News / Asia

    Australia Axes Controversial Carbon Tax

    Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott delivers his keynote speech during the B20 Summit in Sydney, July 17, 2014.
    Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott delivers his keynote speech during the B20 Summit in Sydney, July 17, 2014.
    Phil Mercer

    The Australian parliament has voted to end a controversial carbon tax and plans for an emissions trading scheme. Conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott says getting rid of the levy will boost business and lower household power bills, but critics insist Abbott is taking Australia backwards.

    Abbott believes the carbon tax was a handbrake on the economy, and put too much financial pressure on families.

    He said it was a "destructive tax" that damaged jobs, and did little to help the environment.

    The levy was introduced in July 2012 by the previous Labor administration.  It saw hundreds of the nation’s biggest polluters pay a fee for each ton of carbon dioxide they emitted.  After two failed attempts, the legislation to repeal the tax was passed by Australia’s upper house of parliament, the Senate, by 39 votes to 32. 

    Government Senator Ian Macdonald told parliament the tax was a waste of time and effort.

    “Australia emits less than 1.4 per cent of global emissions and without serious work by the United States, China, Russia and the European Union, doing a 5 per cent reduction in Australia will make not one iota of difference,” said Macdonald.

    But Australia is the developed world’s highest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases thanks to a reliance of cheap and plentiful supplies of coal.

    Critics say the prime minister has committed a monumental environmental blunder, while the Labor opposition leader Bill Shorten said Abbott had “embarrassed” his country.

    Labor's Penny Wong, a former climate change minister, said the environment is being punished for short-term political gain.

    “A man called Mr. Tony Abbott decided that it was in his political interest not to look to what was responsible, not to look to what was right, not to look to an effective, credible response to climate change, but to stake his political career, his political ambition, on fear mongering and scare mongering,” said Wong.

    The government, however, insists that Australia’s promise to reduce its emissions levels by 5% from 2000 levels, by 2020, would be met through a "direct action" plan that includes financial incentives for polluters to increase their energy efficiency.

    You May Like

    Video Twists and Turns Aplenty in US Presidential Race

    Even as Americans pause for this week’s Memorial Day holiday, much attention is focused on the presidential contest

    Iran Orders Social Media Sites to Store Data Inside Country

    New requirements are expected to affect the instant messaging app Telegram, which has more than 20 million users inside Iran

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: R Thomas from: US
    July 20, 2014 9:19 PM
    Best thing that could happen for Australia and hope that decision influences other countries. Global warming is a farse and we need to call it what it is - a way to control our rights, our property and our money.

    by: John
    July 17, 2014 3:50 AM
    I'm naturally pleased that Tony has carried out the policy I voted him in for, and repealed the carbon tax. I hope he abolishes the compulsory purchase at inflated prices of wind and solar power as well.
    If Labor and the Greens think it necessary to reduce CO2 emissions, I'd be prepared to compromise by having all our electricity generated by nukes. I'm sure they'd find this one an absolute non-starter.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora