. Energy News .

Australian parliament passes divisive carbon tax
by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) Oct 12, 2011

Australia's lower house on Wednesday passed a contentious new tax on carbon pollution to combat climate change which has angered many voters and threatens Prime Minister Julia Gillard's hold on power.

After years of heated debate, the government won the count on what it said was the most important environmental and economic reform in a generation.

"Today is a significant day for Australians and the Australians of the future who want to see a better environment," Gillard said ahead of the parliamentary vote, which must now win approval in the upper house Senate.

The deeply divisive levy will mean the nation's biggest producers of carbon emissions will be forced to "pay to pollute" from July 1, 2012 -- initially at a fixed price before moving to a market-based trading scheme.

Government ministers embraced and clapped after the vote, with Prime Minister Julia Gillard exchanging kisses with the man she ousted to become leader, Kevin Rudd, in the celebrations.

But the prime minister was later repeatedly heckled during Question Time by scores of protesters in the public gallery, who accused Gillard of breaking election promises and chanted "democracy is dead" and "no mandate".

"The people are very angry and frustrated and don't know what to do because the government says they are of no consequence," said one of the demonstrators, Peter Madden, after being asked to leave the gallery.

The tax bills are expected to pass in the Greens party-controlled Senate next month, and the government says it will soon begin discussions on linking the scheme to other carbon markets.

Australia, one of the world's worst per capita polluters and a major exporter of coal, has long grappled with how to combat climate change but previous bills to introduce emissions trading schemes have been defeated.

While Gillard managed to get her Clean Energy Bill 2011 through parliament 74 votes to 72, it is bitterly contested by the conservative opposition which argues it will be ineffective, cut jobs and increase the cost of living.

The row over climate change has brought down former prime minister Rudd and two leaders of the opposition in the last two years and made Gillard extremely unpopular with voters.

Thousands protested at rallies nationwide against the levy, accusing Gillard of lying when she said ahead of her narrow August 2010 election win that there would be no carbon tax under a government she led.

The parliamentary win comes amid speculation that Rudd -- who is far more popular with the electorate than the dismally-polling Gillard -- will mount a challenge to her leadership.

And it follows the embarrassing failure of Gillard's plan to send boatpeople to Malaysia, after the deal was ruled invalid by the High Court.

The prime minister, who leads a minority coalition with the Greens and three independent MPs, defended the government's campaign in favour of its carbon tax, which opinion polls show is opposed by a majority of voters.

"The vast majority of Australians believe in climate change," Gillard said.

But opposition leader Tony Abbott accused the prime minister of "betraying the Australian people with the introduction of the world's biggest carbon tax".

He gave a "pledge in blood" to repeal the tax if elected to government at the next national polls -- not expected until late 2013.

Environmental groups welcomed approval of the levy, which they hope will help secure the future of national treasures such as the Great Barrier Reef and encourage greater global action on climate change.

The tax, which will place a fixed price of Aus$23 (US$22.83) per tonne on carbon pollution for the first three years before shifting to a market-based trading scheme, aims to cut emissions by 80 percent of 2000 levels by 2050.

Related Links

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Australian parliament approves carbon tax
Sydney (AFP) Oct 12, 2011
Australia's lower house of parliament passed a contentious new tax on carbon pollution to combat climate change on Wednesday, culminating years of heated debate. The deeply divisive levy will mean the nation's biggest producers of carbon emissions will be forced to pay to pollute from July 1, 2012 - initially at a fixed price before moving to a market-based trading scheme. Government mi ... read more

Australian parliament passes divisive carbon tax

Australian parliament approves carbon tax

China says 'progress' made in Russian energy talks

Emissions rising from 'carbonizing dragon'

Russia's Putin ends China trip with no gas deal

Ionic liquid catalyst helps turn emissions into fuel

China, Vietnam agree 'friendly' approach to sea dispute

Physicists Turn Liquid into Solid Using an Electric Field

Euro Bank: Wind policy 'direction' needed

Natural Power US to act as Owner's Engineer on 2.1GW Wyoming wind farm

Natural Power deploys first dual-mode ZephIR wind lidar in India

New energy in search for future wind

SolarBridge Technologies Wins US DoE ARPA-E Grant

Critical Minerals Ignite Geopolitical Storm

SOLON and PG and E 15-MW Five Points Solar PV Station Goes Live

Renewvia Energy and PSE and G Cut Ribbon on Milestone Solar Project

Areva's Finnish EPR reactor delayed again

Taiwan, China to sign nuclear safety pact

China to lead in new nuclear reactors?

Green light for nuclear expansion in Britain: minister

Certain biofuel mandates unlikely to be met by 2022

US unlikely to hit Renewable Fuel Standard for cellulosic biofuels

Advancing next gen biofuels by turning up the heat on biomass pretreatment processes

From compost to sustainable fuels as heat loving fungi sequenced

China's first space lab module in good condition

Takeoff For Tiangong

Snafu as China space launch set to US patriotic song

Civilians given chance to reach for the stars

The Baltic Sea contributes carbon dioxide to the atmosphere

Changes in rainfall patterns are projected for next 30 years

Australia's carbon tax moves forward

Laying The Blame For Extreme Weather


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement