Abbott Publishes Draft Legislation to Abolish Carbon Pricing

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government published draft legislation to abolish carbon pricing and called on the opposition Labor party not to block the bill in parliament.

Labor “must listen to the clear message that the Australian people sent at the last election,” Abbott, whose Liberal-National coalition won the Sept. 7 ballot, said in a statement.

The Carbon Price Mechanism passed by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2011 requires more than 300 of Australia’s largest emitters to pay about $24.15 a metric ton for greenhouse gases this year, the highest price in the world. While Abbott’s coalition has a majority in Australia’s lower house of parliament, it doesn’t control the upper house Senate, which has the power to block his attempt to repeal the legislation.

Labor’s new leader Bill Shorten has indicated the party won’t support Abbott’s plans to scrap the so-called carbon tax from July 1, 2014.

The Greens party, which supports carbon pricing, holds the balance of power in the 76-member Senate until July 1. After that, the coalition will be forced to negotiate with smaller, mainly center-right parties, including mining magnate Clive Palmer’s party to pass legislation in the upper house.

Abbott told reporters today that companies would have to pay their carbon price liabilities until the end of this financial year and that the repeal wouldn’t be retrospective.

Public consultation on the draft legislation will be open until Nov. 4 and the new parliament will sit for the first time since the election on Nov. 11, Abbott said.

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