2.20pm – The federal government has struck a deal with Clive Palmer and the Senate has voted 36-33 to abolish the mining tax.
The agreement will see the Income Support Bonus continue until the end of 2016. The Schoolkids Bonus will also continue until the end of 2016 but will be means-tested and eligibility will cut out for family incomes above $100,000. The Low Income Super Contribution will continue in its existing form until June 30, 2017. The agreement will also see a slower increase in compulsory superannuation, with an increase to 10% from July 2021 and then by increments until it reaches 12% in 2025.
It is believed the agreement was struck late this morning and signed off by Prime Minister Tony Abbott around midday. When the Senate met at 12.30, the government moved to bring on an immediate vote on the legislation.
The Opposition attempted to have the legislation referred to a Senate Committee but this was defeated. The ALP concentrated on the superannuation changes in their arguments against the final passage of the repeal legislation.
The amended bills were passed 36-33 by the Senate at 2.20pm, with the support of the PUP senators Lazarus, Lambie and Wang, and Senators Muir, Leyonhjelm and Day. Independent Senator Nick Xenophon voted against, whilst DLP Senator John Madigan did not vote.
The bills were returned to the House of Representatives which also passed the amendments at 6.27pm.
Watch the full Senate debate. It began just after 12.30pm and ended at 2.20pm.
Announcing to the House of Representatives that the Senate had voted to repeal the mining tax, Treasurer Joe Hockey said it was “testament to a failed government”. He said it showed how “irrelevant” the modern Labor Party is. “They were dealt out – the modern Labor Party is irrelevant,” Hockey said.
The agreement says the 3 PUP senators will support the legislation, as will the Motoring Enthusiast Senator Ricky Muir. Two other senators will be required to secure passage and this is likely to come from Senators Bob Day, David Leyonhjelm and John Madigan.
Finance Minister Senator Mathias Cormann’s letter to Clive Palmer, tabled in the Senate, is shown below.
The Greens have condemned the deal as “mean and tricky” and “a big win to mining magnates around Australia”. The Minerals Council of Australia has welcomed the decision and says it is “a major step on the road to Australia reclaiming its status as a globally competitive producer and an attractive destination for mining investment”.
- Watch Hockey & Cormann (15m)
- Watch Clive Palmer on Sky News (10m)
- Watch an ABC TV report (3m)
Media release from Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Senator Mathias Cormann.
Statement from Senator Christine Milne, leader of the Australian Greens.
Mining tax abolition deal: PUP helps Tony Abbott justify brutal budget
Greens leader Christine Milne says the Palmer United Party has done a mean and tricky deal with the Abbott government to turn down revenue and give a big win to mining magnates around Australia.
“Instead of getting a fair share from the big end of town that can afford to pay, coal mining billionaire Clive Palmer has done a tricky deal and put the pressure back on workers and families,” said Senator Milne.
“Champagne corks will be popping in mining company boardrooms while Australian workers will face less money for their retirement.
“This is not just about the spending measures associated with the tax. Today Clive Palmer is facilitating Tony Abbott’s brutal budget by taking away one of the best opportunities we have to raise revenue from those who can afford to pay.
“We could be raising billions more in revenue from mining companies, but instead the Palmer United Party has joined with Tony Abbott to abolish the mining tax altogether.
“Clive Palmer can no longer pretend to be an amusing sideshow who has an interest in helping families or working Australians. He has used the federal parliament to help abolish the tax which was about getting Australians a fair share from our mineral wealth.”
- Listen to Milne comment on the mining tax (6m)
Media release from the Minerals Council of Australia.