Carbon Tax Repeal Measure Loses in Senate by 2 Votes, Abbott Government to Try Again Next Week
By Vittorio Hernandez | July 11, 2014 8:37 AM EST
Mining magnate and MP Clive Palmer continued to push his weight around the repeal of the carbon tax issue by playing kingmaker and withdrawing his party's support for the measure on Thursday. The result is the measure that Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been dying to be enacted into a law lost anew in the Senate by two votes - 37 to 35.
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) talks to a guest during a lunch meeting in Shanghai April 11, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
The previous day, it was a stalemate at 36 - 36, but the Palmer United Party tilted the votes that made the Opposition and the Greens happy despite Mr Abbott courting new crossbenchers in the Senate to pass the measure. The PM swallowed his pride and even personally met newbie Senator Jacqui Lambie, who called him a psychopath politician, just to add one more vote in favour of repealing the pet legislation of his nemesis, former PM Julia Gillard.
However, Lambi and Senators Ricky Muir, Dio Wang and Glenn Lazarus sided with the Opposition.
The government initially agreed to Palmer's demand to have strict reporting requirements and impose additional heavy penalties on businesses that fail to pass on price cuts as a result of the repeal or the carbon law. However, Palmer withdrew his support the last minute because of the belief that the hefty fines would apply only on power and gas providers.
There is some confusion even within Palmer's party since Wang said the penalties would apply to all suppliers of goods and services to consumers, but Palmer said it would only apply to the energy sector.
To support the repeal, Palmer is demanding that suppliers must produce a statement within 15 days to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on how the year-old carbon tax has affected their cost and how it was reflected in their prices.
Mr Abbott, who anticipated victory in the Senate, had boasted in a press conference on Thursday that "Today should be the day when the carbon tax is finally scrapped," unaware that Palmer just crossed benches again.
However, even UK MPs disagree with Mr Abbott's move.
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