Tony Abbott Bill to Scrap Clean Energy 'Shot Down;' Opposition Challenges Double Dissolution Election
By Reissa Su | June 18, 2014 5:07 PM EST
The Australian Labour and Greens parties have challenged Prime Minister Tony Abbott to a double dissolution election after the Senate has voted down a bill to scrap the Clean Energy Finance Corporation for the second time.
A parking structure at the University of California San Diego uses innovative ''solar trees'' to collect renewable energy from the Sun February 8, 2011.
The Australian Senate defeated the bill with 35 votes against 28. According to reports, the Opposition, Greens and Independent Sen. Nick Xenophon were all against the abolition of the $10 billion corporation which has investments in renewable energy technology.
This was the second time the bill has been shot down in the Senate setting the stage for a challenge of a double dissolution election.
Treasurer Joe Hockey has slammed the Labour and the Greens for "defying" voters' judgment during the previous election. He said the government will introduce a repeal bill for the third time by next week.
On June 18, Greens Sen. Scott Ludlam had issued the challenge and called on Abbott for an early election regarding climate change policy. The senator addressed Abbott in his statement saying if he thinks renewable energy can't deliver results, this is the "trigger" for a double dissolution election that the Abbott government has been waiting for.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Australians will want to see Abbott keep his budget promises before the election. He dared the prime minister who is "all talk" and said to "bring it on."
Greens Leader Christine Mine also expressed her sentiment by telling Abbott to "give up" and accept the Clean Energy Finance Corporation was a profitable organization.
Hockey delivered the new budget on May 13 citing the axing of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) that was tasked to help bring new and emerging technologies into production and support the country's world-class solar research programs.
The Abbott government has decided that ARENA will be absorbed into the Department of Industry despite ARENA Chairman Greg Bourne's statement that the agency will continue to its duties until a repeal bill is passed in Parliament.
Australian Solar Council's John Grimes has described the budget as a "boulevard of broken dreams" for the renewable energy industry. With the Abbott government redirecting support for renewable energy, Clean Energy Council Deputy Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the scrapping of ARENA will prompt potential investors to look for other countries that have strengthened its clean energy initiatives. Australia may miss out on the possibility of more jobs and boost renewable energy efforts.
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