Labor MP Tim Watts says his party won't block supply bills, despite calls by independent Andrew Wilkie, but will act on measures presented separately.
Source:
AAP
3 Jun 2014 - 10:42 PM  UPDATED 4 Jun 2014 - 6:16 AM

Blocking supply would create a noose for the neck of any future Labor government that did not control the upper house.

That's the message Labor MP Tim Watts wants his party's constituents to hear, after the latest Essential poll found 47 per cent of voters would support the opposition blocking the budget bills.

To do so Labor would have to vote against the government's three appropriation bills, which were introduced following the budget announcement and allow the government to spend money.

It's a move independent MP Andrew Wilkie is willing to make, and he wants Labor, the Australian Greens and the Palmer United Party to sign on.

On Tuesday he said snubbing his request would demonstrate their support for "the weight of the budget".

But Labor isn't falling for it.

Mr Watts said blocking supply was not only anti-democratic, it would take Australia down the path of "[US] Tea Party-style politics".

"Any opposition that uses the Senate to block supply would be creating a noose for its own neck should it ever form government and not control the upper house itself," he told parliament.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has repeatedly confirmed his party's opposition to the Medicare co-payment, fuel excise increases and changes to pensions and higher education fees.

Those measures can be blocked separately.

But blocking the appropriation bills, which encompass cuts to the ABC, SBS and the CSIRO, would mean the government wouldn't have funds to run government departments from July 1.

The move would be extreme, unprecedented and would contravene fragile "unwritten conventions of behaviour", Mr Watts said.

"Our democratic institutions are too important to trash for short-term political gain," he said.

"Unseating the Abbott government should be a marathon, not a sprint."