Carbon tax revisited in final Senate week
It may by the current Senate’s final hurrah, as its sits for one last week before the new senators take their place.
But even before it begins what amounts to a farewell lap, attention is focused squarely on the Senate that will replace it.
The Abbott government will on Monday reintroduce its carbon tax repeal laws into the parliament, in readiness for the new, more conservative upper house that take effect on July 7.
The legislation has already been knocked back once by Labor and Greens in the Senate, but the host of conservative crossbenchers are expected to pass the legislation.
“This week the government will bring the carbon tax repeal bills back to Parliament to get rid of this dodgy tax once and for all,” Environment Minister Greg Hunt says.
While signature policies such as the carbon tax are expected to be waved through by the likes of the Palmer United Party, others such as the GP co-payment face continued resistance.
Assistant infrastructure minister Jamie Briggs is confident the new senators can be talked into supporting the co-payment and reform of universities fees – two changes opposed by the PUP.
“I’m not at all sure that the positions some of the new senators have outlined will necessarily be their position in a month’s time,” Mr Briggs told Sky News on Sunday.
“When they’re in Canberra and they’ve had the discussions with the relevant ministers … I’m very confident people will understand this is the right direction.”
Environmentalists also had their minds turned to July 7, with the Climate Institute bringing two life-size dinosaur replicas to Parliament House in a last-ditch attempt to save the carbon tax.
“There are dinosaurs in politics and business who want to hold back progress,” chief executive John Connor told reporters.
“This is an appeal to all parliamentarians, particularly the new senators, not to be rushed into a vote literally when they haven’t even got their feet under their desks in parliament.”
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the carbon tax was bad for jobs, hurt families and didn’t help the environment.
Scrapping the tax would save the typical household $550 a year, with electricity prices to be about nine per cent lower, he said.
“It’s time to end this bad tax and to terminate Labor’s failed carbon tax experiment,” Mr Abbott said in a statement on Sunday.