Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Prime Minister Tony Abbott AAP Image - Jeffrey Chan

Senate passes bill to scrap carbon tax

WITH the crucial votes of Senate crossbenchers, the Abbott Government has passed its bills to repeal the carbon tax, on the third attempt, through the Upper House today.

After weeks of debate, divisions and filibustering, the Senate has approved the carbon tax repeal legislation, one of a raft of key measures the government hopes to push through before week's end.

Queensland Senator Ian Macdonald welcomed the final vote, repeating the Coalition's characterisation of the 2013 election as a "referendum on the carbon tax".

Opposed by both Labor and The Greens, Sen Macdonald said it was the "ultimate hypocrisy" for the minor party, which now holds 10 Senate seats to "say they know better than the Australian public".

Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said the vote was a "critical moment for our nation", saying the way senators chose to vote on the abolition bills would be "the legacy of their political career".

It comes after Clive Palmer and his minor party inserted itself into tense negotiations over the repeal bills in the past three weeks, getting guarantees from the government that the savings would be passed on.

But numerous critics of the repeal have challenged the government to answer how its oft-repeated savings of $550 a year would actually be delivered to households.

While there may be savings, groups including The Climate Institute have estimated any such savings as between $80 and $200, while the government has maintained there would be some savings.

The Senate now turns its attention to a raft of budget measures and other bills the government hopes to pass this week, having extended sitting hours for as long as it may take.

Average Queensland family will save about $170 a year

The average Queensland family will save about $170 a year off their household electricity bill, the state government says.

Treasurer Tim Nicholls and Energy Minister Mark McArdle applauded the senate's vote to axe the tax and said it brought some welcome cost of living relief for Queensland families.

Mr Nicholls said Prime Minister Tony Abbott is to be congratulated for delivering the outcome that Australians overwhelming voted for.

"Labor's carbon tax has not only been an unnecessary slug on the Queensland economy, it's also failed its primary purpose - to have any real impact on lowering carbon emissions," he said in a statement today.

"What's really disappointing is that Labor's Queensland senators yet again voted against the repeal of their carbon tax, showing once and for all that they will only stand up for their Greens mates, not Queensland families."

Mr McArdle said the scrapping of the carbon tax will deliver real savings for Queenslander's on their electricity bills.

"The independent Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) has found that the rise in the domestic tariff 11 for 2014-15 will now be just 5.1 per cent instead of 13.6%," he said.

"The average household on Tariff 11 and a load control tariff (hot water and/or pool pump tariff) could expect to save around $170 this financial year.

"There are also significant tariff reductions across the board for Queensland businesses and farmers.

"The industry must respond to the repeal of the carbon tax by passing on the savings to Queensland families."



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Large Business Low Voltage General Supply - Demand (Obsolete)




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Scientists slam repeal of the carbon tax

Professor Roger Jones, Professional Research Fellow in Victoria Institute of Strategic Economic Studies at Victoria University:

The perfect storm of stupidity.

It's hard to imagine a more effective combination of poor reasoning and bad policy making.

A complete disregard of the science of climate change and its impacts.

Bad economics and mistrust of market forces.

Poor risk management to take what is effective and working, what can be readily adapted to more stringent targets, and replace it with a more expensive and unwieldy scheme that lacks the resources to meet its totally inadequate target of 5 per cent reductions by 2020.

A total failure of governance by government."

Dr Hugh Outhred, a Senior Visiting Fellow at the School of Electrical Engineering & Telecommunications at UNSW

With climate change already underway, repeal of the carbon tax represents dereliction of duty with respect to the rights of young people and future generations, noting that an arguable flaw in the repealed legislation was to set an initial carbon price that was too high. 

The centrepiece of a coherent policy framework to mitigate dangerous climate change should be a steadily increasing carbon tax with reinvestment of the proceeds in assisting our society to become more sustainable.

The coalition plan to replace a "polluter pays" policy with a "pay the polluter" policy will exacerbate the budget imbalance while being simply inadequate to the task, while emission trading schemes are too complex and too subject to gaming to earn public trust."

Professor Peter Rayner, the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne

I'm a carbon cycle scientist, my job is to monitor, understand and predict the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

As an Australian, I'm proud of how much we have contributed to that understanding, but today I'm embarrassed by how poor we are at putting that understanding into practice.

We know we have to put Australia on a long road to a low-carbon future.

Today we stepped off the road for a nap but that won't make the road any shorter, we will just have to hurry more to catch up later.

I'm also mystified that a government which has thought and acted seriously for the long-term health of the federal budget can't think beyond the previous election for the carbon budget."

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