Political Chaos As Palmer United Party Votes Down Carbon Tax Repeal

It is absolute political chaos in Canberra at the moment, as the Abbott Government is quickly discovering just how fickle the newly sworn in Senate can be. Despite previously agreeing to side with the Government on the issue, the Palmer United Party-led bloc of senatorial crossbenchers instead made a dramatic about-face and sided with Labor and the Greens, defeating the Government’s third attempt to push the repeal legislation through Parliament.

PUP leader Clive Palmer had previously committed to voting to repeal the tax in a wildly bizarre press conference with former US Vice President Al Gore. But now we learn that what Clive Palmer says and what Clive Palmer does can be two wildly different things altogether.
The dramatic backflip is the result of a dispute between the Coalition and the PUP over amendments made to the repeal legislation surrounding the guarantee of savings to consumers. The PUP drafted a last minute amendment that included punishments to companies that didn’t pass the savings from the repeal back within 12 months.
What was to be a week of celebration for the Abbott Government on the successful removal of, arguably, their flagship election promise has now descended into a chaotic week of negotiations, compromise and dilution to a bill that is not being met favourably by an unpredictable senate.
Senior Labor senator Penny Wong had yesterday given the Senate chamber a furious baking, alleging the Government of ambushing the Senate to pass the bills in accordance with a pre-planned media schedule.
Other Greens and Labor politicians have also been having a field day with the matter on social media.

The Government will now go away and re-draft – again – the Carbon Tax repeal, and will likely introduce it into Parliament for a fourth time early next week. Though at this stage there still appears to be no guarantees it will be the one to get through a Senate that threatens to be much more of a thorn in Tony Abbott‘s side than he first may have thought.

Photo: Stefan Postles via Getty Images.