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Hundreds rally against Australian carbon tax

 Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott addresses the crowd during a demonstration against the Australian Labor Governments proposed carbon tax outs...

Australian Carbon Tax

Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott addresses the crowd during a demonstration against the Australian Labor Governments proposed carbon tax outs...

More than 1,000 Australians protested government plans to tax industrial polluters for the carbon dioxide they release into the atmosphere on Wednesday in a grass-roots challenge to the country's bid to cut its greenhouse gas emissions.
Most of the protesters outside Parliament House were over 60 years old and many said they had never before taken part in a public demonstration. They argue the tax will add to their household bills and damage the economy.
Many had traveled 190 miles (300 kilometers) by bus from Sydney to the capital, Canberra, to take part in the two-hour event organized by a coalition of community groups and promoted by radio talk show hosts. A few buses had journeyed 500 miles (800 kilometers) from Melbourne.
Catrina Stafford, 70, who caught a bus from Sydney, said she was angry that Prime Minister Julia Gillard had gone back on her promise before she was re-elected in August last year that her government would not introduce a carbon tax.
"I'm very concerned that there will be an enormous cost to the economy with no evidence that there will be results" in reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions, Stafford told The Associated Press.
Rally organizer Chris Johnson, from the lobby group Consumers and Taxpayers Association, said an election should be called to test the government's mandate for a carbon tax.
"The Australian public have not had a chance to vote or have a say on the issue," Johnson said.
But after the protest, Gillard refused to delay action on climate change until after the next election, due in 2013.
"We will get on with the job of leading this nation to a clean energy future," Gillard told Parliament.
"If you care about the jobs of the future, then you want to price carbon. If you care about the environment, then you want to price carbon and that's precisely what we'll do," she said.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions, the nation's top unions advocate, countered the protest by presenting the government on Wednesday with a petition carrying about 10,000 signatures that supported the government's proposed action on climate change.
Gillard announced plans last month to introduce a carbon tax from July 1, 2012.
The plan has the support of the key Greens party and independent legislators but faces a battle in the Senate, where opposition lawmakers argue polluters should remain free to emit carbon gas.
The most contentious details _ such as what to charge per ton of carbon and how much compensation to provide hard-hit industries and householders as they make the transition_ have yet to be decided.
Australia is one of the world's worst greenhouse gas polluters per capita due largely to its heavy energy reliance on coal, its largest export.


Updated : 2021-06-16 03:40 GMT+08:00