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Palmer threatens double dissolution over Direct Action

Editorial
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The conundrum of Clive Palmer and his refusal to lend support to the repeal of mining and carbon taxes continues, with fresh revelations that Palmer is unwilling to support legislation unless links to the passage of ‘Direct Action’ are removed.

The member for Fairfax, who holds control over three seats in the Senate from July onwards, has been warned by the government that he may trigger a constitutional crisis by standing in the way of new legislative changes on emissions reduction.

Early Monday morning, Palmer went on record and indicated that he would not support any legislative changes for the Direct Action policy in the event that aged pension or other entitlements would be affected.

Later in the day he declared that Direct Action was “dead”, and that the Palmer United Party will use its control over the balance of power in the Senate to block the repeals of carbon and mining taxes.

Yesterday Palmer claimed that environment minister Greg Hunt was blackmailing Australians by insisting direct action funding was tied to the budget,

“That is nothing short of blackmail, raising fears that it has the potential to become a constitutional matter,” Palmer said.

“If the government does this we will reconsider our position on repealing the mining and carbon taxes and this would create the potential for triggering a double dissolution election.

“After the recent Senate re-election in Western Australia, I don’t think the federal government would want this because they would be on very shaky ground.

The government plans to spend $13 billion on the Direct Action policy over the next four years, but economists have questioned the ability of the policy budget to meet the proposed emissions reduction target of 5 per cent by 2020.

The mechanism of Direct Action is to make large commercial polluters compete to win tenders and be paid to undertake emission reduction projects, from an emissions reduction fund.

Palmer labelled the Liberal Party’s Direct Action policy a waste of money that should be allocated for “more important things such as pensions”.

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