14, 2014
The carbon tax repeal is set to finally pass as soon as Tuesday after the House of Representatives voted in favour of the bills for a third time on Monday evening.
The Abbott government suspended standing orders on Monday to reintroduce the bills, which were unexpectedly defeated in the Senate last week after the Palmer United Party withdrew its support for the abolition.
Leader of the house Christopher Pyne and Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
In a lively speech in the lower house on Monday, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten lashed out at Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who he said would be “remembered as an environmental vandal”.
The bills, which would scrap the price on carbon introduced by Labor, are now set to face the Senate again, where they are expected to pass with the support of PUP senators. After the government's legislation has twice been blocked in the upper house, PUP leader Clive Palmer indicated on Monday that his party would back the repeal, allowing it to pass the Senate as early as Tuesday morning.
The deal that won the support of the PUP includes limiting tough penalties Mr Palmer had sought for businesses that fail to pass on savings to consumers to major electricity and gas generators and large scale importers of synthetic greenhouse gas.
Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer shakes hands with leader of the house Christopher Pyne after speaking on the carbon tax in the House of Representatives on Monday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
There was confusion last week after the PUP and the government were unable to clarify whether the penalties would also apply to a much wider range of businesses, including airlines such as Qantas and large supermarket chains including Woolworths and Coles.
The revised Palmer amendment was not presented to the Parliament on Monday morning, but was circulated later on Monday.
Speaking in the House of Representatives as he presented the bills for a third time, Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the Australian people were “waiting on their members and senators to honour their commitment” to repeal the carbon tax.
He said Australians had already voted on the carbon tax repeal bill.
"The Australian people voted in the most express, clear and absolute way to ensure that they did not have and would not have a carbon tax and they would have a government which would take real measures to reduce emissions without a carbon tax," Mr Hunt said.
Speaking during the debate in the lower house, PUP leader Clive Palmer said his party would vote to abolish the tax in the Senate now that its amendments were in place.
''It's not the Labor way or the Liberal way, it's the right way that's important for Australia and the world,'' he told Parliament
But the government came under fire from Labor for last week's chaos, which saw the Senate debating the repeal bills while government senators frantically tried to negotiate with Palmer United Leader Clive Palmer over his eleventh hour amendments.
Mr Shorten said Mr Abbott was “no leader” and Labor would not let Australia become the first country in the world to abolish a price on carbon without a struggle.
"He is incapable of identifying the risks and costs of inaction,” Mr Shorten said.
"He is sleepwalking his way into a major climate policy disaster, a disaster for the Australian economy and for our environment, a disaster that guarantees that forever Tony Abbott will be remembered as an environmental vandal.”
Labor's environment spokesperson Mark Butler said the government “could not organise a pig to be dirty” and called Mr Abbott “incapable” of sensible negotiations with the new crossbench senators.
Labor said it would oppose a gag motion moved by the government because the Parliament was being asked to vote when it was still waiting to see the new Palmer amendments.