Australian Greens leader Christine Milne has left open the possibility of flicking the government’s carbon tax repeal legislation to a Senate committee, delaying a vote until well into 2014.
The government will introduce a package of eight bills to parliament in November hoping the Senate will consider them before Christmas.
However, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has acknowledged an unsympathetic upper house may stymie that timetable.
Asked if the Greens and Labor would use their controlling numbers in the Senate to send the bill to a committee, potentially delaying the vote for months, Senator Milne told reporters in Canberra on Thursday: “We’ll look at all the parliamentary options that we have when the legislation is introduced.
“Rest assured, given the opportunity to vote on it we will vote on it and vote against any repeal.”
How the Greens would deal with the parliamentary process depended on “how things come through”.
Both the Greens and Labor have said they will block the repeal of the carbon tax, prompting threats from Mr Abbott of a double-dissolution election.
But Senator Milne said the prime minister would “run a mile” from going to the polls next year.
“I don’t think Tony Abbott will have the courage to face the people,” she said, adding the Greens “absolutely” did not think it was in the national interest to rush to an election.
There has been speculation that Mr Abbott may wait for the half-Senate changeover in July, which will transfer the balance of power to the more like-minded mix of the Palmer United Party bloc and conservative independents.