With minor parties and the Greens controlling the balance of power in the Senate, Australia’s leading business groups are concerned the attempted eradication of the carbon tax could lead to a double dissolution. The Liberal Party easily formed a majority government, claiming a probable 90 seats in the House of Representatives to Labor’s 57. Prime Minister elect Tony Abbott has declared Australia ‘open for business’, with promises to move on eradicating the carbon tax, act quickly on border protection policies, initiate sweeping cuts across the public sector and move Australia’s economy back into a surplus.
However the attention has now been diverted to who will be controlling the Senate, with the Coalition holding 32 seats to Labor’s 25. This balance will now include discussions with the Independents, new minor parties and the Greens.
It’s a challenge that is unsettling Australia’s business collective, with the looming possibility of a double dissolution. Speaking to the Financial Review, Business Council of Australia President Tony Shepherd said:
“I would say to the Senate that the majority of people have voted in favour of the Coalition and you better have a damn good look at your own conscience if you vote again. A double-dissolution is not good for anybody…but we can’t be stuck with dud policies.”
However it’s an environment that is predicted to be hostile. Possible new Labor leader Bill Shorten said Tony Abbott will face a particular challenge with regards to the carbon tax, which was designed by former Labor MP Greg Combet.
“I can say now, Labor believes in the science of climate change,” Mr Shorten said. “We believe there should be a price on carbon pollution.” (also reported in the Financial Review)
Meanwhile, the revamp of an NBN will be an area of concern for businesses invested in the ICT, online publishing and other business communications.
For more information on the key public sector changes that will affect your investment in health, education and government please follow the A-ZGovBIZ Twitter account or read our blog Business2Government.