Daily Bulletin


The Conversation

  • Written by Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra
The Conversation

In an intervention that would resonate with the late Brian Harradine, who was legendary for extracting concessions for Tasmania in return for his Senate vote, Jacqui Lambie has demanded the federal government forgive the state’s housing debt.

The Tasmanian senator – who has returned to the parliament after being disqualified in the citizenship crisis – is the last vital vote if the government is to rely on the crossbench, rather than Labor, to pass its tax package intact on Thursday.

Lambie refused to be drawn publicly until this week, although she’s had plenty of attention. For example the two Centre Alliance senators, Stirling Griff and Rex Patrick, journeyed to Davonport to see her. She and they agreed to keep in touch as issues came up.

In the last couple of days, sources have been sure Lambie was in the government’s tax cart.

But on the eve of the vote, she issued a strong statement and video, saying she had “yet to arrive at a final position”. (She supports the first and second stage of the package but is arguing over the final one, delivered years on.)

She condemned homelessness in Tasmania, linking it to the $157 million the state owes the federal government in social housing debt (involving payments of some $15 million a year).

Read more: Councils' help with affordable housing shows how local government can make a difference

These debts are from funds borrowed by the states and territories from the federal government between 1945 and 1989 to build new housing, maintain existing stock and provide housing assistance.

“Tasmania is paying 50c in every dollar of our state housing budget back to the federal government in interest and debt repayments. That means we are building half as many homes, helping half as many people,” Lambie said.

“This debt is holding Tasmania back and denying shelter to thousands of Tasmanian families. The Commonwealth coffers don’t need $15 million a year from the Tasmanian budget,” she said.

“It’s only by having the balance of power for Tasmania in the Senate that real debt relief is going to happen and that’s what I am here to fight for.

"There is no way in good conscience I can vote for substantial tax cuts without making sure that the people who so desperately need a roof over their heads aren’t left to go without.”

The Tasmanian Liberal government has been pressing the federal government to forgive the debt, although Tasmanian Liberal senator Eric Abetz has opposed that, saying it would lead to demands from other states.

The Morrison government has claimed it won’t do any deals in its push to get the tax package through. In fact, this has not been true – Centre Alliance is confident, following detailed negotiations, there will be measures on gas policy to help smooth the way for its votes.

But Lambie’s demand is a very direct quid pro quo.

Senate leader Mathias Cormann, the government’s negotiator on the tax package, declared on Wednesday: “We are always happy to engage with senators in relation to issues of concern to them and their constituents”.

Read more: Grattan on Friday: Those tax cuts test Albanese and provoke Hanson

There is a general expectation the tax package with its three stages intact will be passed this week. It’s just a matter of who is blinking.

Does the government throw some money at Lambie, not just to secure her support on this measure but to keep her on side for the future?

Would Lambie retreat from her stand if she was not accommodated and still vote with the government on the package - or would she have a long-lasting hissy fit?

According to some sources, a fix was likely already in with Lambie on Wednesday.

Anyway, Labor is there as a fallback. Despite its objections to stage three, it can’t afford to be endlessly blamed for blocking tax relief.

Regardless, it was clear that every which way Pauline Hanson’s One Nation had been left out in the cold.

Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Read more http://theconversation.com/view-from-the-hill-jacqui-lambie-plays-the-harradine-game-119824

Writers Wanted

Not feeling motivated to tackle those sneaky COVID kilos? Try these 4 healthy eating tips instead

arrow_forward

Sydney Festival review: The Rise and Fall of Saint George shows the transformative power of music

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Prime Minister's Remarks to Joint Party Room

PRIME MINISTER: Well, it is great to be back in the party room, the joint party room. It’s great to have everybody back here. It’s great to officially welcome Garth who joins us. Welcome, Garth...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

BEN FORDHAM: Scott Morrison, good morning to you.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Ben. How are you?    FORDHAM: Good. How many days have you got to go?   PRIME MINISTER: I've got another we...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Business News

7 foolproof tips for bidding successfully at a property auction

Auctions can be beneficial for prospective buyers, as they are transparent and fair. If you reach the limit you are willing to pay, you can simply walk away. Another benefit of an auction is tha...

Dominique Grubisa - avatar Dominique Grubisa

Getting Ready to Code? These Popular and Easy Programming Languages Can Get You Started

According to HOLP (History Encyclopedia of Programing Languages), there are more than 8,000 programming languages, some dating as far back as the 18th century. Although there might be as many pr...

News Co - avatar News Co

Avoid These Mistakes When Changing up Your Executive Career

Switching up industries is a valid move at any stage in your career, even if you’re an executive. Doing so at this stage can be a lot more intimidating, however, and it can be quite difficult know...

News Co - avatar News Co



News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion