Australia Repeals Carbon Tax Law; Labor Promises to Revive Levy

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By Vittorio Hernandez | July 18, 2014 12:14 AM EST

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott finally fulfilled his campaign promise on Thursday, July 18, to repeal Julia Gillard's carbon tax law. To do that after two years when the tax was collected, the PM had the backing of the new crossbenchers in the Senate, along with the Palmer United Party. Thirty-nine legislators voted to repeal the carbon tax, while 32 Labor and Green members opposed the repeal.


Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) talks to a guest during a lunch meeting in Shanghai April 11, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

However, while Mr Abbott may have won politically, the country became the first nation in the world to reverse action on climate change, said Opposition leader Bill Shorten who vowed to bring back the measure even if it would place at stake his ambition to be prime minister.

"The tax you voted to get rid of is finally gone," boasted Mr Abbott who said Australians made clear their dislike for the carbon tax - which business complained hit them $15.4 billion over two years - by voting the Coalition into office.

In turn, Shorten retorted, "Tony Abbott is sleepwalking Australia to an environmental and economic disaster."

He added that for 2016, he would push for an emissions trading scheme with a floating price on carbon set by the market instead of a fixed one established by the government.

The PM insisted, "Surely it's time to accept that the Australian people don't want a carbon tax. Whatever it's called, it's still a tax, and the Australian people don't want it."

To show business support for the repeal, energy retailers said that would pass on the savings to consumers. When it campaigned for the tax's repeal, the Coalition promised households would save between $5 and $10 a week through an estimated yearly savings of up to $200 on electricity and $70 on gas.

The gas and electricity providers and bulk importers of synthetic gas have 30 days to inform the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission how they will pass the savings to consumers, although it is still not clear when would it be reflected on household utility bills.

The Coalition promises more savings that would flow via other sectors.

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Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) talks to a guest during a lunch meeting in Shanghai April 11, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
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