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Senate set for a showdown next week

AAP logoAAP 17/11/2016 Belinda Merhab

The Senate is set for a showdown next week as the government puts up some of its most controversial bills for debate:

BUILDING INDUSTRY WATCHDOG: The government is finally putting up its legislation to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission - one of the industrial relations bills Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull used to trigger the July 2 double-dissolution election. It follows weeks of uncertainty after the government refused to say whether the legislation would be put on the Senate's agenda before the end of the year and Turnbull insisted he wouldn't put it up until he was sure he had the numbers. With Labor and the Greens opposed, and several crossbenchers keeping their cards close to their chest, it's unclear whether it will fail again. If it does, the government can put the bill before a joint sitting of both houses of parliament.

REGISTERED ORGANISATIONS: The other industrial relations bill Turnbull used to trigger the double-dissolution election is up first thing on Monday morning. It establishes a new Registered Organisations Commission to oversee unions and their officials. Labor and the Greens oppose this one too, but it looks like the government may secure crossbench support.

SUPERANNUATION: The government's new superannuation package - amended after a backlash from its own backbenchers - is set to come up on Wednesday, when a Senate inquiry is due to report back. Individuals with a super balance of more than $1.6 million will no longer be eligible to make after-tax contributions, while non-concessional super contributions will be limited to $100,000 per year from July 1, 2017 compared to $180,000 now. Labor supports parts of the package and will seek to make amendments.

BACKPACKER TAX: After 18 months of toing and froing, the uncertainty over this controversial tax looks set to continue with the government unlikely to get legislation through the Senate without amendments. 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 come back with 19 per cent but Labor, Greens and cross benchers want 10.5 per cent.

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