The West

Abbott to rethink carbon tactics

The Abbott Government is under internal pressure to rethink its tactics and take a tough stance towards the Palmer United Party or face even more crippling blows to its legislative agenda.

As confidence grows that the carbon tax will be repealed early next week, there are fears the Government's plans to repair the Budget and introduce other major changes could be stymied by PUP and its leader Clive Palmer.

The Government's plan to axe the tax was stymied this week by PUP and the Motoring Enthusiast Party, which joined Labor and the Greens in the Senate.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he was confident the repeal Bills would go through in next week's parliamentary sittings.

Tasmanian PUP senator Jacqui Lambie, while confirming the carbon tax would soon be gone, signalled the troubles ahead for the Government.

"If you want to come into the kennel with the PUPs, be prepared to be chewed up and spat back out," she said.

Between the Greens, Labor, PUP and other crossbench senators, there are doubts over $5 billion in savings for the current financial year.

That would blow out the Budget deficit to almost $35 billion.

These include measures tied to the repeal of the mining tax, which is to be debated once the carbon tax Bills pass the Senate, as well as a string of contentious Budget measures.

Even the Government believes its chances of getting a majority of Budget measures through, particularly the $7 co-payment for Medicare services, are slim.

_The Weekend West _has been told by coalition sources that the tactics towards PUP may have to change.

Mr Abbott, who before the election made clear he would consider a double dissolution election if his plans were blocked by Parliament, said yesterday he would give the new Senate more time.

"If we had six months or 12 months of difficulty . . . then maybe it would be time to start thinking along those lines," he said.

PUP senators voted against the Government after concerns their plan to introduce heavy fines for power and gas companies that failed to pass on in full savings from the repeal of the carbon tax would not be included.

The amendments will be included in the legislation that goes back to the House of Representatives on Monday.

But business groups believe the amendments go much further than power and gas firms.

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said the PUP amendments would extend crippling red tape and troubles to all sorts of business, including caravan parks and shopping centres that often bought power and sold it to their tenants.

The West Australian

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