The climate change debate is heating up as Prime Minister Tony Abbott prepares for his first week of parliament since winning power, with repealing the carbon tax at the top of his agenda.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says Labor still intends to move amendments to the government’s repeal legislation that would see the carbon tax scrapped but replaced with an emissions trading scheme.
“I’m a negotiator, we look for the middle way,” Mr Shorten told ABC television on Sunday.
“What we’ve said to Tony Abbott and the coalition is we will scrap the carbon tax on the basis that we move towards effective policies to deal with carbon pollution.”
He ridiculed the government’s alternative so-called direct action plan, calling it “silly” and hinting Labor will support a Greens push for a Senate inquiry into the policy.
“We’re not going to have a bar of that,” he said. “It won’t work and it’s expensive.”
But government frontbencher Christopher Pyne says the coalition’s plan will work.
“What we’ve managed to craft is policy for climate change which is something that everybody could support,” he told Network Ten.
“Because who could be against planting more trees, better technology and better farming practices?”
Mr Pyne says the coalition believes in climate change but not in “apocalyptic predictions of some of our more extreme scientists”.
He defended Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s decision not to attend UN climate talks in Poland this week.
“Most people are saying that these talks in Warsaw aren’t expected to lead to any resolution and the coalition believes in more doing, rather than more talking,” he said.
“The left in this country usually believes that conferences are a substitute for action. We don’t believe that.”