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Did Clive Palmer really welch on the Carbon Tax repeal?

The Prime minister last week accused Clive Palmer of changing his mind, when Palmer United Party senators voted against the Carbon Tax Repeal bill.

Is that fair and accurate?

Well, Clive Palmer did say that the Palmer United Party would help to repeal the ‘carbon tax’.
But he also stated that he would not support changes to the Australian Renewable Energy Authority (ARENA), which is completely reasonable as Tony Abbott promised support for ARENA before the election.
Since the election, the Liberal-National coalition parliamentarians have changed their minds on ARENA, and now wants to scrap it.

So how did the Abbott government decide to destroy ARENA when Clive Palmer was against the move?

Carbon Tax repeal cover
They tried to use the carbon tax repeal bill as a Trojan horse, hiding de-funding (or pushing funding out beyond the life of this parliament) of ARENA on the second last page of the 94 page bill.

ARENA defunding

(The ‘Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill’ can be found here.)

The Government has not provided the PUP with staff, and the Government clearly did not expect the PUP to find this clause.
Well, it turns out that Clive Palmer knows how to read a legal document.
(Did they really expect the head of a billion dollar group of companies not to read what he was asked to agree to?)
Was Clive Palmer justified in saying he’d been double-crossed?
How would you feel if you had been asked to sign a contract purporting to be for one purpose, but with a big sting in the tail, giving effect to something you had declared that you did not support?
It would be like being given a contract to sell your car, only to find that there was a clause throwing your house into the deal.
This would not be acceptable behaviour in any business, let alone the business of running the country.

To add insult, it was Clive Palmer who was then accused of being fickle and unpredictable.

In summary,   it isn’t Clive Palmer that has changed his mind, or gone back on his promises.


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Geoff is the founder and managing director of Genesis Now, and winner of the 2013 Energy Efficiency Champion award (Energy Efficiency Council).