Australia’s new conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott Wednesday moved to abolish a carbon tax designed to combat climate change as his first major economic reform since taking office.
Abbott said the September 7 election which he won decisively had been a referendum on the future of the tax which was imposed by the former Labor government on major polluters from 2012 in a bid to reduce carbon emissions.
“No one should be in any doubt — the government is repealing the carbon tax in full,” he said as he introduced a bill to repeal the tax into parliament.
“We are doing what we were elected to do. We have said what we mean and we will do what we say — the carbon tax goes. It goes.”
Scrapping the divisive tax was a central election promise of Abbott who had argued the cost of the levy was passed on to consumers, resulting in higher utility bills and day-to-day costs.
“The intention of the new government is to put power prices down by axing this toxic tax and by using other means to reduce emissions,” he said.
“This is our bill to reduce your bills, to reduce the bills of the people of Australia.”
Abbott also said the removal of the tax would strengthen the economy of Australia, which is among the world’s worst per capita polluters due to its reliance on coal-fired power and mining exports.
The carbon tax had charged the country’s biggest polluters for their emissions at a fixed price and was due to transition to an emissions trading scheme.
The new government instead favours a “direct action” plan that includes an incentive fund to pay companies to increase their energy efficiency, a controversial sequestration of carbon in soil scheme, and the planting 20 million trees.
Abbott had earlier been forced to wait for about an hour to move the legislation after Labor, which opposes the dismantling of the tax, stalled proceedings with debate about the government’s nickname for opposition leader Bill Shorten.
The prime minister had referred to his opposition counterpart as “Electricity” Bill Shorten during a media interview earlier in the day, a moniker attacked by Labor as “name-calling”.
Then as he began to move the bill, Abbott was interrupted by yelling protesters in the public gallery.
“Inaction (on climate) is simply not good enough,” shouted one protester, one of more than a dozen removed from the chamber.
The government also introduced a bill to repeal the mining tax — a levy once proposed as a 40 percent tax on “super profits” within the industry but which was ultimately greatly reduced in size and scope after a backlash from the mining sector.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]
WATCH: Trump looks on as Turkey’s Erdo?an denies the Armenian Genocide ever occurred
President Donald Trump looked on as Turkish President Recep Erdo?an denied the Armenian Genocide during a joint press conference at the White House.
Trump allowed Erdo?an's visit despite Turkey's ethnic cleansing of America's Kurdish allies in northern Syria.
Onlookers were shocked that Erdo?an did this in front of the president and multiple Republican senators.
From the White House, Erdogan is ranting about the Armenian Genocide, saying it didn’t happen and that he wants to set up a “history commission.”
Veteran ex-Trump supporter: ‘Real veterans who remember their oath will support impeachment’
In an op-ed published in The Times of Israel this Wednesday, an Army veteran who has since renounced his support of President Trump accused the President of being "unpatriotic."
According to David Weisman, "real veterans who remember their oath will support impeachment."
"When I first got into politics, as I have mentioned numerous times, I thought the Republican Party was the party of upholding the Constitution and ethical principles," Wesiman writes. "I took the word of pundits thinking Republicans stood for truth, justice, and the American way. I never questioned their integrity when they condemned President Obama. Why? Because they were religious and it didn’t occur to me they would lie. Years later, if you are aware of my story, I learned that most of the demonizing of President Obama was propaganda. I’ve also learned to read the fine print of the Constitution because there’s more involved than just the right of free speech and the right to bear arms. Lots of nuance to acknowledge."
WATCH: Trump whines to Turkish president he only takes questions from ‘friendly reporters’
In a press conference Wednesday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, President Donald Trump openly reminded that he only takes questions from people on his side.
"Would you like to pick somebody?" Trump asked Erdo?an after taking a question from the far-right OANN. "A friendly person from Turkey, please. Friendly. Only friendly reporters. There aren’t too many of them around."
Trump has increasingly refused to take questions from reporters who ask him actual questions that he both knows the answer to and will make him look good.
The White House hasn't hosted a "daily press briefing" for 247 days and not at all under the new press secretary, Stephanie Grisham. She has, however, had time to appear on Fox News multiple times to speak for the White House.