The Senate of the Australian Parliament has voted to reject the Coalition government's legislation to repeal the Carbon Tax on Thursday.
According to local media, the package of repeal bills was finally put to a vote in the upper house on Thursday after months of debate, but was defeated 33 votes to 29 while the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens eventually used their combined numbers to reject the Coalition's legislation.
The government has been trying to pass the carbon tax repeal bills as a matter of priority since December 2013. The package has passed the lower house in November, but the Coalition finally has faced an impasse in the Senate.
According to analysis of the Australian Associated Press (AAP), it will be three months before the government can bring the legislation before parliament again but only the arrival of new senators in July is likely to produce a different outcome.
"If the legislation was to fail again, it would provide a trigger for a double dissolution election," the AAP said.
According to the ALP, what they have done is "ensuring Australia continues to have an effective climate policy framework" .
"Without a credible alternative, Labor cannot support the abolition of the existing clean energy policies," Shadow Climate Change Minister Mark Butler said.
And he reaffirmed that economists the world over support market- based approaches such as emissions trading schemes (ETS) as the most cost-effective measure to tackle climate change.
Butler added that Labor's amendments would have removed the carbon tax but retained a legislated cap on carbon pollution and brought an emissions trading scheme forward to July 1, 2014. "In contrast to Labor's ETS, Tony Abbott's Direct Action policy will cost the taxpayer billions of dollars and won't do enough to tackle climate change," Butler said.
The Australian Greens also confirmed that they voted to maintain the price on pollution.
"Momentum for emissions trading is building around the world ahead of the 2015 global climate negotiations. If Australia is left behind it will be our jobs, industry and innovation that will suffer," Greens Leader Christine Milne said Thursday.
She also said that the Coalition's Direct Action will be more expensive than the current market based mechanism and ineffective at reducing carbon pollution.
"The price on pollution is the nation's best defence against the more extreme bushfires, droughts and storms of the next century," she explained.