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Australia’s New National Carbon Tax Scheme Passes Lower House

Julia Gillard

Australia has just overcome it’s biggest hurdle in implementing its controversial new national carbon tax: the lower house of parliament has just voted in favor of the new scheme.

The legislation will now go to the Senate, where it is expected the two bills associated with the national carbon tax will pass. Once th bills pass, Australia’s carbon pricing scheme will become law, with taxation commencing on Australia’s 500 biggest polluters in July 2012.

In a press conference, Australian Labor Party prime minister Julia Gillard stated: “Today is a significant day for Australians and the Australians of the future who want to see a better environment.”

Since announcing the new carbon price, Gillard has been besieged by manufacturing and business lobby groups. Tony Abbott, the Conservative opposition leader, pledged “in blood” that he would repeal the new carbon tax. Anger at the new carbon pricing scheme has even infiltrated the offices of Australia’s climate scientists, who have received death threats for expressing their scientific views.

Despite the hostility Australia’s new carbon tax has generated, the new scheme is intended to reduce Australia’s carbon emissions in 2020 by 5% from year 2000 levels. The ultimate goal is to reduce Australia’s emission by 80% by 2050.

Although the new carbon pricing scheme will put Australia on track to reducing its national carbon footprint, achieving the reduction will be no easy task, as over 80% of the country is powered by coal generators. Furthermore, coal mining is a major export for the country, with many coal mining companies arguing that they will be less competitive on the global market due to the tax.

Support for the Gillard and her Labor Party has dropped to 30%, and anger over the passage of the carbon tax could result in them being politically decimated at the next election, which is scheduled for 2013.

Do you think that Australia’s national carbon tax will remain in place after 2013? Does the Australian Labor Party have a chance in maintaining some of its political power going into the next election?

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