The first attempt to push the repeal of the carbon tax through the new Senate has failed, with a move to suspend debate voted down 36 votes to 32.
Labor and Greens senators found support from the new Palmer United and affiliated crossbenchers in the vote on Monday, which allowed the matter to remain within a senate committee until July 14, when the report will be tabled.
Such support from Palmer United was unexpected, as the "wild card" playing party leader Clive Palmer said on Sunday that he would support the Government’s call to suspend standing orders to facilitate a debate and vote on the carbon tax repeal.
Palmer explained that PUP would support the abolition of the carbon tax, but could not support some measures within the repeal legislation and would move to have them removed in the Senate.
“I think the Senate is in charge of its own business,” Palmer said.
“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.”
Palmer has also confirmed that despite his support for the abolition of the carbon tax and fixed carbon price, he would oppose the abolition of the Climate Change Authority and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
Palmer has previously indicated he would not support the Government's proposed Direct Action plan on emissions.
The Senate currently has 33 coalition senators, against Labor’s 25 and the Greens’ 10 senators.
The eight crossbenchers whose support will determine whether or not Coalition policies will make it through the Senate are Glen Lazarus, Jacqui Lambe and Dio Wang from PUP, Ricky Muir of Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party, Bob Day of Family First, David Leyonhjelm of Liberal Democrats, John Madigan of Democratic Labour, and Nick Xenophon.