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Australia's unpopular carbon tax has helped damage the country's competitiveness, the Prime Minister's chief business adviser has claimed.
Maurice Newman, chairman of Tony Abbott's Business Advisory Council, told The Australian that "the scientific delusion, the religion behind the climate crusade, is crumbling." He argued that the country had become "hostage to climate-change madness," and warned that "for every 'green job' created, two to three jobs are lost in the real economy."
The Council brings together leaders from the manufacturing, resources, logistics, retail, financial, and constructed sectors. Created in December, 2013, it will meet three times a year with senior members of the Government to help guide programs and policies that are sympathetic to the needs of both small and large businesses in Australia.
Abbott's Coalition Government swept to victory in September with pledges to scrap the much-maligned carbon and mining taxes. Although the House of Representatives passed his carbon tax repeal package late last year, the Prime Minister does not have a majority in the Senate. The Labor party – ousted from office after the general election – has refused to support the legislation when the alternative remains the Government's "direct action plan."
Newman also made the controversial claim in The Australian that the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) was guilty of "dishonesty and deceit." He suggested that "If the IPCC were your financial adviser, you would have sacked it long ago."
Labor's acting environment spokesman, Shayne Neumann, said that Abbott should press Newman to withdraw his comments. The allegations, he cautioned, would "damage Australia's relationships with its trading partners, all of whom accept that climate change is real and are taking steps to reduce carbon pollution."
Neumann added that Newman's "ignorant comments" gave voice to "what we know Tony Abbott thinks about climate change," stressing that the Government's attempts to axe the carbon tax had made Australia a "laughing stock."
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