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Monday 20th of May 2013
Parliament votes to introduce carbon tax
Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has managed to get her controversial plans to introduce a carbon tax passed by parliament’s lower house. The bill means that Australia’s largest producers of greenhouse gasses will have to pay each time they produce a tonne of carbon dioxide. Before the vote, Ms Gillard said that the legislation would mean a better environment and a better future for Australia.
However, the opposition claims that the strategy will mean a hike in the cost of living and will result in job losses. The 2011 Clean Energy Bill was narrowly pushed through by 74 votes to 72.
Thousands of Australians have protested the bill claiming that Ms Gillard has reneged on one of her campaign pledges. Before being elected last year, she said that she had no intention of introducing a carbon tax. However, when it became apparent that she needed support from the Australian Greens, having failed to gain an overall majority within parliament during the election, she changed her mind.
The prime minister has been suffering a drop in popularity against the opposition and her latest victory is important. The tax will be put in place on 1 July 2012 and will affect 500 companies. Land, forestry and agriculture will be exempt and polluters will receive compensation.
A companion bill will also be put in front of the senate to supply assistance of A$300 million to the steel industry. With the support of the Greens, it is expected to go through. Tony Abbot, leader of the conservative opposition, has vowed to scrap the tax if he gets elected.
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