Australia: Climate bills get limited air in Senate

AGORA moderator's picture

The federal government's high-priority bid to scrap the carbon tax has been put on the backburner during day one of parliament for 2014.

The Senate spent less than an hour on Tuesday debating the Climate Change Authority (Abolition) Bill 2013, which scraps the body set up to advise on carbon emissions targets, and is just a part of the government's proposed climate-related repeals.

While Labor and the Australian Greens remain opposed to the bills, Prime Minister Tony Abbott appears to have conceded they will not pass until the make-up of the Senate changes after July 1.

He told a coalition meeting that the first fortnight in July, when the Greens lose the balance of power in the upper house, would be one of the signature events of the year.
Labor MP Ursula Stephens welcomed delays in the passage of the repeal bills, adding that if the CCA is not shut down before the end of February, the government will face calls for stricter reductions.

She told the upper house the government would have to contend with the CCA's Targets and Progress Review, which will recommend an increase to Australia's emissions reduction target.

Debate on the bills was adjourned.

In the lower house, Environment Minister Greg Hunt called on Labor to make life easier for 75,000 companies affected by the carbon tax and for Australian households affected by the resulting higher utility bills.

"Now's the moment to take your senators back to work and to get out of the way of lower electricity, gas and fuel prices," he said.

SOURCE: 9 News, February 11th 2014: