The final week of parliament will be dominated by discussion of debt, jobs and the carbon tax.
The Australian Greens will throw the coalition government a lifeline on Monday when the Senate is expected to pass laws abolishing the debt ceiling.
Amendments to the debt ceiling bill will go through the upper house in the final week of parliament sittings for the year.
The government initially tried to raise the debt ceiling to $500 billion but, after failing to secure the Senate’s support, instead made a deal with the Greens to abolish the ceiling.
Debate will then resume on another Liberal-National coalition election promise – laws to abolish the carbon tax and its associated entities, such as the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
But the Greens and Labor have vowed to block the repeal, paving the way for a potential double-dissolution trigger if the bills are blocked twice.
While Prime Minister Tony Abbott earlier this week threatened to keep parliament sitting until Christmas to pass the carbon tax repeal, a Labor source said the opposition had not yet received any request from the government to change the pattern or hours of the Senate.
The opposition is also hopeful of frustrating the government over another piece of legislation, to impose tougher penalties on corrupt union officials and employer-body representatives.
Manager of opposition business Senator Claire Moore sought a references committee inquiry into the laws to report at the end of March.
Opposition transport spokesman Anthony Albanese will present a private member’s bill to set up a high-speed rail planning authority and start preserving a corridor between Brisbane and Melbourne for the project.
While in government, Labor conducted a feasibility study that found a high-speed rail link from Brisbane to Melbourne via Sydney and Canberra would cost $114 billion and, if operational by 2065, would carry 84 million passengers a year.
The Senate’s community affairs committee will hold hearings on Monday and Tuesday to examine a bill repealing Labor’s problem gambling reforms, as well as making changes to payments for family and parents and student entitlements.
The inquiry will report on December 12.
Democratic Labour Party senator John Madigan will seek parliament’s support for an inquiry into changing the constitution to confirm all powers for making marriage laws lie with the Commonwealth, and that those powers can only be used to confirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
The move comes as the High Court considers the validity of ACT laws to allow same-sex marriage.
Liberal senator Dean Smith will call for an inquiry into ways to help grandparents raising their grandchildren when parents are unable or unwilling to do so.
Labor will seek an inquiry into the impact of cuts to overseas aid and the merger of AusAID into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Question Time is expected to be dominated by debate over the future of the car industry and Qantas, as well as the secrecy behind the government’s immigration policies.
Mr Abbott will meet with the premiers and chief ministers for the Council of Australian Governments on December 13.