National

Abbott warns of a double dissolution over carbon tax

Australians will head quickly back to the polls if the Coalition wins the next federal election but fails to persuade the Senate to repeal the carbon tax, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott warned yesterday.

A jubilant Mr Abbott said the carbon tax had played a role in the Liberal National Party's overwhelming victory at the Queensland election which saw Labor's presence in the state Parliament reduced to about seven MPs.

Outgoing Queensland premier Anna Bligh and her predecessor Peter Beattie insisted the election had been fought on state issues but both urged their interstate and federal Labor colleagues to quickly learn from the humiliating defeat.

Mr Abbott said the carbon tax had been one of the issues which had contributed to former Brisbane lord mayor Campbell Newman's election success. He said a federal Coalition government would do whatever was necessary to repeal the carbon tax, including calling a double dissolution election.

But Mr Abbott doubted a Labor opposition would ''commit suicide twice'' by supporting the tax in the Senate.

''If I'm wrong, if an incoming Coalition government can't get its carbon tax repeal legislation through the Senate, well, we will not hesitate to go to a double dissolution,'' he told Sky News.

Advertisement

Ms Bligh said the election had been fought on state issues but the results contained messages for Labor at all levels of government. ''I genuinely believe that Queenslanders went into the the ballot box yesterday with state issues on their minds. But it's equally true that there is message in this result for Labor generally and Labor at all levels of government,'' Ms Bligh said.

''We simply can't walk away from the fact that we've seen results similar to this in other states of Australia.

''It's tough times for Labor but I know that we're a party that has been through tough times before but recovered.''

A replication of the election result in federal Queensland seats would leave Labor without a single representative from the Sunshine State in the House of Representatives.

Mr Beattie said federal Labor needed a Queensland election strategy and quipped that Prime Minister Julia Gillard should buy a home in the state.

''We have to rebuild or the party can lose the election in Queensland alone,'' Mr Beattie told ABC TV's Insiders program.

''I mean we don't have a majority of seats already, and the ones we have are at risk unless we have a clear rebuilding strategy.''

The election result leaves Ms Gillard with only four Labor allies at the Council of Australian Governments.

The ACT and Northern Territory Labor governments face elections this year while the South Australian and Tasmanian Labor administrations are due to go to the polls in 2014.

Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the Commonwealth would be pleased to work constructively with Mr Newman.

But Mr Beattie predicted that Mr Newman would work with his Coalition colleagues from NSW, Victoria and Western Australia to oppose the mining tax, carbon tax and other issues championed by the federal Labor government.