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Uncertainty reigns in Australian parliament as mining king holds sway

Published on Jul 14, 2014 6:56 AM
 
Australian Politician Clive Palmer is pictured during a dinner hosted for Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Parliament House in Canberra, on July 8, 2014. It took mining magnate Clive Palmer only three days to show Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott just how uncomfortable life can be in a parliament in which he holds the balance of power. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - It took mining magnate Clive Palmer only three days to show Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott just how uncomfortable life can be in a parliament in which he holds the balance of power.

The neophyte Palmer United Party (PUP), set up by the eccentric billionaire little more than a year ago, on Thursday blocked the repeal of Australia's controversial carbon tax just hours after Abbott publicly said it would pass that day.

While the repeal is likely to succeed in an amended form when it comes back to a vote this week, the fact that it needed Palmer's imprimatur illustrates how much power he has amassed - and his willingness to use it.

The four senate seats Palmer controls give him a de facto veto over a raft of major legislation set to be considered this parliamentary term - which began in the upper house last week - including the repeal of a separate mining tax, as well as healthcare, pension and education reform.

 
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