Prime Minister Tony Abbott has vowed that the government will stand firm and will not rest until the carbon tax is gone.
A proposal to repeal the tax was blocked in the Senate on Thursday after the Palmer United Party senators voted against the government plan.
Mr Abbott used a speech to party faithful at the LNP state conference in Brisbane on Saturday to say Thursday’s vote won’t deter his plans to scrap the tax.
It had been an “interesting week” in the Senate, he said, but the government wouldn’t be put off by a bad headline or “one or two parliamentary difficulties”.
“If we have a problem one day in the parliament, we will work, we will regroup, we will deal with it the next day,” he told the conference.
“If we have a problem, we don’t despair, we deal with it.
“We won’t rest until the carbon tax is gone. It’s adding nine per cent to your power bills. It’s a nine billion dollar handbrake on our economy … it must go.”
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann concurred, telling Sky News: “We are absolutely determined to persist until the carbon tax is gone.”
Mr Abbott refused to criticise PUP leader Clive Palmer’s involvement in last week’s Senate vote, instead switching the focus to Labor’s reluctance to rid Australia of the tax.
“We know that Mr Palmer will change his mind by Monday, but [opposition leader] Bill Shorten will still be there come Monday, come Tuesday, come next week, come next month, come next year, supporting putting your power prices up,” he said.
“Smiling every time your power bill increases.”
Mr Abbott also defended the government’s budget.
As a small but vocal group of protesters railed outside the conference centre against proposals such as the GP co-payment, university deregulation and social welfare reform, Mr Abbott said such measures must be undertaken.
“We have to make the tough decisions today to make tomorrow better,” he said.
“I say to the critics, `what is your alternative?’ Because if you have no ideas of your own, stop wrecking, and let those who have the ideas get on with the job of building a better Australia.”