Opposition Leader Tony Abbott conceded it would be difficult to undo the carbon tax. Picture: Gary Ramage Source: The Daily Telegraph
- Tony Abbott conceded some parts will be “difficult to undo”
- But pledged to remove it, regardless of the difficulty
- “What the Parliament does the Parliament can undo”
TONY Abbott today conceded that elements of carbon pricing will be “difficult to undo” but pledged to scrap both it and the mining tax if made Prime Minister.
And he repeated a pledge to bring in tax cuts and pension increase delivered though fiscal discipline, not extra taxes.
The concession of difficulty means there could be further uncertainty for businesses which expect a new government at the next election, although Mr Abbott said all legislation could be undone.
The Opposition Leader told a Minerals Council lunch that Labor was trying to “Abbott proof” its initiatives to prevent them being dumped by a change in government.
“They are trying to prevent the next elected government from undoing the harm that they have done,” he said in his speech.
“And there is no doubt that there are measures associated with both the mining tax and the carbon tax that will be difficult to undo.
“We will be able to deliver tax cuts without a carbon tax. We will be able to deliver pension improvements without a carbon tax.
“Because we won’t shirk the fiscal discipline that is necessary to ensure that sustainable tax cuts and sustainable increases can be delivered.”
Mr Abbott did not itemise the difficult sections of the carbon pricing scheme and the Minerals Resources Rental Tax.
But he told the lunch: “Let me assure you that a tax that has been put in place by legislation can be removed by legislation. What the Parliament does the Parliament can undo.”
Mr Abbott said the Government was moving away from its own Enterprise Migration Agreements to allow the use of skilled temporary migrants in big mining projects which could not find local labour to start up.
“What has happened over the last few days is that the unions have spooked the Prime Minister and now the Caucus has rolled the cabinet on these matters,” he said, referring to an internal Government debate over approving an EMA for a $9.5 billion project by Gina Rinehart in Western Australia.
“You can be absolutely confident that as time goes by, these Enterprise Migration Agreements will be more difficult to negotiate, more onerous and yet less useful to you in your desire to try to develop appropriately our country,” said Mr Abbott.
Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey accused Labor of dropping its pledge for a company tax cut and claimed there was a rift between Treasurer Wayne Swan and Finance Minister Penny Wong.
The Labor Government has dropped plans for a one per cent reduction in company tax, funded by the MRRT, because the Coalition and the Greens would not pass the legislation.
Mr Swan has said the Government still wanted a reduction, but Mr Hockey claimed Senator Wong said the cuts were “off the agenda”.
Asked in a Senate committee whether it was no longer policy to pursue the cuts Senator Wong said, “That’s already announced”.
Mr Hockey said on May 15 Mr Swan said the company tax relief was still on the agenda.