Mark Thursday 10 July as the day the Abbott government achieved the trifecta. They gagged discussion on the carbon price repeal legislation while filibustering so that negotiations could proceed with Clive Palmer’s PUP in the corridor. Then the legislation was voted down.
Why did the Government trip up and score an own goal?
To meet Abbott’s media schedule, that’s why. Penny Wong to the cross-bench:
“We are already having backgrounded to media…what the Senate will be doing. Media are already being told to prepare for the Prime Minister’s announcement, because gag-and-guillotine will be moved, here in this Chamber, to get the bills on and voted on. So I want the crossbench to be clear on what you are being asked to do — you are being asked to run this Chamber so as to accord with Mr Abbott’s media schedule.
Later she called it “a special blend of arrogance and incompetence”.
Apparently it was pre-ordained on Monday that the bills would be passed today, to fit in with Abbott’s media schedule.
As far as I can make out, the problem arose when the PUP looked at the latest amendment overnight and decided it didn’t go far enough. So they came up with a new one, the third version, essentially mandating a 250% penalty for firms and other entities not passing on to customers savings from the repeal of the carbon tax.
When this was sprung in the morning Palmer reckons there was a “violent reaction” from LNP pollies with lots of angry phone calls. Nevertheless the LNP leadership acceded to the new version, but it ran into trouble because it was deemed a money bill which must originate in the House of Representatives.
Somewhere along the line the Government decided to press on with the Mark 2 amendment without telling PUP. That’s according to Palmer:
It doesn’t look like the carbon tax is going to go through in the Senate today, right, because our party will most likely vote against the bill, right.
Of course, this morning at 8.30 we had an amendment which we discussed with the Government and we left with the clerk’s office. It was to be circulated by the time Parliament came down and it hadn’t been circulated.
And our senators hadn’t been told and they were left in the dark so when the gag motion was brought, their old amendment was in there, which they thought was the new amendment, and they would have voted for that and not the critical amendment which is critical in getting electricity and gas prices back to consumers, and then under the misapprehension they would have voted to repeal the carbon tax, right.
But fortunately we discovered that and they were able to become aware of it, so I just met with them down there and their view was that in no circumstances they wouldn’t be voting today for the carbon tax repeal.
Now, of course the matter may be sorted out, I don’t know, but that’s how it stands at the moment. I think you call it double-crossing people.
We went to lodge our amendment at the clerk’s office at 8.30 and we asked that it be distributed and we had a violent reaction from the Government and our amendment nearly…
Then in the final scramble, the LNP promised to originate Palmer’s desired changes next week in the HoR if the PUP would kindly pass the existing defective version. Palmer told the 7.30 Report that he simply didn’t trust them.
The bill will now go back to the HoR and could be back in the Senate on Monday. But will it be passed?
PUP’s amendment is actually problematic and there is no certainty that six cross-benchers will approve it.
Palmer sees the amendment as applying to entities selling electricity and gas:
The list proposed by PUP includes “an individual, a body corporate, a body politics, a partnership, any other incorporated association or body of entities, a trust or any party or entity which can or does buy or sell electricity or gas”.
There is concern that other entities may be drawn in. There is concern that some firms have absorbed the cost of the carbon tax in whole or in part.
There is concern as to whether the Commonwealth can legislate to control firms in the specific manner proposed.
But it seems the Abbott Government will do anything to axe the tax.
People are wondering what the politics of it all means.
Laura Tingle says it’s karma rather than Palmer. Abbott is getting his own medicine back in spades. But
The all or nothing Abbott modus operandi is simply not going to work any more.
Whatever Palmer’s unpredictability, the Coalition team has been exposed as woefully unprepared to deal with what it faces in the upper house.
This is true in both a tactical and strategic sense. Tony Abbott has to reconsider whether his Senate team is up to the job of handling Palmer.
Bernard Keane at Crikey says:
The key to understanding Palmer is that he’s always about what’s ahead. What’s in the past is irrelevant. The issue of consistency simply doesn’t arise, because Palmer eternally moves forward, toward the next announcement, the next stunt. Clive only ever stops moving so he can momentarily bask in the media spotlight. Then it’s onward again.
The Courier Mail has a biographical article on Palmer that everyone should read.
They say he plays a long game and he understands the media. He grew up on the Gold Coast where Russ Hinze was big. Already wealthy he became media director for the National Party in 1986. So he was there in the last days of Joh and during the Fitzgerald inquiry.
I think on the current issue he is genuinely concerned for consumers. But he doesn’t mind making the LNP look chaotic and shambolic. Abbott is going to have to, as Tingle suggests, look for 80% and 90% solutions.
Meanwhile Xenephon thinks the gaggle of cross-bench senators are part of the solution rather than the problem. I’m not sure Eric Abetz is up to handling the situation.
20 thoughts on “Disorder in the house”
I thought the entire spectacle was wondrous and a delight to my heart. Lets hope PUP provides more of them so the entire country wakes up to what a crock the Abbott Government is.
Understanding Palmer. Part of him is out for revenge on Abbott (and Newman.)
Part of it is wanting to do what he believes id the right thing, eg his attitude to refugees, protecting the poor and disadvantaged even if it is good old fashioned noblesse oblige. Part of it is loving power. Part of it is loving having fun with power and to a lesser extent with the media. Part of it is probably protecting his business interests.
The rest of it I haven’t worked out, and if I ever did I suspect it would to a very well researched book to begin to even understand him.
Paul B,that sounds about right. I think his long game is that he really wants to run the country. The chances of that happening are pretty remote, but he is getting better advice than Pauline Hansen ever did, including one bloke who used to advise Bob Brown.
It looks like in attempting to axe the tax, Tony is replacing it with chaos. Are we progressing from a Carbon Tax to Carbon Chaos?
And what ever happened to no more dodgy deals with minor parties?
I trying to understand PUP I’ve had done some research, I’ll share a few bits.
Clive in 2011 on the CO2 tax and Abbott and other things ( good bit at 1:10.)
Their Policies and press releases link ( the ones about CO2 tax are gone now but abolishing FBT still there )
And to avoid the ” three link demon ” I’ll just mention Jacqui Lambie and her illustrious careers documented in Wikipedia.
( rest easy Zoot, this isn’t an attack of the vapours either. )
It is all very entertaining but it does nothing about removing the blockages to renewable investment.
It also raises the possibility of ecccentric legislation that gets thru as part of a deal with Clive.
(From the ABC’s The Drum..)
In reality the CO2 tax is dead next week I recon.
Will Clive suport Direct Action ?
I doubt it. ( Abbott breaths sigh of relief )
He may give the green army the thumbs up as a work-for-the-dole program.
All in all I can’t see the ABC ” journalists ” defending him for much longer.
The day PUP votes with LNP is the day the tide will turn.
How’s the winter treating your health? well I hope.
Oh,and Tony Abbott said that he would not deal with minor parties or Independents to form a government.
And he didn’t say “there would not be deals done with independent and minor parties under any political movement I lead”
That would be an ABC ” journalist ” making stuff up.
Laura Tingle should stop doing that.
Can’t you use google, jumpy? 😉
Tony Abbott’s Press Conference, Parliament House, Canberra 04/08/13 (9m10s)
You should know better than to rely on Gerard Henderson for facts.
Jenni Ryall on Palmer.
Yes Nick, I can, so let’s go to the transcript ( as they say 🙂 )
That’s the full sentence bolded.
And just to make it completely clear of the context a ” journalist ” asks ( in your link 13:51)
laura tingle: 1
jumpy: egg on face
Abbott was obviously speak of forming Government in the House of Representatives after the election.
Both yourself and Tingle know this and any extrapolating funny business to link this statement to Senate negotiation since is false.
Which is clearly what Tingle did.
A lot of Abbotts policies and statements, to me at least, are vague, open to ridicule or just plain wrong.
This one however is not.
No amount of chopping out of context and adding your own changes this.
This little tit for tat has been fun but now it’s boring so I’ll leave it there and say you Won!!
Now you have a loverly Saturday, and please, enjoy some ABC for me.
Sigh. Let’s try again:
Now, I’m pretty sure Tingle was referring to the Gillard minority government right there. The one she formed with a “reliance on minor party and independent votes”…
Isn’t that what you’re saying she should be referring to?
She then continued:
Drawing a comparison between the troubles Gillard faced in the lower house, and the troubles Abbott now faces in the upper house.
I really can’t see you or Henderson’s problem with that. I don’t see that she “verballed” Tony Abbott at all.
Thanks, btw. I had a great day actually.
Finished off a large 3-phase installation with my uncle-in-law in Reid River, about an hour south of Townsville. Weather was sensational! I’m really loving it up here.
Just put my daughter to bed, now back to the camp-fire for more beers 🙂
Hope you had a good one too.
Lets do a reality check:
Abbott needs the carbon tax but to help balance his budget and to allow him to continue using it as a point of attack against Labor and a diversion from serious matters like his budget stuff up. It would be disastrous if the tax goes and the “savings” he claims will happen don’t appear.
Bill Shorten needs to be seen as supporting the carbon tax even though he might like to do something more sensible and remove a point of attack. Once again it is critical that he not to be blamed for allowing its ending.
Clive needs publicity. Particular publicity for defending the little man’s right to the alleged savings that will occur when the tax is ended. He also stands to save money if the tax is dropped.
The Greens appear to really believe that a carbon tax or ETS is essential if we are to save the planet.
Ahh, Katter country, enjoy.
I’m your friendly Dawson neighbour.( waves in a nor westerly direction )
Let’s just call that a tree that fell in the forrest that I , and a great many others, heard but you didn’t and just move on, ok?
“Let’s just call that a tree that fell in the forrest that I , and a great many others, heard but you didn’t and just move on, ok?”
To paraphrase a commenter at Crooked Timber recently – the thing about that is there’s nothing to stop us going into the forest afterwards to check if a tree fell, or if you were just hearing things…
Enjoyed it very much! Back in miserable old Melbourne now…
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