Dawson MP George Christensen said he would not quit the government following calls from Senator Watts for him to resign.
Dawson MP George Christensen said he would not quit the government following calls from Senator Watts for him to resign. MICK TSIKAS

George Christensen refuses to quit government

"Is Dawson MP George Christensen going to quit?”

Those were the words from Queensland Labor Senator Murray Watts who has called on the controversial MP to step down from the LNP following the federal government's announcement to proceed with a revised backpacker tax.

The government declared the backpacker tax would be lowered to 19 cents in the dollar following internal dissent within the government and criticism from tourism and agricultural sectors.

Mr Christensen was the most vocal critic within the government threatening to quit if the tax remained.

"Mr Christensen has been taking a victory lap around Canberra, claiming he's had a win," Senator Watts said.

"Instead, he should deliver on his pre-election commitment to quit the government."

Mr Christensen defended the changes claiming Senator Watts misunderstood his position.

"I wanted to see that backpacker tax gone and what I clearly meant by that was the 32.5 cent to the dollar rate," he said.

"My commentary all about this debate has been that that tax rate needs to be lowered to 15-19 cents. I said that before the election, I said that after the election.

"Never have I thought backpackers should be paying no tax, if that is indeed what Senator Watts thinks, then he probably needs to explain to Australian workers how that is fair."

Queensland Labor Senator Murray Watt is calling on George Christensen to quit the LNP.
Queensland Labor Senator Murray Watt is calling on George Christensen to quit the LNP. Emily Smith

Mr Watts said this is the third time since the election that Mr Christensen has caved in to his masters in Canberra.

"Before the election, he promised to support a royal commission into the banks. After the election, he voted to stop a royal commission,” Mr Watts said.

"Before the election, he promised to cross the floor, to stop the Government's proposed superannuation changes. After the election, he said he will support them.

"And now he's caved in on the backpacker tax, despite being elected on a promise to kill it off.

"George Christensen says one thing in Mackay, and does another thing in Canberra.”

The 19 cent in the dollar rate will apply to backpacker workers from January 1 2017. 


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