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Removing carbon tax a priority for new government

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Prime minister-elect Tony Abbott has said that steps are being taken to repeal the carbon tax, which he had declared the weekend’s election to be a referendum on.

Abbott yesterday met his department, according to the ABC, instructing them to draw up legislation repealing the carbon tax. The counting of votes from Saturday federal election is not yet complete for the Senate and five lower house seats, but the Coalition has more than the required 76 lower house seats required to form government.

The Australian reports that Abbott spent yesterday in meetings with Ian Watt, secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Treasury’s secretary Martin Parkinson, Finance Department boss David Tune, and Coalition members.

"My emphasis will be on being purposeful, methodical, calm, and conscientious," Abbott told Fairfax radio this morning, discussing legislation to remove the tax when Parliament resumes (October is the earliest date for this).

"And the last thing I want to do is rush the parliament back for a photo opportunity before the substance of the work is there for it to do."

The likely next environment minister Greg Hunt told the ABC, "We are looking to do this as a first order of business for the parliament."

It is not certain that the next Senate – in which the Coalition would be a minority – would be able to pass a bill. Labor and the Greens have said they would block a move to repeal the carbon tax.

The Business Council of Australia’s Tony Shepherd told AM this morning that the tax should be removed as soon as possible, and that the new government would have a clear mandate to do this.

“I would call for the senators, the existing senators and the new ones, to be very careful how they cast their vote on those two issues given that this has clearly been Coalition policy for a long time and has been supported by a majority of Australians,” said Shepherd.

Image: http://www.manninghambusiness.com.au

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