Protest against Australia carbon tax

2011-08-16 13:00

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.

  • mnbain - 2011-08-16 13:21

    To promise not to do something and then be allowed to do it makes a mockery of elections.

      Hector Espresso - 2011-08-16 18:58

      Actually, politicians change track all the time, and so they must because circumstances change. Isn't it fair to suggest that during elections, candidates outline what they will do if they form a majority government, rather than a minority government? In the case of minority governments, many policy choices must be renegotiated because new partners are introduced.

  • rustic - 2011-08-16 17:00

    Tough being a parent is it, Julia Gillard?

      Hector Espresso - 2011-08-16 18:59

      What does this comment even mean? This is school yard stuff. Why write it on a news website?

  • Hector Espresso - 2011-08-16 18:55

    Actually, the Labor party were not "narrowly re-elected". They had the same number of members as the Coalition. It was only because Gillard negotiated an alliance with a Green and two Independents that Labor is in government. Forming alliances involves political compromises. If Abbott had have formed an alliance with the Greens - which he wanted to do - he too would have made some big political compromises. John Maynard Keynes once asked "Sir, when the facts change, I change my opinion. What do you do?". In this case, both the facts and the opinion changed. Politics is about balancing vision with compromise. The vision was to act on climate change, the compromise was cooperating with the Greens.

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