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What About 'Blocking Supply'?

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Christine Milne 1 Jun 2014

Why won't you block 'supply'?

The Greens will block the budget measures. We can block Tony Abbott’s cruel budget without resorting to brinkmanship or playing dangerous politics. And we will.
 
But blocking supply will cause whole of government shutdown and the kind of crisis where people don’t get paid. We don’t need to block supply in order to block Abbott and kick his Government out.
 
We will send the budget measures back and we are ready to fight an election on it.


What would happen if the Senate did block 'supply'?

If the Senate blocked ‘supply’ the whole of government services would grind to a halt from the 1st of July. This includes the 150,000 federal public servants not being paid. These are the public servants that make sure government services, like Medicare payments or social security pension or welfare payments, are paid to the people who need them. Without them government services would not be able to be delivered.


But we want to get rid of Abbott?

Blocking supply would not necessarily lead to a new election, nor get rid of the Abbott Government. Blocking supply would lead to a constitutional crisis and the power to call a new election, for the House of Representatives only, will still remain with the Prime Minister. This is not the best or fastest way to get rid of the Abbott Government. 
 
The most reliable and most rapid way to force a fresh election on the Abbott Government is by a double dissolution election  (s 57 of the Constitution). The first opportunity for the Senate to set up a double dissolution trigger will come in the next few sitting weeks when we reject, for the second time, the carbon price repeal bills. Similar opportunities will arise on the budget measures bills, such as GP co-payments or uni cuts, in the coming weeks as well. The Greens are ready to fight the Abbott Government at an election on carbon pricing or any of their cruel budget measures.


What will the Greens do to stand up to Abbott?

The Greens are ready to block every cruel measure in the Abbott Budget.
 
The Greens are ready to fight an election on these matters and will set up multiple double dissolution triggers so we can get rid of the Abbott Government.

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The impact of “blocking supply” by rejecting or delaying the appropriation bills is thus very significant because, without annual appropriations, there is no source of funding for delivering the wide range of services that government agencies deliver. There may be funds for paying pensions, allowances, tax refunds and a whole range of government payments, but there would be no funds lawfully available to pay for the administration of those payments, whether through direct salary or systems administration costs, or to contractors. The range of vital services that government delivers, including air and other transport safety services, quarantine protection, customs and border control operations, law enforcement and regulatory services, the administration of federal courts and tribunals, a multiplicity of research activities and the conduct of international relations could be compromised by the unavailability of funds to pay for them.

While it is expected that essential services would be maintained and employees would continue to work for deferred salary, the impact on the economy and the financial system through the failure of the government to pay its bills and honour its contracts cannot be estimated. That impact would be exacerbated by the inability of individual Commonwealth employees to pay their bills or buy goods and services.

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