Billionaire Senator Clive Palmer has announced that the Palmer United Party's four senators will vote against the government's Direct Action climate policy. In typically cavalier fashion, he's now indicating that they will vote down Direct Action, "whatever form it's in".
The Coalition should have the numbers to repeal Labor's carbon pricing scheme once the new Senate begins sitting in July. However, the ALP, the Greens and Palmer United would together form a bloc of 39 votes – enough to defeat any Direct Action bill. And Palmer now says he’s willing to block the repeal of the carbon price and the mining super-profits tax if the government continues to insist on embedding the Direct Action legislation within the budget appropriation bills.
This is a game of brinkmanship which can have almost any outcome – double dissolution or full-blown constitutional crisis included – if neither Palmer nor the government blinks.
Welcome to the new Senate. With 18 cross-benchers (including the Greens), the Abbott government is likely to face headaches which make Gillard’s hung parliament seem like a minor irritant. Look forward to Labor reminding Tony Abbott of his own words whenever it gets the chance: "I won’t be doing deals with independents or minor parties".
Russell Marks Politicoz Editor
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Greg Hunt warns Clive Palmer against opposing direct action plan to recuce carbon emissions
"The Abbott government has warned senators opposed to its direct action policy that blocking the initiative to address climate change in parliament could trigger a constitutional crisis. But the comments have left Fairfax MP and leader of the Palmer United Party, Clive Palmer, unmoved. Mr Palmer on Tuesday reiterated his comments from the previous day that he and his senators would not support the direct action plan."