Palmer won't axe mining tax until school support restored
MINING billionaire Clive Palmer's Palmer United Party combined with Labor and the Greens yesterday to block repeal of the mining tax because the bill also cut $10 billion in spending on schoolkids' bonuses and low income support that was to be funded by it.
Mr Palmer had earlier anticipated the government would accept PUP's support and retain the measures.
He said last night PUP would support the mining tax repeal, but only if the spending was maintained.
Mr Palmer said the two elements needed separation.
Earlier he had listed as his party's achievements on the eve of parliament's winter recess as $13.02 billion in cuts removed from the federal budget because his party's intervention returned $3781 to the pockets of average families.
He said despite predictions to the contrary PUP senators and Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party's Ricky Muir had held strong to deliver real outcomes.
An ebullient Mr Palmer goes into his first parliamentary winter break confident the rise of his Palmer United Party has made a real difference to the Australian political landscape.
Invigorated by two weeks of intense negotiation and debate and despite media attacks on his character and behaviour, he yesterday listed saving the renewable energy target, saving the clean energy agency, saving the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Climate Change Authority as his green credentials.
During the three-week break, with the support of a staff of 20 he has employed from his own pocket because the government will not fund even a meeting room for PUP senators, Mr Palmer will also draft a 300-page amendment to the Climate Change Amendment Act to ensure an emission trading scheme will remain part of the nation's climate change response infrastructure.
"We're helping make democracy work," Mr Palmer said.
Mr Palmer said yesterday without an ETS exporters would be slugged anyway by receiving countries.
Apart from being environmentally responsible, the ETS would protect Australia's trading position.
"There'll be no time for taxpayer-funded holidays," Mr Palmer said in reference to former LNP Fisher MP Peter Slipper who spent tens of thousands of dollars of public funds on air travel and taxis during winter breaks.
Mr Palmer said PUP had strengthened a "wishy-washy" carbon tax repeal legislation introduced by the Federal Government which had provided no guarantee savings would be passed on from energy companies to their customers.
Mr Palmer said the big story of an intense period in Australian politics was that PUP senators and the alliance they had with Senator Muir had held strong, voting as a bloc and providing a solid demonstration of what they could achieve.
And he defended the deal PUP struck with the Coalition on Future of Financial Advice amendments despite criticism they favoured big banks and allowed planners to provide bad advice.
Mr Palmer said the 14-day cooling-off period, the requirement for advisers to act in the best interests of their clients and to confirm in writing that they had acted in that way, as well as declaring the money they would receive immediately and in the future from the arrangement all acted in the interests of mum and dads investors.
A register of financial advisers would provide their status and record any complaints raised about their behaviour.
"We covered in a practical sense the Labor and Greens' provisions," he said.
The party had stayed out of this weekend's Stafford by-election, preferring, Mr Palmer said, to develop a serious program for Queensland.
"The Sunshine Coast looks good for us," he said. "But we need to show we are relevant and I think we've demonstrated that in the past two weeks."
Mr Palmer said he had stated he would be elected to parliament and he had been, that PUP would control the balance of power and it does.
"And I said we would get Campbell Newman and we will, and we will repeal every piece of legislation he has enacted," he said.
"I expect personal attacks. What they should try to do is attack what I'm saying. But they'll call me a fat bastard and that I'm in it for me."
Mr Palmer said media claims he was a misogynist ignored his maiden speech which called for more women in Parliament and more in Cabinet and the fact that almost his entire legal team was made up of women.
The thing he worries about at night, he says, are the 153 Sri Lankan refugees now being held, presumably at sea, by Australian border protection officers.