Thursday, June 25, 2009

Carbon scheme vote put off until August

ABC News Online, Posted Thu Jun 25

The Coalition and Independent Senator Nick Xenophon have combined to delay the vote on the Government's carbon trading scheme until August.

The Government had wanted its legislation for the scheme to be passed by today, arguing that business needed certainty on how the scheme would operate.

But the Coalition and all crossbench senators have refused to support it.

The Opposition and Senator Xenophon have passed a motion which commits the Senate to a vote in the first week of August sittings.

They have also commissioned economic modelling on alternative schemes to be undertaken and completed before the August vote.

Senator Xenophon says an August vote cannot be avoided.

"The Emissions Trading Scheme legislation will be dealt with in that week, come what may, and that's a commitment the Coalition's made, it's something the Government has signed on to," he said.

"It's not their preferred course but it means we'll have some certainty as to where we're going with this legislation, but it's important we have the facts."

Opposition emissions trading spokesman Andrew Robb says more information must be given on how the scheme will impact Australians.

"People haven't got the foggiest idea what impact it will have on emissions itself - this information needs to be on the table," he said.

But the Greens say the move to delay the vote on an emissions trading scheme is pointless and cowardly.

Greens Senator Christine Milne says the delay will not change the outcome and the scheme will be defeated in August.

"To run away until August is ridiculous because no-one will be changing their mind in that time," she said.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong says the Coalition now has a firm deadline to make up its minds about the Government's emissions trading scheme.

"The benefit in this motion from Senator Xenophon is that it actually brings down the bar, brings down the bar on your filibuster and your delay," Senator Wong said.

She says Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has to take a stand.

"What Mr Turnbull should do today is to come out and do two things. First he confirms he supports the CPRS, the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, coming to a vote in August ... and the second thing he will need to do is go away and get a position," she said.

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