Saturday 16 July 2011

Australian politics | Tony Abbott dared to carry out double dissolution poll threat

Tony Abbott
Bob Brown today challenged Tony Abbott to bring on a double dissolution election if he won the next election, as Treasurer Wayne Swan warned to do so would destroy confidence in the economy.

The Greens leader branded the Coalition leader “multiple-election Tony” after Mr Abbott warned yesterday he would trigger a double dissolution poll if he won office and was blocked in his bid to rescind the carbon tax. Senator Brown said the Greens had historically performed well at double dissolution elections and would not be intimated by Mr Abbott's threat to seek an early return to the polls.

“There's hardly a day that goes by when Tony doesn't want a new election,” he said in Canberra. “I didn't want to bring self-interest into this. But if Tony wants a double dissolution election, go Greens.” Mr Swan said Mr Abbott's proposal to go to two elections would damage the Australian economy. “What this country needs is certainty, and certainty is provided by putting a price on carbon pollution so we can drive investments in the renewable energy of the future, drive the jobs and drive the wealth creation. “He's playing politics, he's not interested in the long-term national interest,” Mr Swan said.

Earlier, Mr Abbott declared Coalition MPs just as passionate in their opposition to a carbon tax as Julia Gillard was in favour of the policy. He said the Prime Minister should accept that most Australians disagreed with her climate plan. Mr Gillard yesterday pledged to better explain her key motivations as she pursued her carbon tax policy.

Addressing the National Press Club, Ms Gillard became emotional as she argued for her carbon scheme, saying she was motivated by heartfelt conviction. But Mr Abbott said today his own side was equally convinced of its case. “I think that it is good that the Prime Minister is passionate. I think that it's good that she has not lost her idealism, and I'd like to think that people on my side of politics are just as passionate, just as idealistic,” he told the Nine Network. “(It's) just that we passionately and idealistically disagree with the Prime Minister and her carbon tax.”

Mr Abbott said while the debate about the carbon tax had become heated, this was because the public felt the government had not done the right thing. The Opposition Leader told a community forum in Brisbane last night that if elected prime minister, he would call a double dissolution election if Labor and the Greens blocked him from repealing the carbon tax.

“There are provisions for dealing with a deadlock and we won't shy away from those provisions,” he said. Former Labor prime minister Paul Keating said last night that Mr Abbott's opposition to a carbon price had not received sufficient scrutiny.

“You know what Tony Abbott's policy is? `If you don't give me the job, I'll wreck the place',” Mr Keating told the ABC's Lateline program. “I mean, Tony's got to have the political judo chop. That's what Tony has to have.”

Mr Abbott responded today that Mr Keating had been rolled out by the Labor Party to defend the carbon tax, labelling him the “master of colourful invective”. “I guess he's been trotted out to defend the Prime Minister.”

Author | Source | Joe Kelly | The Australian | July 16th 2011

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