With even Labor MPs saying the party is in “no position to legislate” on a mining tax, opposition leader Tony Abbott has called the government “amateurs”.
Anthony Albanese, infrastructure minister and leader of the government in the House of Representatives, said constructive negotiations are continuing on the controversial mining profits tax, but priority for the next two week parliament sitting was passage of the parental leave scheme plus welfare and aviation safety reforms.
He said he was not going to pre-empt ongoing discussions on the resources tax.
“But obviously we are not in a position at the moment to legislate on this. we have made that very clear. It’s not about to come in in the next financial year so there is no need to do that,” he told ABC Television.
“My concern is that the Senate is being so obstructionist because of Tony Abbott’s position of opposition for opposition’s sake.”
Mr Albanese said the Senate had dealt with government business for less than 40 per cent of available time so far this year, a one third reduction.
Senate time was being taken up with private members and discussion but not legislation, he said
He said that the government priority was to get through the parental leave scheme, welfare reforms and aviation safety reforms in the next two weeks.
Mr Albanese said the opposition opposed the resources super tax and much else.
“Reforms is always controversial,” he said.
“But the shift from a production based tax to a profit based tax, that principle is agreed to by everyone including the Minerals Councils. Everyone except for Tony Abbott.”
Abbott says the disarray over the proposed resources super profits tax shows the federal government up as an amateur operation.
He said Kevin Rudd wants to have a great big fight followed by a great big backflip and that any policy that hurts Australian mining’s international competitiveness has to be bad for the industry, workers and retirees.
Greens leader Bob Brown has urged Labor to hold firm.