A possible deal between the federal government and Australian Greens on the debt ceiling and laws to abolish the carbon and mining taxes will dominate this year’s final fortnight of parliament.
While Labor and the Greens are showing no sign of allowing the carbon and mining tax abolition to go ahead, two Senate inquiry reports are expected to bolster the government’s argument for their repeal.
The Liberal-led inquiry into the minerals resource rent tax repeal bills and the Nationals-led inquiry into the carbon tax repeal package of bills will be tabled in the Senate on Monday.
However, Labor could be sidelined in the debate over legislation to raise the debt ceiling to $500 billion.
It is understood a deal could be cut between Treasurer Joe Hockey and the Greens on abolishing the ceiling altogether, rather than Labor’s preferred option of a $400 billion ceiling.
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen says Labor will always provide the government of the day with the debt cap necessary to ensure confidence, but won’t “write blank cheques”.
The coalition government will need the support of the Greens or Labor in the Senate to pass its laws, which Mr Hockey wants completed by December 12 when gross debt is set to exceed the current ceiling of $300 billion.
The House of Representatives will debate changes to industrial laws to bring back the Australian Building and Construction Commission and put in place a new anti-corruption watchdog with higher penalties for union fraud.
A Senate committee, chaired by the Nationals’ Bridget McKenzie, will report on the industrial bills on Monday.
Billionaire Clive Palmer will give his maiden speech late Monday afternoon and is expected to get his first question in Question Time during the week.
Question time is likely to be dominated by debate over the government’s plans to renege on schools funding agreements with the states and the rift with Indonesia over phone-tapping.
Three days of public hearings into grain ownership arrangements were in limbo on Friday, after Mr Hockey announced he had denied US food giant Archer Daniels Midland’s (ADM) bid to acquire 100 per cent of GrainCorp on national interest grounds.
The Senate rural and regional affairs committee inquiry was scheduled to hear from ADM, farmers’ associations, Graincorp, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Foreign Investment Review Board.
The Greens on Monday will seek Labor’s support in the Senate to disallow the reintroduction of temporary protection visas.
Labor abolished TPVs in office and has since opposed their reintroduction by the coalition.