Delays and failures to push through budget reforms have cost the Abbott government close to $5 billion this financial year.

16 of the government’s key initiatives have been opposed, some summarily refuted by the Senate. Some, like the fuel tax hike, welfare changes affecting those below the age of 30, and the co-payment increase for the pharmaceutical benefits scheme, had been factored into the proposed budget revenue for the 2014/15 financial year.

Whether or not the government can get some or all of these eventually passed is beside the point. The blocked reforms have prevented an estimated $5.07 billion in revenue from flowing into the government’s coffers.

Clive Palmer. Photo"

Clive Palmer. Photo”

In what can only be described as a costly negotiation blunder, the government was unable to secure the Greens agreement to a fuel excise. Delays in implementing cuts to the mining tax are leeching $2.9 billion from the government’s coffers, according to the Australian financial Review. All this while Australia’s jobless rate soars to a 12-year high.

Clive Palmer is exerting extraordinary power in a divided Senate. He is being feted by the government in an effort to pass some of the more controversial reforms. This week Mr Palmer had close discussions with Treasurer Joe Hockey and Education Minister Christopher Pyne. On Thursday he is due to meet with Health Minister Peter Dutton, to thrash out an agreement on the proposed $7 GP co-payment.

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