Palmer threatens double dissolution over Direct Action

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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