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

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down nearly three percent, while US market indexes were off around two percent in early trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs