Liberals backflip on petrol excise after advocating budget repair – Michmutters

Liberals backflip on petrol excise after advocating budget repair

Treasurer Jim Chalmers and others in Labor have refused to consider an extension due to the budget impact.

In response to Mr Dutton, Mr Albanese accused him of a policy about face.

“I point to the fact that he was in the cabinet that put together the budget. It had the end date for the measure he talks about,” he said.

Last week, shadow treasurer Angus Taylor gave the first hint of a backflip.

“We support the government coming up with a plan,” he said when asked about an extension.

“They are ultimately in government. I have suggested some of the things that they can do to put together a coherent plan to respond.”

A Coalition source said an extension was supported until oil, which was $US103 a barrel on Monday, came down, “and Ukraine is resolved”.

A senior Labor source said the plan remained to restore the excise in full on September 28, and not seek an alternative, such as phasing it back in or freezing the indexation of excise.

Ten days ago, Mr Taylor and opposition finance spokesman Jane Hume doubled down on the post-election commitment to embrace fiscal conservatism after the big-spending pandemic years.

“Liberals and Nationals are naturally fiscally conservative,” Senator Hume said.

“The last couple of years have been a big leap of faith for us to ensure we could get to the other side of COVID.

“Now the focus must be on budget repair because that’s the only way that fiscally we can reduce inflation.”

The petrol switch comes at the start of what could be a torrid week for the Coalition with the lower house to vote on Labor’s bill to legislate its climate-change targets.

Moderates remain unhappy that Mr Dutton declared his party would oppose the legislation before there was a chance to discuss it.

The legislation will lock in net-zero emissions by 2050 and a 43 per cent reduction in emissions over 2005 levels by 2030.

The shadow cabinet was expected to formally declare its opposition to the legislation on Monday night and the Coalition party room will do the same on Tuesday.

There is expected to be some dissent from moderates, although many are consoling themselves by noting Labor’s own admission that the legislation is not necessary, and it can enact the policy regardless without making any fundamental concessions for the Greens.

Mr Taylor noted the Coalition government had “smashed” its targets without the need for legislation which, he said, would encourage environmental legal activism.

“The legislation does harm. We’ve seen it in other countries,” he said.

The Greens want the government to outlaw all new coal and gas projects in return for their support, but the government has ruled that out.

Australian Workers Union national secretary Daniel Walton rounded on the suggestion when opening the AWU’s national conference in Sydney on Monday, saying blue-collar workers stood to suffer the most.

“The scientific reality of climate change – and government and investor action – is driving the decarbonisation of our heavy industries,” he said.

“I know some institutions and activists are calling for divestment of Australian carbon-intensive assets.

“Some Greens party extremists are even calling for the complete banning of all new coal and gas projects.

“Now I know there are environmentalists and their political mouthpieces in parliament.

“I know they’re perfectly happy to push all Australian blue-collar workers off the ledge of their lofty ivory towers. We can’t let them.”

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