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Senate challenge for PM

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott will fly into Canberra buoyed by his successful overseas trip, but will face the same troubles getting the government’s legislation through parliament.

Parliament resumes for a fortnight before the new, more conservative Senate takes effect, and Greens leader Christine Milne is threatening to force a vote on a piece of the government’s climate legislation.

PM hails ‘successful’ world tour

While much of the past month has been focused on the Abbott government’s first budget, and what may or may not be passed by the Senate, Senator Milne wants to return attention to the government’s troubled climate change agenda.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott during his US visit. Photo: AAP.

The Greens will this week move for a vote on the government’s plans to abolish the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation, set up by the previous Labor government to provide support for renewable energy projects.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (Abolition) Bill 2013 has already been voted down by the Greens and Labor in the Senate, and a second rejection would give the prime minister a first trigger to call a double dissolution election.

Senator Milne said the Greens were ready for an early election.

“If the prime minister refuses to follow through on his threats for a new election the unpopularity of his brutal budget and global warming policy sham will be fully exposed once and for all. He will be a lame duck,” Senator Milne said.

Mr Abbott will return from his trip to Indonesia, Europe, Canada and the US early on Monday morning, with question time likely to again be dominated by the budget.

Slated for consideration in the Senate is the government’s temporary levy on high income earners, which Labor is expected to pass despite complaints it breaks a pledge for no new taxes.

The Senate will also debate another environment-related bill, the coalition’s plans to establish a 15,000 strong Green Army.

Legislation to set up an Asset Recycling Fund to pay for new infrastructure will again be discussed in the House of Representatives, as will changes to the Fair Work Act that curtail unions’ right of entry to workplaces.

Federal politicians will be welcomed back to Parliament House by protesting cleaners angry about pay cuts, with a rally planned for Monday.

The government’s July 1 removal of the Commonwealth Cleaning Services Guidelines will see some workers lose more than $170 a week, union United Voice says.

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