Palmer United Party Playing Politics
Story submitted by Eric Worrall
The Australian Abbott Government’s attempt to repeal the Carbon Tax has been defeated, for now, after senators from the Palmer United Party and the Motoring Enthusiasts Party decided to side with the opposition, to defeat the motion to repeal the tax.
According to Aussie Mining Magnate Clive Palmer, leader of the Palmer United Party, his party decided to oppose the bill, because of the late circulation of an amendment which he had demanded, to ensure all savings yielded by the repeal were passed on to consumers.
“When you give an amendment it normally goes to the clerk’s office by 8.30am and then it’s circulated. So our amendment didn’t do that,’’ Mr Palmer said this morning.
“Our senators went into the Senate thinking that our draft had been circulated when they hadn’t been, and they then brought on the … guillotine and then our senators would have sat in the Senate and voted on the amendment they thought was circulated, which they hadn’t circulated, and then they thought they would have had that conned.”
The Palmer amendment has drawn criticism from Libertarian senator David Leyonhjelm, of the Liberal Democratic Party, who warned he might vote against the Palmer United amendments, because they were “very proscriptive”.
Clive Palmer produced consternation a few weeks ago, when he appeared on stage with former US Vice President Al Gore, after apparently softening his opposition to Carbon pricing.
This crisis is a real popcorn moment for Aussie Politics. The Abbott Government is apparently going to have another attempt to pass the repeal next week. But if the attempted repeal fails, it is within the government’s power to demand a “double dissolution” – an Australian constitutional mechanism, by which a government deadlock can be broken by calling an immediate election, in which all senators and members of the Federal House of Representatives would have to face the voters.
One of Abbott’s key election promises is to repeal the Carbon Tax, so he will lose significant credibility if he fails.
Yet at the same time, the Abbott government has lost some popularity, as Australians worry about the impact on jobs of Abbott’s attempts to reign in the Federal deficit, by cutting spending and government services.
A Double Dissolution would be a significant risk for Abbott, and might even result in his party losing control of the Australian House of Representatives.