Abbott Government Fails First Attempt to Repeal Carbon Tax as Labour, Greens Outnumber Coalition Votes

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By Reissa Su | March 20, 2014 6:56 PM EST

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Coalition government have failed in its first attempt to repeal Australia's carbon tax. The Australian Labour Party and the Greens used their numbers to their advantage in the Senate to block the carbon tax repeal with 33 votes against 29.

REUTERS/Daniel Munoz
A man takes part in a protest against the carbon tax in central Sydney. June 8, 2012.

According to reports, the move may possibly pave the way for a double dissolution election which may be decided by the government.  The news of the block came following the Abbott government's immediate move to push a bill in the House of Representatives to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. The removal of the $10 billion agency is in line of the Coalition's plans to do away with the climate change policies of the previous government.

The government will need to wait three months before the carbon tax repeal can be brought to Parliament again. The Coalition remains hopeful that the new incoming senators in July will be in favour of the carbon tax repeal.

Labour had previously proposed to scrap the carbon tax and move to an ETS beginning July 1 but the Abbott government and the Greens were opposed to it. The Opposition Environment spokesman Mark Butler said Labour has been honest with their intentions before the election in 2013. Labour will agree to repeal Australia's carbon tax if there is a "credible plan" to address the issue of climate change. He said Mr Abbott's Direct Action policy is "not a credible alternative."

Australia has been urged by International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Christine Lagarde to continue being the "pioneer" in the ongoing climate change debate. The IMF managing director said climate change issues are critical and should be considered "real." However, Australia's Environment Minister Greg Hunt defended the government by saying climate change is an issue the country takes seriously and declared Australia is "on track" to reduce emission targets by 5 per cent in 2020.

Mr Hunt, who is in favour of  a carbon tax repeal, said Australia will hit its emission targets "easily."  He once again criticised Labour's carbon tax for hitting factories, farms and factories. He declared that the policy simply does not do its job. The Coalition had claimed that Labour's carbon tax was only causing "plenty of pain, with no environmental gain."

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(Photo: REUTERS/Daniel Munoz / )
A man takes part in a protest against the carbon tax in central Sydney. June 8, 2012.
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