Australia passes divisive carbon tax

2011-10-12 17:32

kalahari.com

Sydney - 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 01 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.

The tax bills are expected to pass in the Senate next month with the support of the Greens.

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.

Challenge

While Gillard managed to get her Clean Energy Bill 2011 through parliament 74 votes to 72, it is bitterly opposed 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 have 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 as speculation that Rudd - who is far more popular with the electorate than Gillard, whose approval rating has hit record lows in recent months - will mount a challenge to her leadership.

And it follows the government's embarrassing failure to introduce its plan to send boatpeople to Malaysia, after the deal was rule invalid by the High Court.

The prime minister, who leads a minority government 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.

"When there is a significant change like this one, we have to keep explaining it," she said.

But opposition leader Tony Abbott pledged to repeal the tax if elected to government at the next national polls - not expected until late 2013.

Stronger economy

"I am giving you the most definite commitment any politician can give that this tax will go," he told state broadcaster ABC.

"This is a pledge in blood. This tax will go."

Environmental groups welcomed approval of the tax, 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.

"Today our MPs have voted 'yes' to creating a stronger economy, 'yes' to new jobs in clean industries and 'yes' to giving our wildlife a fighting chance," WWF-Australia chief executive Dermot O'Gorman said.

"The greening of Australia is well under way," added Greens leader Bob Brown.

Read more on:    julia gillard  |  australia  |  environment
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
8 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

DA wants to empower fishing communities - Zille

DA leader Helen Zille says the party has a plan for harbours and small-scale fishing communities.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9360

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone comes preloaded with Blackberry OS7...

From R1595.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. ...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.