'Bring it on': Scott Ludlam's double dissolution dare
Greens senator dares the government to call an election, after the Senate defeated a bill to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation for a second time.PT1M22S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3ad5k 620 349 June 18, 2014
Labor and the Greens have challenged the government to call a double dissolution election after the Senate defeated a bill to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation for a second time.
The Senate voted down the bill on Wednesday 35 votes to 28, with the opposition, Greens and Independent senator Nick Xenophon all opposed to the scrapping of the profitable $10 billion corporation, which invests in renewable energy technology.
Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has challenged Prime Minister Tony Abbott to call a double dissolution election. Photo: Andrew Meares
Rejection of the bill for a second time sets up the government's first trigger for a double-dissolution election.
But Treasurer Joe Hockey has instead lashed out at Labor and the Greens for ''defying'' the judgment made by voters at the last election and said the government would introduce the repeal bill for a third time next week.
Greens Senator Scott Ludlam threw down the challenge in the Senate on Wednesday, calling on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to call an early election on climate change policy.
''Prime Minister Abbott if you really believe that this is absolute crap and that the Clean Energy Act is going to wipe Whyalla off the map, how’s that working out?'' he said.
''If you really believe that renewable energy can't deliver, then here is the double dissolution election trigger you’ve been waiting for.
''The world is starting to move, in fact parts of the world are well ahead of Australia, we’re lagging and the hour is late, so if its an election you want then bring it on.
The CEFC was established by the Gillard government to invest in clean energy projects.
Labor has said the CEFC has returned about $200 million to the budget.
A bill to abolish the corporation is one of 11 the government is bringing to the federal parliament to dismantle the carbon tax and the climate policies of the previous government.
Mr Hockey said on Wednesday that Labor had ''again joined ranks with the Greens'' to reject the will of voters.
He said the government had taken both the abolition of the carbon tax and the CEFC to the 2013 election and ''this mandate has now been ignored by Labor and the Greens twice''.
''The government does not believe it is appropriate to keep borrowing money to underwrite a $10 billion taxpayer funded bank that cherry picks investments in direct competition with the private sector,'' Mr Hockey said.
''Australia does not have a good history with government owned banks.
''The government will reintroduce a bill to abolish the CEFC next week.''
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Australians would prefer to see Mr Abbott keep the budget promises he made before the election and dared him to pull the trigger on a double dissolution election.
''Tony Abbott is all talk - if he wants an election, he should bring it on,'' Mr Shorten said.
''He won't even talk to people in the street about how much this budget is hurting them, let alone face their anger at the ballot box.''
Greens Leader Christine Milne said it was time for Mr Abbott to ''give up'' and accept that the CEFC was a profitable institution that should stay or he should call an election on renewable energy.
''The CEFC is creating jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency, reducing Australia's pollution and returning money to the budget. What's not to like?'' she said.
''The Abbott government has admitted the CEFC is profitable, but they're so driven by ideology that they want to wipe their hands of it and sell it off.''
Labor Senator Louise Pratt said: ''The abolition Bills in front of us today are nothing more than a misguided ideological position of a seriously misguided government.
''The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has been and should continue to be a clear success in driving investment, reducing carbon pollution and boosting the government bottom line.''