Politicians may spend Christmas break in Canberra
AN IMPASSE over Tony Abbott's key election pledges on temporary protection visas, the carbon and mining taxes could force politicians back to Canberra over the traditional Christmas break.
Prime Minister Abbott made the threat during party room meetings in Canberra today, hours after Labor and The Greens voted down the Coalition's reintroduction of TPV's for asylum seekers.
The visas, which were a key part of the Howard Government's immigration policy, were promised as part the Coalition's policies tackle people smuggling.
But Mr Abbott said if the TPV's, carbon tax, mining tax, and moves to increase the debt ceiling; were not resolved, he was prepared to extend sittings over the Christmas period.
He said the government had a mandate on all those issues, and the Labor Party and The Greens were only disregarding voters by trying to stop the changes on each front.
Mr Abbott also accused the Opposition of trying to "sabotage" the government's agenda by opposing the repeal of the carbon tax and re-introduction of TPVs.
"The Labor Party is doing its best to sabotage those policies, the Labor Party is doing its best to give the two finger salute to the Australian people," he said.
"The public have voted for a change of government and a change of policy...as far as I'm concerned parliament should sit and do its job," he said.
"I want to ramp up the pressure on the Labor Party."
The parliament is scheduled to finish up at the end of next week, but Mr Abbott's decision would force politicians to try to bridge the gap on the Coalition's key election policies before the festive season.
Labor frontbencher and Manager of Opposition Business Tony Burke said the Opposition was prepared to sit over the usual recess, if required.
He told Sky News on Tuesday that if Mr Abbott wanted the parliament to sit "then we'll be here, we'll be here with sleeves rolled up, ready to our job".
However, with neither the Opposition nor The Greens willing to budge on the carbon and mining taxes, or TPV's, Mr Abbott may yet be forced to deliver on his threat.
Such a move would mean the Senate, which is not beholden to the Prime Minister's schedule, to decide if it would also sit, but it was unlikely the Senate would oppose the call.