A dark day for Australia as carbon tax is repealed

Posted 7th July 2014 by Stuart

In an embarrassing day for Australia, the Carbon Tax Repeal Bill has been passed by the Senate. In a move described as “an historic act of irresponsibility and recklessness," the Abbott government’s quest to abolish Australia’s carbon pricing scheme and unravel its renewable energy support mechanisms is finally complete, with the federal Senate voting this morning to pass the Carbon Tax Repeal Bill.

The vote’s outcome – which gives Australia the dubious distinction of becoming the first country in the world to remove a price on carbon established to combat climate change – was greeted by rather limp applause from the cross benches, as well as a couple of celebratory outbursts from Tony Abbott’s Coalition of climate deniers; and was roundly condemned by Labor and the Greens, who variously described it as an “appalling” day for Australia and a failure of leadership.

“A vote for the abolition of the clean energy package is a vote for failure,” said Greens leader Christine Milne ahead of the Bill’s third reading. “A failure to understand that the future is going to be powered by renewable energy.” “This will be a short-lived victory for the Abbott government, because Australians will not stand for it. People will understand very quickly that the supposed benefits of repealing (this Bill) will not be realised.”

“Scrapping the Carbon Tax will save the average family $550 a year,” Abbott wrote. “You’ll see the benefits in coming power bills.” Labor and the Greens (not to mention a number of fairly prominent economists and analysts) have serious doubts about this supposed saving. “Not only will households have to deal with global warming, but the $550 they now think they’re getting? Forget it. It’s a mirage,” said Greens Leader Christine Milne on Wednesday.

Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, responded to today’s vote with a joint statement from the shadow minister for environment, Mark Butler, saying that the Abbott Government was “determined to hurt Australians,” with its unfair Budget and by refusing to tackle climate change. “History will judge Tony Abbott harshly for refusing to believe that action is needed on climate change,” the statement read. Tony Abbott will do anything to try and ignore the science of climate change. It’s clear that he still thinks it is – in his own words – ‘absolute crap’.

“With the clean energy package now on Tony Abbott’s growing scrap pile of good policies, renewable energy is now in his sights. “Tony Abbott is attempting to abolish the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and Clean Energy Finance Corporation and undermine investment in renewable energy by spreading myths about the impact of renewable energy on the cost of electricity.”

Outside of political circles, Climate Institute CEO John Connor described the successful repeal as “an historic act of irresponsibility and recklessness.” The Australian Conservation Foundation said, “this backwards step makes Australia an international embarrassment.

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