Politics, Sci-Tech

A brief look: Aussie PM braces to pass carbon tax laws

Australia’s parliament resumes this week for the make-or-break winter session, where Prime Minister Julia Gillard hopes to push through her controversial carbon tax. Gillard's Labour party hopes to introduce a carbon tax from July 2012, a precursor to an emissions trading scheme to be drafted in from 2015. By REBECCA DAVIS

As Greens hold the key votes in the Australian senate, Gillard is likely to be able to pass her legislation, but not without sustaining political damage. Although elections are not to be held before 2013, a poll held this week indicated that if elections were to go ahead in the current political climate, Tony Abbott’s opposition (centre-right) Liberal Party would win a landslide victory.

Thousands of protestors are expected to gather outside Parliament House tomorrow, with convoys of trucks being used to circle the building to blockade it. Tony Abbott is expected to address the Election Now No Carbon Tax Rally. In March Abbott attracted strong criticism for speaking at a similar anti-carbon tax rally in front of a banner reminiscent of Mugabe’s finest insults, calling Julia Gillard “Ju-Liar, Bob Brown’s [leader of the Greens] Bitch’.

The Liberals see the tax as too great a fiscal risk in a jittery economic period. They claim it will hurt industry and cause job losses, and dispute the idea that it will cut emissions. The real reason, however, may be that Tony Abbott has previously expressed scepticism about the concept of climate change in the first place, quoted in 2009 as saying he thinks there are “fashions in science and the academe”.

Gillard will be donning her armour for what is certain to be a season of bitter dispute. But at least she has experience of handling Abbott’s stream of sexist jibes. Last year he infamously inquired, in reference to Gillard changing her mind on a debate on the economy, “Are you suggesting to me that when it comes to Julia, no doesn’t mean no?” When it comes to the carbon tax, though, Gillard’s yes is likely to mean yes. DM

Read More: Gillard pushes ahead with reform bills, in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Photo: Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard speaks during an address to “The Long Carbon Journey” forum in Sydney July 18, 2011. A major new Australian opinion poll has given another emphatic thumbs-down to Gillard and her recently unveiled carbon-reduction plan, stoking media speculation about her grip on power and the fate of the policy. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne.


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