Australia pollution tax wins crucial backing

July 8, 2011
The odds for the price on carbon tax is displayed on the board of a betting agency in Melbourne, on July 8. Australia's controversial pollution tax looked all but certain to pass after a key lawmaker confirmed that he would support the package, which aims to reduce emissions blamed for climate change.

Australia's controversial pollution tax looked all but certain to pass after a key lawmaker confirmed that he would support the package, which aims to reduce emissions blamed for climate change.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is on Sunday due to unveil the full detail of her deeply contested , which will see the country's top 500 charged per tonne of carbon dioxide they emit into the atmosphere.

Gillard is staking her ailing political fortunes on the -- the most significant economic reform in Australia for decades -- scheduling a rare nationally televised address Sunday night to sell it to the public.

The Prime Minister is also planning a two-week "roadshow" across Australia to tout the scheme's benefits, and a taxpayer-funded advertising campaign.

She is expected to bring the legislation to a vote as early as August, when parliament resumes after a winter recess. The bill is not expected to hit any obstacles in the upper house, where the Greens hold the balance of power.

Australia is heavily reliant on and mining exports and has one of the highest per-capita levels of in the world.

Although the tax is deeply opposed by her conservative political rivals and a majority of the public, according to some polls, it looks set to become law after independent Andrew Wilkie on Friday lent his support.

"I'm satisfied that my concerns have been addressed and I'm satisfied that the settings are right and that I will be supporting it," Wilkie told reporters.

"The government now, on my understanding, have the numbers."

Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard, seen here presenting the government's carbon emissions fact sheets during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, on June 14. Gillard is on Sunday due to unveil the full detail of her deeply contested carbon tax, which will see the country's top 500 polluters charged per tonne of carbon dioxide they emit into the atmosphere.

Wilkie is among a handful of independent MPs who, along with the minority Greens party, put Gillard into power following last year's deadlocked elections. Their votes are also crucial in passing legislation.

The former intelligence analyst-turned-whistleblower on the Iraq War said Gillard had agreed to concessions for energy-intensive exporters and compensation for poorer households on rising energy costs.

"I understand that the Greens are now happy with the proposal, my colleagues Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott have also indicated they are happy in principle," said Wilkie.

"I think it's fair enough that the government needs to know that when it fronts up on Sunday that it's got the numbers, and it now has."

The starting price for the tax, which will give way to an emissions trading scheme within five years, will be Aus$23 ($24.80) a tonne according to reports.

Such a rate would be on a par with the European Union's emissions trading scheme but lower than that recommended by an expert inquiry.

Gillard also confirmed this week that the number of companies liable had been slashed from 1,000 to 500.

Her ruling Labor party's environmental credentials were badly dented by failing to act on pollution in their last term, resulting in a backlash so severe it destroyed her parliamentary majority.

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3.8 / 5 (4) Jul 08, 2011
which will give way to an emissions trading scheme within five years

Another attempt to use global warming as an excuse to start an artificial market in the hopes that the people involved will make personal profits. It is too bad that legitemate environmental goals are being hijacked by greed so commonly these days. Every penny that falls into the hands of a third party is wasted money. There is no financial justification for using a trading market to accomplish the stated goals. Existing trading markets already show that it doesn't work.
3.8 / 5 (4) Jul 08, 2011
so miss gillard thinks that by imposing taxes she can work for welfare of poor but does this idea bring change in global warming is still a big ???????????
2.6 / 5 (5) Jul 09, 2011
Australian Government and Labor party is now on a death watch, due to self inflicted wounds!

Watch industry and manufacturing flee this poor broken country thanks to the lunatics running the country.

Gillard may ram is hateful CO2 ETS/tax through but is spells the end of the Labor government and the greens in the next election. Maybe they can join the threatened CO2 climate destroying Camels in the lonely outback. Cause they won't see anymore political power for the following 20 years after that.
3 / 5 (4) Jul 09, 2011
Mining carbon sequestered in the geosphere over millions of years, and blasting it into the atmosphere in a couple of hundered years is not a balanced idea. Glad that someone is trying to do something about it.
5 / 5 (1) Jul 13, 2011
Glad that someone is trying to do something about it

The US Dept of Energy, and to a lesser extent the EPA, has been "doing something about it" for decades. You can google Energy Star Appliances, building codes, vehicle emissions standards, etc. if you want to see "balanced ideas" for energy policy. A carbon tax or a carbon trading scheme are the most indirect and least efficient way to go about it. It makes a lot more sense to create targeted plans which focus on areas where you will get the most impact for the least cost. That is standard problem solving methodology. Doing the wrong thing 'can' be worse than doing nothing at all.
not rated yet Jul 13, 2011
The carbon tax is just like the old story about how you catch wild pigs.

Throw out free food every day. Then build a wall next to the food. Then build another wall. Then another wall. Then add a gate and close it.

If you live in Australia, are you starting to fell like a wild pig?

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