*Pic: ABC pic of Al Gore and Clive Palmer, after that memorable Press Conference …
Clive Palmer has handed Prime Minister Tony Abbott a ‘get out of jail’ card – or has he?
The Palmer United Party has agreed to scrap the carbon tax subject to a raft of conditions, from introduction of a legislative guarantee mandating cheaper household power, to retention of the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Renewable Energy Target of 20 per cent, to the scrapping of Abbott’s signature Direct Action policy and the reintroduction of an emissions trading scheme that is unpalatable to Abbott, designed to be cost neutral until Australia’s major trading partners implement similar schemes.
The disastrous ‘own goal’ pitching and selling of the federal Budget and the probability that it will sink means that Abbott has become a lame duck Prime Minister.
Most of the Abbott-Hockey budget proposals like the Paid Parental Leave, the fuel tax increase, or the $7 GP co-payment fee will never see the light of day.
Indeed, the 2014 Budget will be remembered for Abbott’s overreach, and for containing the seeds of destruction of his government.
Proof of this is the speed and humiliating collapse of Abbott’s position by withdrawing the government’s legislation to repeal the Clean Energy Finance Corporation bill yesterday, less than 12 hours after Palmer’s ‘road to Damascus’ conversion and fronting up to Parliament with the former US Vice President Al Gore outlining the raft of conditions for the scrapping of the carbon tax as previously mentioned.
During the rest of this parliamentary term Palmer will hold Abbott to ransom, with a firm PUP hand on the government’s steering wheel.
Why this is good news for Tasmania?
The number one beneficiary of the Palmer dictate to Abbott in Tasmania is Premier Will Hodgman, who must be skipping with joy.
This is because the federal 2014 Budget contains so many direct and indirect nasties for Hodgman and his fellow peers in other states.
Thanks to Clive Palmer, the Premier now won’t have to eat the s**t sandwich that the Prime Minister has served him.
Will Hodgman may now dream and plan beyond his first term, something that his Victorian and Queensland counterparts won’t have the luxury. This is because Premiers Napthine and Newman will be going to the polls in the next year. Another factor is the spillover of the federal Budget into state politics, particularly the unresolved $80 billion black hole for the schools and health sectors.
The retention of the Renewable Energy Target is most important for the Tasmanian economy, and will help fill the coffers of its GBE, Hydro Tasmania.
It will also revive the stalled $400 million major wind farm in Musselroe, which will be twice the size of Woolnorth and will provide a major boost for the northeast regional economy in terms of construction work and permanent jobs.