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April 23, 2021

Carbon tax likely to be scrapped in days

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The Greens suggested the change of heart could be linked to negotiations with PUP leader Clive Palmer over his call for an emissions trading scheme to be established. AFP photo William West
The Greens suggested the change of heart could be linked to negotiations with PUP leader Clive Palmer over his call for an emissions trading scheme to be established. AFP photo William West

There was a false start, a few hurdles and a marathon debate but the government eventually got the carbon tax repeal on the agenda for the first day of the new Senate.

It means the repeal is likely to pass within days, with debate to continue on Tuesday.

The package – the government’s key priority for the new Senate – was stalled early on by senators expected to support the repeal.

Palmer United Party’s team of three, along with the Motoring Enthusiast Party’s Ricky Muir, voted with Labor and the Australian Greens to stop the government forcing an immediate vote on the repeal package.

But after a day of complex parliamentary process, the new crossbench senators eventually joined forces with the government to bring forward debate on the bills.

The government got its way after moving to suspend standing orders twice, eventually winning the crucial support of PUP and Senator Muir.

The Greens suggested the change of heart could be linked to negotiations with PUP leader Clive Palmer over his call for an emissions trading scheme to be established.

Mr Palmer wants an agreement on an ETS in return for repealing the carbon tax, but it’s not clear if this has been finalised.

The government’s tactics to bring on debate were necessary after the previous Senate voted to delay the repeal until after July 14.

‘You had your fun last month,’ Government Senate Leader Eric Abetz told opposition parties on Monday.

‘The dead hand of the old Senate reached out and attempted to control that which will happen in the new Senate.’

Labor insisted it was not trying to postpone the repeal but uphold the ‘worthy process’ of the Senate, a sentiment echoed by the Greens.

The coalition was backed by PUP’s three senators, Senator Muir, Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm and Family First’s Bob Day.

They are the same six senators expected to give the government the six votes it needs to pass the repeal.

The government wants to push through the package of bills as soon as possible, however opposition speakers and amendments mean the process could drag out for days.

 


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