July 7, 2014 – 2:28PM
Clive Palmer has dealt a major blow to the Abbott government’s deficit repair job by announcing his party will oppose more than $9 billion worth of savings measures linked to the repeal of the mining tax.
The Palmer United Party leader told the National Press Club on Monday he supported the removal of the mining tax but would not vote for many of the associated savings measures. These include scrapping the Schoolkids Bonus and superannuation rebates for low-income earners.
Scrapping the Schoolkids bonus – which delivers payments of $820 per high school child and $410 per primary school student to families on Family Tax Benefit A – would save the budget an estimated $5.2 billion over four years based on figures from the Parliamentary Library.
The Low Income Superannuation Contribution Scheme provides refunds of up to $500 for superannuation contributions from workers who earn $37,000 a year or less.
About 3.6 million workers, 2 million of them women, are eligible for the scheme.
Scrapping the scheme would save an estimated $3.8 billion over four years.
“Palmer United Party supports the abolition of the mining tax, but can’t support some of the measures within the legislation and is negotiating and will move to have them removed in the Senate,” Mr Palmer said.
“I think the Senate is in charge of its own business. So I’d imagine if that comes before the Senate, those measures would be separated and if necessary we would vote against them and we would vote for the repeal of the mining tax, per se, but not for the repeal of those measures.”
Mr Palmer later confirmed he would not support the scrapping of the Low Income Superannuation Contribution Scheme or the reduction of asset write-offs for small business people – both of which are linked to the mining tax repeal.
Mr Palmer confirmed he would support the repeal of the carbon tax, but would oppose the abolition of the Climate Change Authority and Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
The government’s first attempt on Monday to force a debate on the repeal of the carbon tax this week failed.
Labor and Greens senators voted for the matter to stay with a Senate committee until it tables a report next week. The government’s push for the repeal of the carbon tax to be the first order of business for the new Senate was defeated 36 votes to 32.
Palmer United senators voted with Labor and the Greens for the repeal to be kept in committee, despite Mr Palmer saying on Sunday his party would back the government’s calls for a vote.
But the government was undeterred and on Monday afternoon the Senate was debating a second attempt to force a vote after Senate leader Eric Abetz moved a motion to suspend standing orders.
with Lisa Cox