Australia: Gillard secures historic carbon tax winBy Rowena Dela Rosa Yoon Nov 08, 2011 9:02PM UTC
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard finally made it! The Australian Senate today passed the Clean Energy Future legislation otherwise known as the carbon tax bill ending the prolonged political circus between the opposition and the coalition parties.
It is a historic day for Gillard who fought for the bill against all odds, a feat which many of her male counterparts has failed to accomplished. The Greens, however, gets the credit for bringing the carbon tax to life.
Political observers note the Greens had pushed the minority Labor government to put back on the agenda what Kevin Rudd has promised during his leadership. The Greens were the ones who exploited the opportunity to back a minority government forcing Gillard to backflip on her election promise.
The Greens, are therefore, celebrating what they consider a “historic day” for Australia.
“Today is the day that Australia lays the foundation for a whole economic transformation and it’s the day we start serious action to tackle the climate crisis,” Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said in a press release.
The passage of the bill means the beginning of building a clean, zero carbon economy and seizing the opportunities of creating jobs and investment and putting our economy on a 21st century track.
More importantly, the passage ushers in the beginning of the end for Tony Abbott, Milne joked.
She noted how Abbott put up a 12-month scare campaign based on “lies and exaggerations” and staked his career on destabilising the Gillard Government.
She said that all negativity about the clean energy law must end and that there will be a psychological shift in Australia as people see less tax coming out of their pay or more in their support payments and then look to see how they can positively contribute to the task of tackling the climate crisis.
Milne said, “He has failed on both counts and, instead of standing and facing the music, he has cut and run.”
Greens leader Bob Brown led the celebration but he said the package of laws was “timid and short of the mark.” He is optimistic, however, that people 50 or 500 years from now will be thankful.
The price carbon will begin on July 1, 2012 with a $23-per-tonne carbon tax on the 500 biggest polluters. The tax will then move towards a market-driven emissions trading scheme (ETS) in 2015.
The carbon tax aims to cut Australia’s emissions by five percent from year 2000 levels by the year 2020, and bring emissions down 80 percent by 2050.
After the bill passed Ms Gillard commented that from today Australia would address the problems of climate change including “extreme weather” such as floods and storms.
Since John Howard launched the idea of an ETS in 2007, the carbon tax question has been fiercely debated by politicians, manufacturing and business groups. Both Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull lost the leadership of their parties over the issue with their predecessors, Gillard and Abbott, continuing the political debate over the carbon tax.