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Australian Lawmakers Pass Carbon Tax Repeal

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

25 November 2013

The Australian House of Representatives has voted to scrap the carbon tax, after just over a week of debate.

Repeal legislation was introduced by Prime Minister Tony Abbott on November 13. He welcomed the House's decision, stressing that axing the tax will "create a stronger economy with more jobs," and save families AUD550 (USD510) a year.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will be given additional powers to deal with businesses found to have engaged in "price exploitation" in relation to the repeal. Corporations and individuals will face penalties of up to AUD1.1m and AUD220,000, respectively.

The Coalition will then proceed with its Direct Action Plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. An Emissions Reduction Fund will be based on a "market-based mechanism", and use "positive incentives to reduce Australia's emissions," Abbott has said.

Abbott also took the opportunity to criticise Opposition Leader "Electricity" Bill Shorten, for his stance on carbon pricing. He claimed that Shorten was the only thing "stand[ing] between Australian families and AUD550," and demanded that the Labor party "step up and help Australian families and businesses."

According to Shorten, "the Abbott Government has run up the white flag on climate change [and] it has surrendered its responsibility to the nation." Shorten's concern is that the carbon tax will not be replaced by an Emissions Trading Scheme, as was the Labor Government's intention, and that money will instead "be paid to people who emit carbon."

The legislation now passes to the Senate, where the Government has no majority, and unless the opposition backs down, will be obliged to team up with minority parties in order to get the bill through.

TAGS: individuals | tax | business | Australia | legislation | carbon tax | tax reform | penalties

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