The federal government has reached an agreement to repeal the mining tax with the legislation passing the senate.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann announced on Tuesday the government had sealed a deal with six crossbenchers, including Palmer United Party senators, to repeal the tax. The repeal legislation passed the senate 36 votes to 33.
The amendments ensure that the low-income super contribution will remain until June 30, 2017 and the income-support bonus will stay until December 31, 2016.
The school-kids bonus will be means tested so that only families earning up to $100,000 will qualify and it will remain until December 31, 2016.
Compulsory super will not increase from its current level until July 1, 2021 when it will rise to 10 per cent.
It will then increase annually until it reaches 12 per cent.
Senator Cormann said the amendments will have a neutral impact on the budget.
The Government suspended standing orders to bring on the bill at the start of parliament on Tuesday, after it passed the lower house one day earlier.
Deal with PUP
PUP Senate leader Glenn Lazarus said the minor party had always supported scrapping the MRRT because it was an “unfair” impost that diminished Australia’s competitiveness.
But PUP wouldn’t allow the repeal to go ahead unless those key initiatives to assist families were left untouched.
“Palmer United are grateful that the government has agreed to our insistence that the mining tax be removed while still retaining these important measures,” he told the chamber on Tuesday.
“This is a win for hardworking Australians across the country.”
PUP also secured government support to set up two parliamentary committees as part of the negotiations.
The first will explore the possibility of establishing a new Australia Fund to deal with natural disasters, while the other will look at ways of boosting national trade and investment.
‘A dirty deal’: Labor, Greens
Labor’s senate leader Penny Wong said the government rammed the legislation through parliament in a “stealth attack”.
This was another “dirty deal” by the coalition, she told the parliament.
“They want the bloke, the treasurer of this country, the bloke who thinks poor people don’t drive cars to have the discretion as to whether Australians should get superannuation,” she said.
She lashed out at the crossbenchers involved in the governments deal, saying they were part of a scheme to rush through the bill and truncate debate.
“We in the opposition have tried to deal with you with courtesy,” she told crossbenchers.
Greens leader Christine Milne said the government and Palmer United Party has treated the Senate with contempt.
— Scott Ludlam (@SenatorLudlam) September 2, 2014
“Within one hour they want to come in here, circulate amendments, just bang them on the desk and say it doesn’t matter what you think about it, we’ve done the deal, we’ve got the numbers, we can ram it through,” Senator Milne said.
The government were simply giving billionaire miner Clive Palmer what he wanted, she said.
“And that is get rid of the mining tax for big miners.”