Tony Abbott’s Bill to axe Australia’s carbon tax is voted down in the Senate

Ricky Muir and Palmer United senators vote with Greens and Labor against repeal of carbon tax, SMH, July 10, 2014 –  National political reporter The Senate has voted down the government’s third attempt to repeal the carbon tax after a chaotic morning in which the Palmer United Party backed out of its agreement to support the bills.

PUP senators and Motoring Enthusiast Party senator Ricky Muir sided with Labor and the Greens to defeat the abolition of the carbon tax, with a final vote just after 12.30pm rejecting the repeal 37 votes to 35.

The decision is a major setback for Prime Minister Tony Abbott who had expected that the scrapping of the carbon tax would be the first order of business of the new Senate. But those plans were thrown into disarray on Thursday, when PUP senators refused to back the repeal arguing an amendment drafted by the government to guarantee savings for consumers did not reflect a deal done between the two parties.

That amendment was beefed up by the PUP overnight to include stiff penalties for any company that failed to pass the full savings from the carbon tax repeal within 12 months……

In defending his party’s decision, Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer said his senators had been ”doubled crossed” by the government and as a result they abandoned the deal and sided with the opposition.

However, the government maintains that the amendment put forward by Mr Palmer was unconstitutional because it would have constituted a money bill, which by definition cannot originate in the Senate.

The Abbott government had expected to be celebrating the achievement of its long-cherished ambition to axe Labor’s price on carbon this week, but instead has found itself scrambling day by day to negotiate with an unpredictable crossbench.

Mr Palmer had earlier on Thursday confirmed that his senators would not vote for the carbon tax repeal on Thursday, saying amendments had been lodged with the Senate Clerk’s office at 8.30am.

”We asked that it be distributed and we had a violent action from government, a violent reaction I would say,” Mr Palmer said.

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