The Coalition government has threatened to resort to the expedient of a double dissolution should Labor attempt to thwart its efforts to overturn the carbon tax.
The Coalition is champing at the bit to overturn the carbon tax, with Environment Minister Greg Hunt stating that its repeal will be the new government’s first legislative act when Federal Parliament convenes again in November.
Speaking to reporters Hunt invoked the mandate given by the electorate to the Coalition government for the repeal the carbon tax.
“The Australian public voted to terminate the carbon tax,” Hunt said. “We will not stop until the carbon tax is repealed.”
Labor and the Greens currently control the Senate, however, and new Labor leader Bill Shorten has responded to Hunt’s tossing of the gauntlet by indicating that his party has not shifted its position on the issue.
“We do believe in putting a price on carbon pollution. There’s no free lunches in the world,” said Shorten.
Shorten was dismissive of Hunt’s claim that the Coalition’s election win gave it an automatic mandate for the carbon tax’s annulment.
“He has a mandate to form a government of Australia, but there is nothing in Australian democracy that says that Labor has to be a rubber stamp for every Coalition proposition,” Shorten said to Fairfax Radio.
In response to potential intransigence over the carbon tax from Labor, the Coalition has re-iterated its pre-election threat to resort to the expedient of a double dissolution election.
Greg Hunt has said that the Coalition does not want to wait until a change in the make-up of the Senate in July of next year, when conservative-leaning members from minor parties will acquire greater influence, to overturn the carbon tax, and that “all options are on the table” when it comes to ensuring its repeal.
Steve Ciobo, Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, has been even more emphatic in his evocation of the measure, stating that the mandate that the Coalition has received from the Australian people would justify a double dissolution.
“[Labor are] not listening to the Australian people. So we’ve indicated that we will go to a double dissolution, and we’ll get the Australian people to have their say for a second time because the Australian people do not want this toxic tax.”
Prominent figures in Australia’s business community have backed the Coalition’s efforts to scrap the carbon tax.
Maria Tarrant, deputy chief executive of the Business Council of Australia, said parliament should respect the decision of the new Coalition government to overturn the tax, while Mitch Hooke, chief executive of the Minerals Council of Australia, said the carbon tax was a “handbrake on growth” which was costing the mining industry over $1.2 billion year and that it “does not deliver an environmental dividend.”