Abbott points blame at Labor for blocking repeal bill
PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has placed the blame for failing to pass the carbon tax repeal legislation last week at Labor's feet, rather than Clive Palmer's.
Mr Abbott said on Sunday, in a speech to the LNP faithful in Brisbane, that Opposition Leader Bill Shorten had 25 senators who could support the repeal if Labor was willing.
Despite a kerfuffle in the Senate last week over the legality of Palmer United Party changes to the repeals, the government now hopes to repeal the tax this week.
It is understood the government and PUP senators have been in talks over the weekend to ensure any demands from the minor party can be included.
The talks follow heavy industry and business raising concerns that all sectors of the economy may be forced to meet more reporting requirements to ensure savings from the repeal are passed.
Mr Abbott said on Sunday he knew Mr Palmer would "change his mind come Monday", but that Mr Shorten would not.
He also defended the government's budget, saying the controversial GP co-payment was included "not because we want to make life difficult for people", but to make the health system "sustainable".
But the big battle for the government, to repeal the carbon tax this week, will be further forced to accede to PUP senators' demands, after two crossbenchers said they may not back it.
Democratic Liberal Senator David Leyonhjelm and Family First Senator Bob Day said on the weekend they were unlikely to back the PUP amendments in whatever form they came in.
The two crossbenchers, opposed to increased costs and taxes, said while they wanted to abolish the tax, the PUP amendments included "severe compliance" measures that could be "worse than the tax itself".
Sen Leyonhjelm said Australia did "not need laws with the potential to turn business owners into criminals".
Sen Day said regulators had shown "no will" to stop power companies passing the fines in the PUP amendments, indicating he believed businesses may simply pass on the cost of potential fines to consumers.
The carbon tax repeal bills are expected to be the first order of the day when the Senate resumes sitting on Monday.