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Tag Archives: carbon tax

Adam Morton

June 26, 2012

85 per cent of of 38 firms directly liable for the carbon price have a carbon strategy in place.85 per cent of of 38 firms directly liable for the carbon price have a carbon strategy in place. Photo: Reuters

BUSINESS leaders overwhelmingly believe carbon pricing will survive and those directly affected have started taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a survey of senior executives.

The survey of 136 executives commissioned by multinational GE found nearly three-quarters believed the carbon price scheme would remain despite the Coalition’s pledge to repeal it if elected.

But nearly half said they thought the scheme starting on Sunday – requiring big emitters to pay a fixed rate per tonne of carbon dioxide for three years, before evolving into emissions trading under which pollution permits can be bought and sold on the market – would eventually be replaced with an improved model.

Of the firms directly liable for the carbon price, it found 85 per cent had a carbon-reduction strategy in place. Across all firms, nearly a third, up 3 per cent from early last year, had modelled the impact of different carbon prices on operations.

But there was a slight drop in the way businesses felt prepared for the scheme.

The Economist Intelligence Unit, linked to the The Economist newspaper and which conducted the survey, found this was likely to be in part due to nervousness about the scheme being greatest just before it was introduced.

While 72 per cent believed carbon pricing would survive, nearly two-thirds thought the $23-a-tonne starting price was too high. About one in 10 said it was too low.

Only a third believed the opportunities created by carbon pricing would outweigh the risks in the long run – down from half last year.

GE’s director of ecomagination, Ben Waters, said evidence from New Zealand, where emissions trading started in 2008, suggested concern would wane after the scheme started.

In submissions to the NZ government, 63 per cent of companies last year said they backed its scheme. Two years earlier 78 per cent were opposed.

”Given we are about to impose a new cost on business … I don’t think it is surprising that there is some anxiety and nervousness. I’d be very surprised in a year’s time if it doesn’t move in the other direction,” Mr Waters said. The survey showed the scheme was doing what it was supposed to be doing: spurring businesses to become more energy efficient and cut emissions.

About a quarter of those surveyed led energy and resources companies, 15 per cent were in manufacturing, 12 per cent in construction and real estate and 12 per cent in retail.

Companies listed as having prepared for a carbon price include oil and gas multinational Shell, which began planning for emissions trading in 1997 and factors a $40 carbon price into investment decisions.

Wesfarmers, the owner of Coles, expects a net carbon cost of $100 million, compared with 2011 revenue of $56 billion. It said over four years it had invested heavily in energy-efficiency technology to cut power consumption at its stores and reduced emissions from its chemical business.

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June 15, 2012

It’s the timing of the Olympic Dam expansion that is being reviewed and, despite what the opposition may say, the carbon tax and mining tax are not decisive. Photo: AFP

BHP has always been reconciled with the carbon tax and it is not decisive in development plans.

EVEN taking into account the fact Canberra’s spin cycle is in overdrive ahead of the July 1 start of Labor’s carbon tax, Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne have been a bit hyperbolic this week.

During a whistle-stop tour of South Australia, Abbott said BHP Billiton’s $30 billion Olympic dam expansion project was ”hanging in the balance”. Axing Labor’s carbon tax and mining tax and reining in ”union militancy” were three major incentives that a Coalition government would deliver, he said, adding that in the meantime the Labor government should guarantee that its mining tax won’t be extended to gold, copper and uranium.

Pyne said BHP was reconsidering the timing of the Olympic Dam expansion because of heightened political risk, adding: ”I directly blame the Gillard government for that.”

The truth is more complex, as usual. It’s the timing of the Olympic Dam expansion that is being reviewed, and the carbon tax and mining tax are not decisive.

BHP chief executive Marius Kloppers, the group’s chairman, Jac Nasser, Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese and Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg have all warned recently that Australia is becoming a more expensive place to invest in, and a more regulation-heavy one.

But as BHP reacts to softer commodity markets by re-sequencing its lengthy line-up of potential resources developments, Australia’s carbon tax and mining tax are not front of mind: hardly surprising really, given that Kloppers is a supporter of carbon pricing and helped negotiate a watered-down mining tax after Julia Gillard pushed Kevin Rudd aside in June 2010.

Kloppers said in September 2010 that BHP accepted that climate change was a reality and added that, because the multilateral push for a carbon pricing regime had been derailed, Australia would be best served by going alone, and going early.

The BHP view at that time was that carbon pricing was inevitable, but that it needed to be simple, transparent and predictable, revenue neutral and broadly based, but also designed to protect trade-exposed industries.

He has subsequently criticised the structure of the Australian carbon-pricing regime, saying for example that the imposition of a carbon tax on the coal industry makes it more costly, and therefore less attractive as an investment destination than it was compared with coal-producing countries, including Indonesia, that have not yet introduced carbon pricing.

Nasser has called for a slower introduction of carbon pricing here and he has also said he thinks Labor’s Fair Work Act should be redrawn to reduce ”disproportionate union influence”.

And yes, getting the go-ahead for a mine development in this country is a regulatory marathon. It took more than five years to negotiate it in Olympic Dam’s case and more than 8300 people, 38 government departments and service providers, 55 non-government organisations and 60 industry groups had a role in the development of the project’s environmental impact statement.

We can do better than that.

It’s worth noting that BHP’s consistent message has been that it understands that careful and open planning and consultation is needed to build a lasting consensus around a development of the size of Olympic Dam, the world’s biggest uranium deposit and fourth-largest copper deposit.

BHP has also not stepped back its overall support for carbon pricing. In fact, it’s been loading a price for carbon into its investment decisions for years. The structure of the tax here is not its ideal, but BHP believes it can live with it.

The key forces behind BHP’s rethink about major expansions, including Olympic Dam, are commodity demand and commodity prices.

Both have softened as the northern hemisphere sovereign debt crisis and the economic slowdown it has induced depresses China’s growth, and as the hangover from last year’s over-zealous attack on inflation in China endures.

The price of copper, Olympic Dam’s main product, leapt by 257 per cent between December 2008 and mid-February last year for example, but has since slid by 27 per cent.

Kloppers and Nasser have been pretty clear on this, with Nasser flatly answering ”no” to a question in mid-May about whether BHP was going to stick to a previously announced five-year $US80 billion capital expenditure budget, and Kloppers stating that iron ore demand will grow strongly but less rapidly in the next decade than it has in the past 10 years. He also predicted that after 2025 it will move into a ”protracted period of low to negative growth”.

BHP has 22 major project developments and expansions under way, and they will soak up the group’s spending power in the 2012 and 2013 financial years. Thereafter, BHP would have ”flexibility” on project sequencing, Kloppers said last month, and it will be running the slide rule over new prospects very carefully.

The sums on projects here, including Olympic Dam, will include the cost of the mining tax and the carbon tax, and BHP will also be comparing labour productivity.

Commodity prices are the big variable, however – if they stay off the boil, projects like Olympic Dam will proceed more slowly regardless of what party is in power in Canberra.

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Peter Ker

June 6, 2012 – 1:13PM

BHP Billiton will soon reveal a new company policy to combat carbon emissions, which will include some ”pretty dramatic” changes, according to chief executive Marius Kloppers.

Speaking in Perth this morning, Mr Kloppers said BHP had been revising its internal policy on energy and carbon emissions and would shortly reveal an updated version that would keep the company’s footprint at 2006 levels for the medium term.

“We are just coming up to setting the next set of targets, and without wanting to commit to it today, we are very close to approving a target that says we will – despite real growth and all the money we are investing – endeavour to keep our carbon footprint at the end of 2017, to maintain that footprint at or below the footprint we had in 2006,” he said.

“Given that we hope to increase our market share and scale and scope, means that we have had to do pretty dramatic things inside the corporation on energy efficiency and so on, and I have every anticipation that that is going to continue”.

BHP is expected to be a dramatically bigger company by 2017, with the resources giant currently mulling major expansions to its iron ore, copper and potash divisions.

While deteriorating market conditions are expected to slow one or more of those expansions, BHP is still expected to push ahead with some of those expansions by 2017.

Mr Kloppers’ comments on carbon policy come ahead of next month’s start to Australia’s controversial carbon tax.

Mr Kloppers has been heavily involved in the carbon tax debate over recent years. A speech he delivered in late 2010 was widely viewed as reigniting the domestic push for carbon policy in Australia, yet he has also blamed the tax in recent times for being one of several factors increasing the cost of doing business in Australia.

When asked about the world’s future energy choices this morning, Mr Kloppers said fossil fuels were likely to persist as the world’s preferred source of energy, with alternative forms of gas set to enjoy a period of strength.

“In the medium term (the world) is going to very powerfully elect to choose gas, not as a perfect thing, because there is no such thing as a perfect, non-impact energy, but as a halfway station to cut the carbon emissions by approximately half per potential unit of energy generated,” he said.

“Longer term the world is going to continue to work on nuclear products and that has to augment the energy mix at some time.”

The predictions very much reflect BHP’s corporate strategy. The resources giant has invested close to $20 billion over the past year on alternative gas assets in the USA, and also has major uranium assets – such as Olympic Dam in South Australia – which are expected to be a decade or more away from full exploitation.

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And thus a short-term over-reaction by the community to the carbon tax becomes a medium-term distortion in the marketplace as the RBA sets rates lower to compensation for decreased expenditure…
Peter Martin and Eric Johnston

June 6, 2012

The Reserve Bank cuts interest rates by 25 basis points reducing the interest rate to 3.5 per cent.

THE Reserve Bank is worried that Australians are unreasonably pessimistic about the economy, and it believes the campaign against the carbon tax is to blame.

In a bid to stimulate the economy, the Reserve has cut its cash rate by 0.25 of a percentage point. The cut was in part a response to a slowdown in China and turmoil on financial markets spooked by the European economic crisis.

But also central to the decision was a concern that no matter how good the domestic economic news, Australians are scarcely noticing in an atmosphere muddied by campaigning against the carbon tax.

<p></p> In the unlikely event that the banks passed on the rate cut in full, it would slice $48 off the monthly cost of servicing a $300,000 mortgage.

The Bank of Queensland was the first to move, cutting its variable home rate by 0.20 of a percentage point.

But the four big banks had not responded by last night. Australia Institute researcher David Richardson said each day they delayed added $6.2 million to their collective profits.

The difference between the official cash rate and standard variable loan rates has now blown out to the widest level since banks began shifting rates independently of the Reserve four years ago.

Analysis by The Age shows the big banks have widened their margins on average home loans by as much as 1.45 percentage points in the four years.

In total, banks have passed on less than half of the 2.5 percentage points of official rate cuts since the start of the global crisis. This represents an additional $269.50 per month that is being paid on an average $300,000 mortgage.

Regardless of how much of the latest cut is passed on by banks, the Reserve is understood to be concerned that its attempts to stimulate the economy are being compromised by lobbying against the carbon tax, which is also obscuring the benefits of the July 1 income tax cuts.

When the Reserve cut rates by 0.50 of a percentage point in May, the Melbourne Institute consumer confidence index barely moved, and assessments on whether it was a good time to buy a major household item went backwards.

The Reserve governor’s statement released after yesterday’s rate cut said that despite modest economic growth and low unemployment, Australians continued to ”exhibit a degree of precautionary behaviour”.

If confidence does not lift and the global financial situation gets worse, the Reserve will cut rates again. It believes the very low official inflation rate gives it room to do so.

Treasurer Wayne Swan raised the possibility of more cuts, saying the Reserve had ”further room to move”. He appealed for Australians to become more confident, saying the economy was strong compared with the rest of the world.

”I know that as Australians watch these events unfold overseas they get the impression that all of these things are happening in their back yard and perhaps in their economy, but our economy remains strong,” Mr Swan said.

Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey said the central bank had cut rates to ”near emergency levels”. The Reserve cash rate stands at 3.50 per cent, just half a percentage point above the low of 3 per cent reached during the global financial crisis.

But mortgage rates are nowhere near as low. During the crisis, standard variable mortgage rates slid to 5.75 per cent. Ahead of yesterday’s Reserve cut, they stood at 7.05 per cent.

Last month, most lenders withheld about a quarter of the RBA’s double-sized rate cut, citing the need to cover their own rising borrowing costs. Bank executives have recently blamed intense competition for deposits in Australia as a key reason for partly withholding rate cuts.

When reporting their recent profit results, each of the big banks said their margins had been squeezed as they attempted to balance rate cuts with funding costs.

Official advice provided to the Treasurer says the big banks can afford to pass on the latest cut in full. But the Reserve noted yesterday that international turmoil is pushing up bank funding costs again.

ANZ will announce its decision on Friday. National Australia Bank said it stood by its commitment to offer the lowest rate of the big four.

The Australian dollar jumped more than US1¢ yesterday after the Reserve resisted a larger 0.50 percentage point rate cut.

Futures traders assigned an 80 per cent probability to a cut of 0.50 when the Reserve board next meets on July 3.

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Published 9:35 AM, 18 May 2012 Updated 3:09 PM, 18 May 2012

Words are powerful things that can be loaded with emotion. The word ‘tax’ in particular is ingrained with negative feeling.

That’s why Tony Abbott, ever since he took over the leadership of the Liberal Party, has wanted people to think of a carbon price as a ‘carbon tax’ and not a ‘carbon trading’ scheme. It looks as if he has succeeded.

Back in around 2001 I remember having an argument with then shadow Labor Environment Minister, Kelvin Thomson. At the time I said that if Labor really wanted to do something meaningful to reduce emissions they needed to introduce a carbon tax. Thomson said they would do nothing of the sort.

Instead, he said, they would look to introduce an emissions trading scheme. At which point I blurted out, “Okay, sure… carbon tax, carbon trading, who cares, they’re effectively the same thing.” Thomson then coolly explained that there was no way Labor would be opening itself up to the same kind of electoral damage that accompanied the introduction of the last new tax – the GST.

Tony Abbott, having been John Hewson’s media adviser when Hewson lost the unlosable election in 1993 over the GST, would have learnt this lesson well. While Gillard did admit that the deal negotiated with the Greens to provide a fixed price period meant it was “effectively a tax”, on the whole the government studiously avoids describing it as a carbon tax.

Instead, they prefer to describe it as a carbon pricing scheme or a carbon trading scheme with a short fixed price period.

Well if you check out Google Insights, it’ll show you that Tony Abbott has clearly won the battle over how people think about and describe the carbon pricing scheme. The first chart illustrates the frequency with which people in Australia search in Google for the terms ‘carbon price’, ‘carbon trading’ and ‘emissions trading’ since 2005. Carbon trading has generally been dominant but with emissions trading not far behind, until 2011 when carbon price became more frequent. Frequency that the terms ‘carbon price’, ‘carbon trading’ and ‘emissions trading’ are entered into Google – 2005 to today

 The next chart is exactly the same as the one above except it also assesses the frequency with which ‘carbon tax’ is searched for (the green line) relative to the other terms. Carbon tax, for the most part, was barely used. Then in 2011 its frequency dwarfs that of the other terms and indeed dwarfs anything historically, showing that most people have become engaged in this debate during the period it has been considered as a carbon tax.

Frequency in use of search terms including phrase ‘carbon tax’ (illustrated in green) The person who can frame a debate in language that is most favourable to them is more than half-way to winning the argument. Abbott has done this superbly, with some support from the Greens.

May 16, 2012

MORE than 1.6 million families will start receiving their share of $325 million in compensation for the carbon tax from today.

Families receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A will receive up to $110 for each child, while those receiving Family Tax Benefit Part B will get up to $69.

Families who receive Family Tax Benefit fortnightly should receive the payments in their accounts over two weeks.

A small proportion who choose to claim the benefit annually will receive the extra money when they file their tax return.

In NSW, 530,900 families will share in $104 million.

Further relief will come from July when many families will get a tax cut. All taxpayers with incomes of up to $80,000 will get relief, with most getting a cut of at least $300.

Dan Harrison

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  • Solar panel sellers exaggerating predicted electricity prices
  • Builders tell customers to “buy now to beat the carbon price”
  • ACCC issuing “formal substantiation notices” to some accused

Solar panels

SOLAR panel sellers who have claimed the carbon tax will increase electricity prices by hundreds of per cent face “please explain” proceedings from the ACCC. Picture: David Geraghty. Source: The Daily Telegraph 

SOLAR panel peddlers who have claimed the carbon tax will increase electricity prices by hundreds of per cent face “please explain” proceedings from the ACCC, as do builders who have told would-be customers to buy now to beat the carbon tax.

Commission chairman Rod Sims said it would issue “formal substantiation notices” to four or five businesses over the most concerning of 96 allegations of misleading and deceptive conduct made by consumers, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Mr Sims said some smaller solar spruikers had made “grossly exaggerated claims” that the carbon tax would increase electricity prices by 40 per cent a year, leading to cumulative hikes of a “couple of hundred per cent”.

The Independent Pricing & Regulatory Tribunal has said the first-year impact of the carbon tax on NSW electricity prices will be 9 per cent.

In this state the effect on a household will be spelt out in red text on bills, saying: “NSW Govt estimates that Federal carbon tax and green energy schemes add about $315 a year to a typical 7mWh household bill – see ipart.”

Mr Sims said that in addition to the action against solar sellers, the ACCC would issue substantiation notices to builders who had told prospective purchasers to “buy now to beat the carbon price”.

“We don’t think you will,” Mr Sims said, because most of the items used to construct the home would not be purchased until after July 1.

Building groups had initially advised would-be customers that the carbon tax could add up to $6000 to the cost of a new home, Mr Sims said. After discussions with the ACCC that forecast had been almost halved.

Beyond substantiation notices, the ACCC can seek undertakings from businesses that they won’t make the claims again. It can also take court action and seek fines of up to $1.1 million.

“We will only litigate if we get someone recalcitrant,” Mr Sims said. Many of the other allegations consumers had made related to “silly” carbon tax claims.

These included:

A TAXI driver who tried to add a fee to fares citing the carbon tax – last year;

A CAFE owner who said price rises in January this year were due to the emissions impost; and

A BRICK supplier which said cost increases last month were because of the price on pollution.

Consumers had also dobbed in department stores and liquor outlets, Mr Sims said.

In these “silly” cases, letters were sent out and the recipients stopped making the false claims.

The ACCC has also asked energy retailers to disclose pricing plans for renewable electricity after consumers raised concerns that these products may attract the carbon tax.

“Given it’s [mostly] wind generation sitting behind [these products] it’s hard to see how there would be a carbon price component,” Mr Sims said. “But we don’t have a closed mind there.”

Mr Sims said most consumers were aware that the carbon tax did not start until July 1, which had made it more difficult for dodgy dealers.

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May 4, 2012 – 3:04PM

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet is doing the hard sell on compensation for taxpayers under a carbon tax.Climate Change Minister Greg Combet says 250 companies will pay the carbon tax come July 1, however others have been told they are also likely to face the new tax. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen / Fairfax

Companies such as Alcoa, BHP Billiton, Boral and La Trobe University are among about 250 companies that will pay the carbon tax when it is introduced on July 1.

The Clean Energy Regulator has today published an initial list of 250 ”liable entities” that will face the $23 per tonne tax, however a further 80 companies have also notified that they are likely to face the new tax in the 2012-2013 financial year.

It says these companies and facilities will account for more than 95 per cent of emissions covered by the carbon price mechanism. The list will continually be updated.

Other entities listed by the regulator today include the Brisbane City Council, BlueScope Steel, the City of Armadale, Rio Tinto and Thales.

The government has been estimating that about 500 companies would pay the carbon tax.

“I think we’ll come in underneath 500 but it is a matter for the regulator to determine,” Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said.

Mr Combet said the initial list was based on greenhouse emissions reporting by companies over the last four to five years.

This comes as Independent MP Rob Oakeshott is threatening to block a key element of the government’s carbon scheme.

Mr Oakeshott was a member of the multi-party committee that developed the scheme but says he wants the floor price on carbon scrapped because it will harm business.

The Member for Lyne said he may vote against regulations to introduce a floor price because he wanted businesses to have the flexibility to buy cheaper carbon permits overseas when the emissions trading scheme is introduced.

“It is certainly one of the options, as is reconvening the multi-party climate change committee and trying to renegotiate some of the aspects,” he told the ABC.

The carbon tax is due to come in on July 1. It will operate at a fixed price for three years before moving to an emissions trading scheme in 2015. But even then, there will be a floor price – to limit how low it can go – until 2018.

Mr Combet said he spoke to Mr Oakeshott about his position last night and they would continue with discussions, but that the independent’s views were no surprise.

”This has been his position,” Mr Combet told reporters in Canberra.

”His view was always that the sooner we get to a fully flexible price the better.”

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said that the floor price was a question for the future.

”Making a regulation about a price floor will happen at some time in the future,” she told reporters in Melbourne today.

”We are consulting on how to do the floor price  and there’s certainly no rush in that process.”

But the Greens argue scrapping the floor price would hurt both business certainty and action on climate change.

“Speculation about disallowing the floor price regulations sends a strong signal of uncertainty to business and, because of that, I will be asking Mr Oakeshott to reaffirm his commitment to the climate package as negotiated,” Greens leader Christine Milne said in a statement this afternoon.

“Mr Oakeshott understands that the Climate Change Committee negotiated a package as a whole where each element has impacts on all others.”

The week the government had faced continued criticism of the carbon tax from both the Coalition and Labor members.

Former NSW premier Kristina Keneally – who went to the state election last year in support of the carbon tax – urged Ms Gillard to dump or “dial back” the tax in a bid to save herself at the next election.

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So, the Federal ALP is clearly committing itself to a path that history (but not today’s voters) will approve of.


Labor rejects Kristina Keneally’s call to soften carbon tax


Dump carbon tax, Keneally tells PM

Kristina Keneally says PM Julia Gillard should dump the carbon tax in an effort to fix Labor’s woes.

Sky News2 May 2012

Kristina Keneally

Former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally says Labor must soften the carbon tax if it’s to have any chance of winning the next election. Picture: Nicholas Welsh Source: Herald Sun

LABOR is adamant it won’t back away from its electorally-toxic carbon tax following calls from former NSW premier Kristina Keneally for the measure to be softened.

Finance Minister Penny Wong today rejected the former Labor leader’s push for the carbon tax to be dramatically wound back, saying Australians would realise in time it was necessary for the country’s future.

“Look the carbon price has passed the parliament,” Senator Wong told ABC Radio.

“I think in the years to come people will see how important it is to the long term health and competiveness of the Australian economy.”

Ms Keneally last night said Julia Gillard should dump the carbon tax or significantly unwind it in an effort to fix Labor’s electoral woes.

Ms Keneally tweeted today: “If you want to keep a carbon price, find a way to sell it better, or make it easier on Australians, so a re-elected Labor Govt can carry on.”


Ms Keneally, who led NSW Labor to defeat in 2010, said Ms Gillard needed a “game changer” if her government was to have any chance at the next election.

“She really has to deal with the question of what she’s going to do about this carbon tax,” Ms Keneally told Sky News.

“I think she needs to think seriously about whether she can revoke it or in fact whether she can lessen the impact … dial it back somehow.”

This would be an act of contrition to show Ms Gillard was listening to the people, Ms Keneally said.

On Monday Climate Change Minister Greg Combet brushed off suggestions the government would ease the impact of its carbon tax in next week’s budget.

Labor’s carbon tax is due to commence on July 1 with an initial starting price of $23 a tonne. It will move to a floating price emissions trading scheme from 2015.


All of this is problematic.
(i) The scientific consensus is that human-created climate change is occuring at a rate faster than accepted and that (a) the costs of remediation will grow the longer no one does anything about it; (b) we may be close to the tipping point, beyond which remediation may be impossible. Where will we live then?
(ii) Science is not optional. One may choose one’s options, but facts are less negotiable. Even for politicians.
(iii) If the conservatives oppose the use of market-based solutions, what sort of solutions will be acceptable? Direct intervention in the market? Huh? A strange moment in political history when the social democrats, the political greens and the left accept the use of market-based solutions, where the polluter pays, and the conservatives argue for the socialisation of the costs of pollution.
  • by: By Malcolm Farr, National Political Editor
  • From:
  • April 20, 2012 12:07PM


  • Carbon scheme will be scrapped within six months – Abbott
  • Lib Leader will call double dissolution if blocked in senate
  • Says voters will not miss out on pension increases, tax cuts

Tony Abbott

Opposition leader Tony Abbott has vowed to scrap the carbon price scheme. Picture: Kym Smith Source: The Daily Telegraph

The Opposition Leader said that if blocked in the Senate he would immediately call another election, a double dissolution, and invite the ALP to commit “suicide twice”.

“I won’t reduce the tax, change the tax, or redesign the tax. I will repeal the tax,” Mr Abbott said in Brisbane today.

The Coalition is maintaining its course to make the election scheduled for late next year a referendum on the carbon pricing scheme set to begin this July.

Mr Abbott ramped up his intentions to scrap the entire scheme if elected, and assured voters they would not miss out on pension increases and tax cuts to be funded by the scheme’s revenue.

“There is no mystery to this. Essentially, all that it requires is the passage of the repeal bill through the Parliament,” Mr Abbott said.

“After all, what is done by legislation can be undone by legislation.

“I don’t expect the Greens to support repealing the carbon tax. On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine the Labor Party, beaten in an election that’s a referendum on the carbon tax, committing suicide twice by resisting the new government’s mandate.

“If they do, there is a constitutional procedure designed for just this eventuality. It’s called a double dissolution. I would not hesitate to seek a second mandate to repeal this toxic tax. Indeed, it would be my duty to do so.”

Mr Abbott said that “because the electorate would double-punish the Labor Party for wilful obstruction, I expect that the repeal arrangements would be in place within six months.”

Mr Abbott dismissed the Government’s argument that scrapping the scheme would cost voters extra welfare payments and tax cuts which it plans to fund from pollution penalties paid by major companies.

“Well, the public aren’t mugs. They know that a tax cut paid for by a tax increase is a con, not a cut,” he said.

“The only way that taxes can sustainably be lowered is if government spending is lower or if the economy is larger.

“The Coalition can deliver tax cuts without a carbon tax because we will eliminate wasteful and unnecessary government spending and because lower taxes and higher productivity will boost economic growth.”

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