After years of political wrangling and a week of uncertainty, the carbon tax has finally been repealed.
Parliament has formally dispensed with the carbon tax on Thursday after the Senate voted 39 to 32 in favour of its abolition.
Subdued applause from government senators greeted the result as the Abbott government finally delivered on its key election promise.
“This is great news for Australian families and for small businesses,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in a statement issued minutes after the vote.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten responded in a press release, saying that “history will judge Tony Abbott harshly for refusing to believe that action is needed on climate change.”
Greens leader Christine Milne said at a press conference that this would be a short lived moment of victory for the Abbott Government “because global warming is not going away”.
The three PUP senators and the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party’s Ricky Muir gave the government four of the six crossbench votes it needed to abolish the tax.
Family First’s Bob Day and Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm rounded out the majority needed.
Another crossbencher, the DLP’s John Madigan, voted for the repeal. Independent Nick Xenophon was not in the chamber for the vote.
Labor and the Australian Greens opposed the repeal but didn’t have the numbers to save the scheme introduced by the Gillard government in 2012.
Christine Milne made a last-minute plea to the crossbench to block the repeal, telling them it was a “critical moment” for the nation.
“Australia will be relegated to a pariah and a backwater,” Ms Milne said, to no avail.
The repeal bill was expected to pass through the Senate last Thursday, but grammar and spelling errors and claims of unconstitutionality in regard to Clive Palmer’s amendments resulted in the bill being sent back to the lower house.
The repeal marks the curtain call for one of the key initiatives of the Rudd and Gillard years, and a political victory for the Abbott Government.
This may not be the final word, however, as Labor signals an ETS – the climate policy originally preferred by Gillard – as a potential battleground at the next federal election. Senator Clive Palmer has indicated support for an ETS, but only if Australia’s key trading partners make the first move.
Carbon tax repealed 7 yrs to the day that John Howard revealed his plan for an ETS by 2011-12 — Shane Wright (@swrightwestoz) July 17, 2014
This is a tragic day for Australia and the planet but the Greens will lead the campaign to make the big polluters pay for global warming — Christine Milne (@senatormilne) July 17, 2014