News National Abbott tells Labor to wake up on carbon

Abbott tells Labor to wake up on carbon

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott has called on Labor to wake up to itself and back laws to scrap the mining and carbon taxes.

With parliament resuming on Tuesday, Mr Abbott has talked up his government’s plans for the new year, including the abolition of both taxes.

“By July, Labor’s carbon tax and the mining tax should be history – especially if Labor wakes up to itself,” Mr Abbott said in a YouTube message broadcast on Sunday night.

The government is demanding Labor and the Greens get out of the way of its attempts to crack down on union corruption and abolish the carbon tax.

Continued debate on the package of carbon tax bills will be the first item of business for the Senate.

But despite demands Labor and Greens back the legislation, it’s understood the government won’t force a vote by trying to guillotine the debate.

“The government wants the Senate to deal with the carbon tax bills as a matter of priority,” Environment Minister Greg Hunt has told AAP.

With Mr Abbott set to announce a royal commission into the unions, Employment Minister Eric Abetz will raise a Senate motion to debate recent revelations of union corruption and the need for a tougher construction industry watchdog.

The government wants to put pressure on Labor to back re-establishing the Building and Construction Commission in the Senate.

Mr Abbott said the government was bringing back a “tough cop on the beat in that troubled industry”.

“We don’t want honest workers to be ripped off by dishonest union bosses,” he said.

Keeping its focus on industrial relations, the government will also target union access to the workplace with changes to the Fair Work Act.

The Fair Work Amendment Bill will overturn Labor’s changes of last year, which controversially allow unions to hold lunchroom meetings.

Mr Abbott will also deliver the Closing the Gap speech on Wednesday, outlining the government’s plans to improve indigenous health, education and job prospects.

A new allowance for financially strapped farmers and a hike in cigarette taxes have been slated.

Treasurer Joe Hockey will receive an interim report from the national commission of audit, which is investigating ways to make government more efficient and provide areas for budget savings.

Mr Abbott said the audit was under way “to give you better value for your tax dollars”.

Opposition finance spokesman Tony Burke says the report should be released the day it is received.

“It’s time for him to come clean and tell Australians what services face the chopping block,” he told AAP.