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Carbon Tax Repeal Confusion

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Ellen Sandell
State MP for Melbourne
10 July 2014

The new Senate is Abbott's only chance at removing the price on carbon. The Greens have been consistent in their policy and voting against any repeal but there has been nothing but confusion in the Senate today. Gags, back flips, "swifty pulling" and a lot of back-and-forth make for a confusing Senate to follow, so below we've got a timeline to help you understand!



  • The old Senate had voted to delay debate on repeal until July 14. [1]
  • The Government has 33 votes in the Senate and needs the support of all three Palmer United Party (PUP) senators, Ricky Muir of the Motoring Enthusiasts Party (MEP), David Leyonhjelm of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Bob Day of Family First (FF) to pass motions in the Senate. [1]

Monday July 7

  • The Government tries to overcome the previous standing orders and to push debate on the repeal forward by a week. [2]
  • The PUP and Senator Muir sided with The Greens and Labor in delaying a vote on the carbon tax repeal twice, once 'without formalities', and second to bring forward the bills as a package. [3]
  • It is understood that the PUP voted against the repeal because the Government did not introduce a bill that they had intended to amend. [4]
  • The Government later succeeded in a third vote in getting the carbon tax repeal on the agenda after agreeing to amendments brought forth by the PUP and bringing forward the bills together as a package. [3]

Tuesday July 8

  • Debate continued throughout the day without outcome. PUP Senators Glenn Lazarus and Jacqui Lambie voiced support for scrapping the tax. [5]

Wednesday July 9

  • The Government moved to vote without a committee stage, essentially 'gagging' debate on the repeal of the tax and moving straight to a vote.[6]
  • While the PUP voted in the government's favour, the motion failed to secure votes from three Senators Xenophon, Madigan and Muir. [6]
  • Senator Muir's voted against the PUP and the Government despite having an agreement with the PUP and was the deciding vote in the matter. Senator Muir's vote was heralded in the senate with a cry of "onya Ricky!" from an unidentified Senator.[7]
  • The Greens and Labor succeeded in protecting the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) with the support of Senator Muir and the PUP [8]

Thursday July 10

  • The Government moved to gag the carbon tax repeal debate again at 9.38am. [9]
  • Senator Muir flipped on his previous position on the 'gag', voting with the Government to gag debate at 9.54am meaning that the repeal would be voted on at 11.50pm. [9]
  • However Clive Palmer told reporters ahead of the vote that the PUP would withdraw its support for the repeal, claiming that the Government had "pulled a swifty" on his party, failing to circulate their revised amendment to the repeal legislation. [10]
  • Voting went forward at 12.21pm with the Government losing 35-37, with Senator Muir voting with The Greens, Labor and PUP.
  • That is the third time that the new Senate has voted down the Government's repeal, a price on carbon lives another day!


Moving forward the Government will need to reintroduce the carbon tax repeal next Monday after Mr Palmer's amendments are made to the repeal legislation.

Our favourite Federal MP, Adam Bandt had this astute observation:


And just in case after all that you're still confused around the carbon tax repeal (who wouldn't be?) this handy website should help you out:




profile image
Ellen Sandell
State MP for Melbourne
10 July 2014




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