Aussie Carbon Tax Repeal Defeated – For Now

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”.

Source:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/policy/senate-defeats-carbon-tax-repeal-bills-but-government-will-try-again/story-e6frg6xf-1226984035487
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.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/06/26/al-gore-gets-fooled-at-a-press-conference-down-under-calling-for-end-of-the-carbon-tax/
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.

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51 thoughts on “Aussie Carbon Tax Repeal Defeated – For Now

  1. ‘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.’

    In the UK, the Labour opposition predicted high unemployment because of proposed cuts to government spending, while the government said it would lead to the creation of more jobs in the private sector than were lost in the public. The government were proved correct, so Australians should follow the lead and get the axe out.

  2. There were indications a few days back that Palmer wanted an Emissions Trading Scheme as part of some sort of deal making. Has that been taken off the table? Regardless, what a grubby individual he appears to be.

  3. Bloke down the pub says:
    July 10, 2014 at 4:01 am

    If only the media could get to grips with that reality. From the way the BBC spins it you’d think there’d been some sort of jobs apocalypse.

  4. Must also be remembered that Clive Palmer gains $6million per year from the abolition of the Carbon Tax in Australia. He is just playing populous politics whilst feathering his own nest

  5. has there ever been an example of tax repeal without blood in the street?
    they wouldn’t let al gore run anything in the states; so how come he calls the tune down under?

  6. Clive Palmer appears to be something of a disturbed individual (claiming Rupert Murdoch’s ex-wife is a Chinese spy, for instance). What’s bizarre is that people actually voted for this bloke. Worse, they voted members of his cobbled-together party into the Senate. Jacquie Lambie, from Tasmania, so far is appearing as disturbed as her dear leader. Worrying times in Australian politics.

  7. But if the attempted repeal fails, it is within the government’s power to demand a “double dissolution”

    Only if the attempt contains no new amendments. Mr Palmer is presently unable to repeat the investment he made in last years election campaign should a double dissolution election be called.

  8. Your democracy is not working when political parties are named after people and other parties are named “Motoring Enthusiasts”.

    At least the Rhinoceros Party from Canada made more sense when it was around. Like their plan to phase-in driving on the left side of the road; starting with large transport trucks in year one, other trucks in year two, small cars in year three, VW beetles in year four.

    • Our democracy is working just fine, thanks. Better than many others, I’d say. Palmer and PUP is a mere blip on the historical radar. As for the microparties, they have only really come into prominence at this election and will most likely also be consigned to the dustbin of history with Senate voting reform.

  9. Presumably this makes Palmer a favourite for the Nobel Peace Prize, a hero of the Australian Establishment and a darling of the Loony Left.

  10. Abbot should call a double dissolution and call a new election.. This wau PUP will be erased from Australian History. Abbbot would winn by a landslide me suspects. LOL

  11. Clive Palmer is a billionaire miner. He was elected to parliament on preference votes from the Greens and Labor (that’s Labor = Democrats for you septics). Me? I love it. The greens voting for a planet raper just because he’s not a conservative. Climate craziness Oz style. The Greens also voted against a budget measure to increase the cost of petrol “because the extra revenue might have been spent building roads”.

  12. Clive and Al make a good pair and the folks downunder are welcome to keep them there.
    So much for ending CAGW.
    Julia’s back in office I take it.
    Not that it matters to the loonies but if you just follow the money you’ll find algore right there.
    cn

  13. Al and Clive can’t line their pockets with a tax.
    They want a Capt’n Trade.
    Now there’s some real money to be made.
    FTM
    cn

  14. If you read carefully (Australian Newspapers), Palmer is actually defending the Australian Energy consumer who has been ripped off by the Carbon Tax introduced by Labor. He definitely wants its repealed but he wants the money paid back to consumers as an absolute condition. Apparently Abbot et al have not made this condition watertight enough for Palmer. Its actually a huge win for skeptics. The tax will be repealed and thanks to Palmer there will be no ETS either. Australia will basically have abandoned AGW totally. The Gore thing was a political stunt which fooled everybody especially Gore.

  15. Not sure why this story has made it here – not worth it.

    This is Palmer’s play for the consumer; he shows he is looking after them and is independent of the major parties. The media of course are lapping it up as some great story.

    He is media smart and gets more attention than the Opposition leader. He has embellished the issue beyond recognition – with qualifications like “as far as I know it” and the like. Of course he knows and the media keep the story going.

    Reality is that although the amendments were accepted by the Govt it had to be withdrawn from the Upper House vote on constitutional grounds. It needs to be passed by the Lower House first and then submitted to the Upper House. Guess what? It will pass next week and Palmer will have basked in more media glory.

    He toys with them all – Govt, media and Opposition. There won’t be any double dissolution of the houses.

  16. @Eliza says:
    July 10, 2014 at 6:20 am
    ‘Palmer is actually defending the Australian Energy consumer who has been ripped off by the Carbon Tax introduced by Labor. He definitely wants its repealed but he wants the money paid back to consumers as an absolute condition’
    Eliza,don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers.Palmer couldn’t care less about the Australian energy consumer or any other consumer,he is as grossly repugnant as Algore,if that’s possible,and has some serious questions to answer about what he has been doing with his chinese partner’s money.

  17. “One of Abbott’s key election promises is to repeal the Carbon Tax, so he will lose significant credibility if he fails.”

    Well he won’t lose credibility if he tries to put it through and fails because the electorate failed to give him a clear majority to make it happen.

    However, it looks like Abbot is playing politics with gillotining the bill and not circulating Palmer’s amendment, presumably hoping no one would realise until it was too late.

    Not smart when you’re one or two votes clear of pushing a bill through and counting minority players to stay on side.

  18. I read WUWT everyday, usually more then once. I also frequent various Australian blogs. Not just Jo Nova but also Andrew Bolt and others. Reading through the comments above I am shocked at how many of the regular commenters on the Aussie blogs obviously read WUWT. I recognize their names. I’m talking political blog commenters, not Jo Nova commenters.

  19. It’s hard to understand Australian politics. The left is tossed out for being too socialist. The right is voted in to cut down on government spending and reduce taxes. The right fails to circulate an amendment to return all future savings from a repealed carbon tax to the people and thereby loses the motion to repeal the carbon tax. This all comes about from lack of support from another right-wing party led by a mining baron who is in love with Al Gore but hates the carbon tax.

    Lovely place Australia, but I wouldn’t want to vote there.

  20. Clive is walking a very fine line
    He has openly admitted using funds for his electoral campaigns, that were set aside by the chinese as a development fund for the operation of a port.

    In common parlance – he missapropriated these funds to buy his way into office.

    The chinese have him tied up in federal court seeking answers.

    I suspect they will prosecute a charge, if they can!

  21. HaryG says:
    July 10, 2014 at 4:06 am

    Clive Palmer is an embarrassment to most Australians

    …Politicians are an embarrassment to humanity. :)

  22. “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.”

    Is he suggesting that they would actually read it before they vote on it?

    That would never work in Pelosi’s House.

    /grin

  23. @Col Mosby
    “If your economy depends upon govt spending for jobs, you [are] in big ass trouble.”

    I don’t know if I have ever seen my core economic belief so accurately and succinctly stated.

  24. Peer reviewed science has now proven, that the US has become an oligarchy:

    “Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. ”

    http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746

    With catastrophic consequences for the American middle class and people all over the world, particularly in Kosovo, Irak, Libya, Syria, Ukraine just to mention a few.

    Australia appears to be in the same boat.

    To restore democracy, billionaires have to be expropriated. Elegantly, this would also solve the debt crisis.

  25. 11 July: Courier Mail: Dennis Atkins: Party Games: Greens leader Christine Milne only sane voice in Senate three-ring circus
    YOU know you’re in trouble when the only person making sense is the leader of the Greens…
    The other eyebrow raiser Milne singled out was the role of Ben Oquist, a Bob Brown (Greens Party) staffer who worked for her until the election last year when he left because of “differences”, and the left-leaning Australia Institute think tank in advising and assisting Palmer on all matters carbon…

    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/party-games-greens-leader-christine-milne-only-sane-voice-in-senate-threering-circus/story-fnihsr9v-1226984915523

    The Australia Institute
    The current Executive Director is economist Richard Denniss. Denniss’s immediate predecessor was Clive Hamilton…
    The institute is considered left leaning and describes itself as “the country’s most influential progressive think tank…
    The institute is active in promoting global warming mitigation measures, and has been critical of the Australian federal government’s perceived lack of action on climate change…
    The institute has been largely funded by the Poola Foundation and the Treepot Foundation – philanthropic organisations run by the Kantors, an offshoot of Rupert Murdoch’s family.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Australia_Institute

  26. 10 July: SMH: Tony Wright: The emperor in the check shirt, Clive Palmer makes Tony Abbott wait
    He (Palmer) cocked an ear towards Ben Oquist, once a power within the Australian Greens and now a strategy director at the Australia Institute think tank and, seated at Clive’s left hand, an unlikely but well-informed well of advice on how to drive the Senate mad…

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/the-emperor-in-the-check-shirt-clive-palmer-makes-tony-abbott-wait-20140710-3bpq7.html

    (subscription required)
    11 July: Australian: David Crowe: Ben Oquist – the former Greens Svengali behind the Palmer party’s carbon tax backflip
    BEHIND the carbon tax stand-off is a former Greens adviser, Ben Oquist, who has found a way to extract some unlikely gains for environmentalists from the political confusion.
    Oquist, the former chief of staff to Greens leaders Bob Brown and Christine Milne, helped engineer events yesterday that led Clive Palmer to keep the carbon tax ­despite a public vow to repeal it…

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/policy/ben-oquist-the-former-greens-svengali-behind-the-palmer-partys-carbon-tax-backflip/story-e6frg6xf-1226984998447?nk=eb432565f62bd6e59aa0607b5bc725ca#mm-premium

  27. Palmer’s amendment was unconstitutional – all the rest is flim-flam, at which this bizarre individual excels. Money bills (which this is) have to go through the Lower House first.

    And, I agree with Senator Leyonhelm that putting the Australian Government in charge of monitoring all prices related to the Carbon Tax is lousy policy. The market will take care of price gougers soon enough.

  28. The Govt can not live out its term as a lame duck beholden to PUP. Double Dissolution ASAP is the best way IMHO. Polls will improve for Govt once an election is called and voters have stark choice – return to GreenLabor ??? or vote to reform the GreenLabor mess.

  29. @Eliza, you are right. Whatever his murky motives may be, Palmer is ensuring that the savings get passed on to the consumer.

    @Manfred, we should eat them.

    @Eric Worrall. Never touch the comma key again. The resulting sins of omission would be less severe than the sins of commission from your misuse of it.

  30. There are many problems with this article:
    – The trivial “reign in” should be “rein in”.
    Palmer is a jackass. First of all the amendment needs to be circulated by Palmer, not the government, it is his amendment. Secondly Palmer changed the original amendment to include 250% charge on any organisation that doesn’t pass on the full carbon tax reduction.
    The clerk of the Senate, doing his job, pointed out that this is unconstitutional, since it attempts to impose a tax from an amendment in the Senate. The Senate cannot propose taxes, only the House of Representatives.
    Hence Palmer’s changes were not able to be passed as they were written. Instead of admitting his stupidity, passing the repeal and getting the 250% change sent through the lower house as another bill, he lied to his Senators about being “double-crossed” by the government and got them to vote down the repeal.
    The Clerk of the Senate is an independent employee of the Senate that attempts to ensure that it operates constitutionally, it was his job to point out the flaw in the amendment and to strike it out.

  31. *sigh*

    1. @Eric Worrall: The Australian Government already has a double-dissolution trigger with previous legislation. The fate of the Carbon Tax Repeal does not affect that — it merely offers the possibility of an additional trigger, if needed. However, I don’t see that happening. The Carbon Tax is almost certainly going to be repealed next week. As Eliza has pointed out, what the Palmer United Party has been doing is to try to ensure that consumers will be properly compensated by that repeal and that companies don’t just say ‘thank you very much, that’s less tax we have to pay, but we’re not going to pass on any of those savings to our customers’. I doubt they’ll succeed, but it’s worth a try.

    2. @Bloke down the pub: The UK is not Australia. What worked in the UK is by no means guaranteed to work in Australia. Indeed, the two countries are so different in many ways, it’s not funny. For starters, Australia has a much high infrastructure cost overhead because it is a much larger (physically) country with a much lower population and hence GDP. Core government responsibilities, such as healthcare and education, are managed very differently in the two countries. You can’t extrapolate results from one country to the other with any degree of reliability.

    3. @Bill Illis: Democracy is not dependent on names. If it were, the USA conservative party wouldn’t be called Republicans, they’d be called Democrats…. Having said that, I do agree that democracy isn’t working, but that’s because politicians in Australia are not generally responsive to their constituents. They almost always vote along party lines, which means that it only requires 50%+1 of the members of whichever party has 50%+1 of the seats in the House of Representative to determine the result in that house of parliament. That is, just over 25% of the elected members decide what happens because they have a majority for their party and thus decide the policy for their party. Once that’s been decided, the rest of the party falls in line (with occasional exceptions).

    4. @Steve from Rockwood: Be careful with making judgements as to why parties are voted in or out. While both major parties like to claim mandates based on their platform, very few voters agree with all items on those platforms. Many voters will vote for whichever major party they feel is best suited for government (or, probably more commonly, voting against whichever major party they feel is least suited for government), and then vote differently in the senate to try to put a brake on excessive behavior. A reasonable number of people believe that the current government was not voted it, but rather the last government was voted out (it was pretty dysfunctional), a view reflected by the primary voting patterns from the last election (Australia’s preferential voting system allowed a voter to show their displeasure of the two major parties by voting for a minor party as their first preference, and then indicate which major party they want as their second or later preference. Since the minor parties rarely win lower house seats, the major party stlil gets the vote, but they’re effectively told that the voter doesn’t agree with everything they’ve said). As such, those voters don’t give the new government a mandate and the makeup of the senate reflects that. It could be argued that denying the current government their mandate is actually what the electorate wanted, based on how the senate votes turned out.

  32. RoHa says:
    July 10, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    @Eliza, you are right. Whatever his murky motives may be, Palmer is ensuring that the savings get passed on to the consumer.
    —————————————————————-
    How on earth could the Australian government monitor, let alone enforce, much less “ensure,” any such thing? Remember Grocerywatch? They simply couldn’t do it. And why should they?

    There are already laws about price collusion, and the punishments are severe if you are caught doing it. If an entire industry chooses not to pass on savings, that is already covered.

    Amazed that people who are smart enough to read here fall for such populist nonsense.

    Palmer is a self-interested wrecker whose integrity rivals Al Gore’s.

  33. He walked out of an ABC interview, when the reporter asked him to comment on the Chinese case for 12 million money taken to fund his political campaigns. Really, Clive, god an build another dinosaur in your theme park. Palmerzilla eh. He’s awful and embarrassing. Claiming he is a professor and fighting the Chinese too. They’ll have a field day in China over this.

  34. Graeme W
    *sigh*
    1. @Eric Worrall: The Australian Government already has a double-dissolution trigger with previous legislation. The fate of the Carbon Tax Repeal does not affect that — it merely offers the possibility of an additional trigger, if needed. However, I don’t see that happening. The Carbon Tax is almost certainly going to be repealed next week. …

    I’m aware the government already has double dissolution triggers which it could choose to use.

    I didn’t say that it needed the failure of the carbon tax repeal to facilitate the double dissolution, I said the government had the option of a double dissolution.

    … As Eliza has pointed out, what the Palmer United Party has been doing is to try to ensure that consumers will be properly compensated by that repeal and that companies don’t just say ‘thank you very much, that’s less tax we have to pay, but we’re not going to pass on any of those savings to our customers’. I doubt they’ll succeed, but it’s worth a try.

    The concept of forcing businesses to pass on carbon tax savings is utterly impractical. Attempting to enforce it will be a job destroying bureaucratic nightmare.

    For starters, you have businesses like Virgin Airlines, who claim they never put up their prices, and instead chose to “absorb” the extra costs. They will almost certainly take any attempt to force them to offer a carbon discount to court.

    Then you have 100s of thousands of small businesses, like my own. Did I put up prices to cover the minute loss from my profit which could be attributable to the carbon tax? Probably not. Will I ever be challenged on this issue? I hope not. But in theory one of my clients could demand their “carbon discount”, and force me to spend money jumping through hoops to defend my current prices.

    Palmer, with his business experience, must know that his carbon rebate is unenforceable, and a potential nightmare tangle of red tape for Australian businesses already dealing with a difficult economy. So what is he playing at? Does he really plan to pass the carbon tax repeal, or will he find a new excuse next week? Is he just grandstanding to his audience? Or does he have some other agenda?

  35. Eric, he was forced to pay $600,000,000 carbon ormining tax and I suspect that this has to do with him sueing his partner for $600,000,000 He also said many months ago, all carbon tax payments should be returned to the companies that had paid any. He’s no fool, but a dangerous person with his sycophant senators doing his bidding, when actually they should be independent.The vote was narrowly defeated, 35-37. We didn’t expect it to sail through by a large majority though. Muir had already said he would vote against it anyway. I am doubly disappointed in this and quite honestly I hope the public sees that these senators are holding the country to ransom at the behest of the leader. And the publicity it is creating for this meglomaniac.

  36. Some interesting history that just might show that Tony Abbott could have an increasing uphill battle on many fronts when it comes to this political can of worms. Malcolm Turnbull was elected leader of the conservative Liberal Party in September 2008 and had previously advocated dumping the Queen and Australian becoming a republic, this had been defeated in referendums on the issue, he was also a populist considered to be Eco friendly by many in the Greens and Labor camps then in power as the elected government. However in November 2009 it was reported that he ordered the Liberals to support the Labor governments Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (Carbon Tax) however this caused concern and a leadership challenge came about. Tony Abbott deposed Turnbull as leader by one vote and this caused great concern in the social left elements of Australian Politics particularly in Labor and the Greens.

    Tony Abbott won a landslide victory in the Australian House of Representatives after running a disciplined Campaign against a cobbled together Labor/Green/Independents alliance that the Australian voters held responsible for some of the most appalling financial mess that had seen our budgets fall into disarray after the Labor Government had inherited a budget in surplus from the previous Liberal conservatives – it is now deeply in debt and the now Abbott government in trying to rebuild the budget, impose cuts, and get the Australian economy back on track to a sustainable position is opposed by the very political parties that caused the mess in the first place and that has lead to a very personal and concentrated hate Abbot campaign lead by social campaigners, and highly organised pressure groups across the political strata. He also has to battle a media that is interested in hyping everything as his mistake indicative of a reason to foment more hate.

    Through an “unfortunate” set of circumstances part of the Senate election had to be re-run due to a parcel of votes being misplaced/lost and in the final wash-up many independents gained Senate seats in the Upper House where the former government still held a majority where Greens and Labor dominated. Unfortunately power in the Senate now rests with the independents, some controlled/funded by Clive Palmer who it is said stands to benefit in many ways by using that balance of power.

    On the 28th of May this year Malcolm Turnbull who is an inner member of the Liberal party cabinet team and one would think well versed in the Liberal strategy, Had dinner with Clive Palmer at the Wild Duck Restaurant in Canberra and also others that as reported “he just happened to bump into on the way to the Restaurant”. Treasury Secretary Dr Martin Parkinson and the Vice President of the Liberal Party Tom Harley an old political acquaintance of Mr Palmer having “known him for a number of years” these things happen you know.

    Then you have the strange spectacle of Mr Al Gore standing beside Mr Palmer, a very unlikely pair indeed, lots of speculation about who was using who as Palmer is heavily connected with Coal and other not so green projects, and then you find that this was all apparently arranged/engineered by Don Henry of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Ben Oquist now of the Australian Institute but formerly the Chief of Staff to the Greens and very active in behind the scenes political bridge making to ensure Carbon reduction/abatement schemes could be supported by other political parties. Also involved in the unusual coming together of strategic opportunity was the staffer of Tony Windsor, one of the independents who propped up the Gillard and Rudd governments in their dying throes and far to long in the opinion of voters, who gave Abbott the thumbs up and an Electoral mandate to bring in the policies they announced and took to the election.

    This scenario has all the hallmarks of a Hollywood political epic, alliance between the good and bad, powerful people, ambition, treachery, plus follow the money. So for Tony, he has formidable forces to contend with and it will be interesting to see how this unfolds, but if I was Tony I would make sure that I kept my strategy to a few close trusted advisers just in case the Cabinet leaks!

    But then you would have to wonder who would gain from – Oh damn just follow the money!

  37. I have to go, but if this country seems to admire an outspoken, libelous, obnoxious man who has no place in government although he did once announce that he would one day be prime minister.GHU!

  38. Eric Worrall says:
    July 10, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    The concept of forcing businesses to pass on carbon tax savings is utterly impractical. Attempting to enforce it will be a job destroying bureaucratic nightmare.

    For starters, you have businesses like Virgin Airlines, who claim they never put up their prices, and instead chose to “absorb” the extra costs. They will almost certainly take any attempt to force them to offer a carbon discount to court.

    Then you have 100s of thousands of small businesses, like my own. Did I put up prices to cover the minute loss from my profit which could be attributable to the carbon tax? Probably not. Will I ever be challenged on this issue? I hope not. But in theory one of my clients could demand their “carbon discount”, and force me to spend money jumping through hoops to defend my current prices.

    Firstly, you correctly didn’t say that the government didn’t have an existing double dissolution trigger, but someone who wasn’t aware of that would’ve gotten the impression that there wasn’t one from your original article. It was a clarification for those who weren’t aware that the government can call a double dissolution election at any time — it doesn’t matter what happens next week.

    The reason for my quoting part of your post above is that it runs contrary to what the government is saying. The government is claiming that the Carbon Tax is a massive burden to the Australian taxpayer; that it’s job killing.

    Your statement is that the impact was a “minute loss from my profit”. This, by the way, agrees with what most economists have reported — that the Carbon Tax has not had a significant impact on the Australian economy. It had an impact, but not much of one. The doom stories told didn’t eventuate (funny, that reminds me of Bloke down the pub’s comment at the start of this thread). The government, however, has a vested interest in trying to convince people it did.

    Tony Abbott claims to have a mandate to remove the Carbon Tax. Part of that claim is that it’s costing Australians $550 per year (the actual details depends on who is saying it. The statement from the Environment Minister is much more nuanced than the statement from the Prime Minister).

    What is happening is that someone is trying to hold his government to that statement; that repealing the tax will result in a saving to Australians of $550 per year. Personally, I believe that claim is rubbish and while I believe the Carbon Tax is a waste of time when it comes to having any impact on the climate, it’s also extra money for the government when there is claimed to be a debt crisis. The government can’t have it both ways — if there’s a debt crisis, keep this tax that is having a minimal impact on the economy. If the tax is not having a minimal impact on the economy, then why shouldn’t there be protections to ensure that the savings from removing the tax are returned to the taxpayers?

    The Carbon Tax is an emotional and political issue. It’s not a significant financial or economic one. It’s definitely not a climatic one.

    Just my personal opinion. :)

  39. Graeme W
    Firstly, you correctly didn’t say that the government didn’t have an existing double dissolution trigger, but someone who wasn’t aware of that would’ve gotten the impression that there wasn’t one from your original article. …

    I didn’t feel explaining the full ins and outs of a double dissolution was relevant – the fact it is an option in this case is what I wanted to convey.

    … The government is claiming that the Carbon Tax is a massive burden to the Australian taxpayer; that it’s job killing. Your statement is that the impact was a “minute loss from my profit”. This, by the way, agrees with what most economists have reported — that the Carbon Tax has not had a significant impact on the Australian economy. It had an impact, but not much of one. …

    That rather depends on how energy intensive your business is. Our business isn’t particularly energy intensive, but my wife and I run a service business, not a steel mill.

    The net effect of the carbon tax is to increase the incentive for companies to offshore production, something which is already an issue for Australia, without deliberately adding to the reasons for companies to leave. It also impacts agriculture, which through use of energy intensive inputs such as fertiliser is potentially adversely affected. So in a macroeconomic sense, the carbon tax is probably quite damaging. If you are interested in the Australian economy being more than a place where people dig stuff out of the ground, removing obstacles to value added economic activity, like the carbon tax, is a good thing.

    … The government can’t have it both ways — if there’s a debt crisis, keep this tax that is having a minimal impact on the economy.

    The carbon tax is a tax on jobs – its a tax on manufacturing, which impacts most strongly on energy intensive industries, which are already facing significant competition from low tax economies in Asia. Removing it makes sense.

    If the tax is not having a minimal impact on the economy, then why shouldn’t there be protections to ensure that the savings from removing the tax are returned to the taxpayers?

    Because as I pointed out, its unworkable. How can you estimate how much money a company is saving from the repeal of the carbon tax, without a deeply intrusive audit of their accounts? If upstream suppliers drop their prices, will you also have to estimate how much of that cost saving should be included in the “carbon tax” premium?

    Why should companies be forced to face a new raft of penalties, accounting responsibilities, and oversight, when they already face pressure to keep prices reasonable from normal market competition?

    It might be less of an issue for large companies, they have the capacity to absorb mindless red tape, and fight adverse carbon rebate rulings, through their economies of scale. But small businesses, the very people who are most likely to benefit from the repeal of the carbon tax, will also likely be the most adversely affected by frivolous carbon rebate lawsuits.

    … The Carbon Tax is an emotional and political issue. It’s not a significant financial or economic one. It’s definitely not a climatic one.

    The carbon tax had no effect on global temperatures and never would have. But it is a nasty intrusive damaging regressive nonsense which Australia will be better off without.

  40. I feel we’ll have to agree to disagree on the carbon tax’s impact on the economy, then. I’m going with the economists who have said it’s had a minimal impact. As an aside, my brother-in-law is a farmer, so I’m aware of the impact on the agricultural industry. He’s not concerned about that — he’s concerned about many other things, of which the current government was a big one when I visited earlier this year….

    There are a lot of other taxes that are having a bigger impact on jobs. The GST, corporate income tax, the fringe benefits tax, and personal income tax all impact on the ability for businesses to employ people. If that’s the only criteria for whether a tax should be removed, then why don’t we get rid of all of them? The reason is simple: we need to balance revenue and expenditures. The Australian population wants a certain level of expenditure (the outrage at the government’s budget cutting that level demonstrates that). To do so, the government needs to have a certain level of revenue. Cutting taxes that are having a minimal impact on the economy (as per leading economists) is certainly not a sensible way to go. The biggest impact of the carbon tax is on electricity generation…who have no overseas competitor. All that’s done is raise the price of electricity, and that in turn has driven a lot of competition that is driving down prices. A week doesn’t go by without a telemarketer ringing me to offer me yet another discount on my electricity bill.

    As for the manufacturing sector, the government has already indicated that they’re not interested in saving at least some of that sector. Their view is that those companies need to survive in the marketplace that already exists. The Prime Minister’s publicly stated view is that if manufacturing jobs are lost, those people will largely be able to find other employment. In other words, killing manufacturing doesn’t kill jobs. I think he’s wrong, but he’s the Prime Minister and that’s what he said regarding the workers in the car manufacturing industry.

    But to end with an agreement, I totally agree that the carbon tax has had no effect on global temperatures and never would have.

  41. @Graeme W says:
    July 11, 2014 at 2:30 am
    A couple of points Graeme
    ‘the outrage at the government’s budget cutting that level demonstrates that’
    What ‘outrage’?
    Do you mean the confected outrage that the green left inner city,Abbott hating media fraternity spew forth with such vicious nastiness.The majority of Aussies know we have a structural deficit that needs to be fixed.They’re also ‘outraged’ at his border protection policy which has put an end to thousands of deaths at sea.They are are also ‘outraged at his view of the climate change con as being ‘a load of bull….t.Unlike us these are sensitive ‘caring’ people who worry about the future of their children.Get the picture?
    ‘As for the manufacturing sector, the government has already indicated that they’re not interested in saving at least some of that sector’
    Where do you get this nonsense from ?So you think that he is wrong to put a stop to the billions in taxpayers money gifted to the heavily unionised car industry to produce cars that no one wants to buy and to allow the continuation of work practices that would make Tony Soprano blush?
    And last but not least
    ‘All that’s done is raise the price of electricity, and that in turn has driven a lot of competition that is driving down prices’

  42. JB Goode says:
    July 11, 2014 at 3:42 am
    I agree with you, the confected outrage is a good description. Reminds me of the “anger” among those recipients of welfare and jobs for the boys, when the Whitlam Labour government was sacked by the Governor General and that was over fiscal problems and loans.

    The militant unions are afraid of losing the advantages they got while pouring money into the labor parties funding and their funding of pressure groups like Get-up, and the most militant unions like the CFMEU are being exposed in the present hearings as blackmailing thugs.

    The greens are like a perpetual echo chamber spreading doom and gloom at every ‘moral” Abbott hating issue they can find to exploit in their biased media. In fact their confected rage reminds me of Clive Palmer reinventing himself as compassionate, a convenient almost religious conversion, a perfect political beat-up storm.

    Like the CAGW crowd they keep praying for disaster and could not care less about causing or inventing confected outrage as it is a ways and means they hope to get back in power.

    I think if and, when Abbott does pull the double dissolution trigger, the majority of Australians who really care about the country and its future will reveal the depth of their anger at the frustration of the mandate given to him to fix the whole mess last time and by again wiping out the opposition in the House of Representatives, to send the message home and of course the new Senate will also reflect this same majority.

    That may not happen of course as the Greens and Labour don’t want a repeat of the Tasmanian election wipe out and that was a greens and Labour eco stronghold that had wiped out jobs and crippled industry in that state.

    If the DD trigger is pulled those politicians know that if Palmer can hoodwink the Australian voters so don’t see through the “me good” façade that Palmer has bought/erected around him and his PUP’s, his party will rip votes from Green/Labor!!

    The DD effect focussing the attention of voters and the need to vote again to fix the mandate, will work against any Independents finding favour with the electorate. And that will be good given the weird public persona, comments and lack of good Australian nouse of SOME of the lucky dip independents that won the prize at the recent half Senate election.

  43. Eliza says:
    July 10, 2014 at 6:20 am
    If you read carefully (Australian Newspapers), Palmer is actually defending the Australian Energy consumer who has been ripped off by the Carbon Tax introduced by Labor.

    No Eliza, Palmer is manipulating the budget for his own purposes, he is a man who can give two interviews on the same day on the same subject with opposing positions. If he is asked a question he doesn’t like he threatens to sue, in short he is a self centred populist bully who plays people for fools. e.g.
    Your my favourite interviewer Tony, your the best interviewer in the world Tony, then he gets Al Gore on stage with him and claims he going to remove the carbon tax, the complete opposite of what the left wants.

  44. There is nothing more difficult than getting a government, local, state, federal to give up a tax.

  45. True dat, Tom E.

    But what is even more interesting is the forces that line up to try to prevent a government from abolishing a tax – such as the mining tax and the CO2 tax in Australia.

    The Greens and Labor never saw a tax that they didn’t like.

    All the proceeds of labour and ingenuity belong to the State – except the bits that they allow you to keep.

  46. At least this week the Carbon Tax has gone. The Mining Tax is on the way out – or is it? We shall see.

    But some clarifications are needed. For the House of Representatives ballot paper to be valid a preference must be marked against every candidate. This can give rise to some odd results, as when the Menzies Government survived due to the Communists giving their preferences to the Liberals, rather than to the ALP, in one seat. In this case, in Fairfax, the LNP candidate gained 41.32% of the vote, Palmer gained 26.49%, the ALP gained 18.24% and the Greens gained 8.33%. Four minor parties and independents gained 5.62%. The ALP and Greens voters hated Palmer less than they hated the LNP, so Palmer won the seat with a majority of 53 votes after two recounts. You may think this odd, but it tends to balance out in the long run. (Note: LNP = Liberal National Party, a Queensland organization merging the Liberal and National Parties, which are separate, but act as a coalition, in the other States.)

    Palmer wanted his amendments to the Carbon Tax Repeal Bills to include an amendment which would require all companies to reduce their prices by the amount they would save on the removal of the tax. He therefore had his amendments include such a provision, with a requirement that companies that did not pass on the reduction would have to pay the Treasury an amount equal to 250% of the amount not passed on. Fair enough, and the Liberals would have been happy with this amendment. But, under the Australian Consitution a “money bill” – one raising money – cannot originate in the Senate, and the Clerk of the Senate pointed this out. From what I understand, it was suggeseted – I don’t know by whom – this could have been avoided by inserting the word “Penalty”, which would have meant the 250% would be a ‘fine’ and not a ‘tax’. A fine (begging the pun) distinction, but that is the way it is. Palmer would not accept this, so his amendment could not be put as he wanted it, accused the Government of a “double cross” (which was nonsense) and said his senators would vote against the bill. This meant it could not pass, so rather than waste time the Government guillotined the debate, the bill was lost, and the Senate got on with other things.

    In horse-trading over the weekend, it was agreed that the Government would accept an amendment where the requirement to pay 250% of non-refunded benefits from the abolition of the tax would only apply to electricity generators and gas providers. So both the Government and Palmer got what they wanted, and the bill was then passed in the House of Reps and sent to the Senate, which duly passed it as we know, 39 to 32. Seven of the eight cross-bench MHRs voted for the repeal, the other one being absent, sick.

  47. Re a double dissolution. On current figures, when people are asked how they would vote, the government would lose heavily. When it came to actually voting, however, there could be far more support for the Government, and it might cling to office.

    In the Senate things could be even more peculiar. Depending on the amount the Government gained support, and the reasons chosing to go to a double dissolution, the Liberals could gain an outright majority, or lose heavily. A likely scenario is that the Greens would lose heavily, as while they would probably have enough support for one Senator in each state, it is plausible that they would not have sufficient support for two senators in any State. So they could be reduced from 10 Senators to 6. Interesting – the quota in a normal Senate election is 14.29%, while the quota necessary for 2 Senators in a double dissolution is 15.38%. That extra 1.1% could be very important. How would the PUP go? anything from 6 senators to none. Some of the independents might survive, perhaps even do better. But it would all depend on how badly this government was seen as compared to the last government, and if Shorten stuck to his boast about restoring the Carbon Price. (Perhaps back on track?)

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