Protest against Australia carbon tax
Canberra - More than 2 000 protesters gathered outside Australia's Parliament House on Tuesday to demonstrate against government plans to make the country's biggest air polluters pay a tax on the carbon gas that they produce.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is set to pass the unpopular tax with the support of independent lawmakers and the environmentally focused Greens party.
Protesters complained that Gillard had promised not to introduce a carbon tax when her centre-left Labour Party was narrowly re-elected in 2010. Some called for a new election.
Gillard plans to impose a A$23 ($23.63) tax on every metric ton of carbon gas produced starting July 1 2012.
The opposition called on Gillard to apologise to Parliament for winning the last election on a falsehood - that her government would not tax carbon.
But Gillard said the carbon tax deal she struck with the independents and Greens was the best option for Australia's future.
"I take the responsibility for having made that decision. I understand that has caused disappointment among many," Gillard told Parliament. "But you get elected to this position to make the tough decisions that are important for the nation's future."
The protest coincided with Parliament's first session following a five-week break.