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Govt loses vote after One Nation no show

AAP logoAAP 23/11/2016 Belinda Merhab

The Turnbull government has been hit by yet another embarrassing parliamentary blunder after a One Nation no show killed off its proposed $5 departure tax hike.

Labor, Greens and crossbenchers Jacqui Lambie and David Leyonhjelm joined forces to kill the legislation, defeating it 31-30 at the second reading in the Senate on Wednesday night.

The three Nick Xenophon Team senators, Derryn Hinch and two One Nation senators voted with the government but Pauline Hanson and her One Nation colleague Brian Burston missed the vote.

The government is now planning to recommit the vote.

The government proposed hiking the departure tax paid by passengers at airports to $60 to help pay for the changes to its revised backpacker tax.

The remaining backpacker tax bills were read a second time and are listed as the first items of government business on Thursday.

Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson said he was glad to see the "stupid" policy defeated.

"A move to penalise tourists on top of penalising backpackers was bad policy that was penny pinching at best, and massively counterproductive at worst," he told AAP.

The latest debacle continues 18 months of to-ing and fro-ing over the backpacker tax.

The government first proposed a 32.5 per cent tax rate in its 2015 budget but announced during the election campaign it was putting that on ice pending a review.

It's now proposing a 19 per cent tax but Labor, Greens and crossbenchers want 10.5 per cent.

The government has faced a string of embarrassing procedural stuff-ups in the lower house since it was re-elected with a slim majority.

It lost control of the House when a number of MPs left early and also accidentally endorsed a call to explain its own failures on multinational tax avoidance.

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