Carbon Tax abolished by Senate

Australia has become the first country in the world to abolish a price on carbon, with the Senate passing the Abbott government’s repeal bills 39 votes to 32.

After two weeks of negotiations, and several false starts, the Abbott government achieved its long-held ambition on Thursday morning to axe the tax, to applause from government senators.

Passage of the legislation delivers the policy on which the government staked an election campaign, which ushered Prime Minister Tony Abbott to the head of his party, and which helped to kill the leadership of former prime minister Kevin Rudd and former opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull.

Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Penny Wong, speaks on the Carbon Tax Repeal Bill. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Penny Wong, speaks on the Carbon Tax Repeal Bill. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The Abbott government clinched its victory after a rocky two weeks trying to wrangle the new Senate and an unpredictable crossbench.

Greens Leader Christine Milne rose to her feet immediately before the vote to condemn government and crossbench senators for what would be "the legacy of their political career".

As the Senate prepared to dump the tax, Senator Milne declared the vote was a "failure" that would see Australia become a global pariah as other countries marched towards pricing carbon and stronger action on climate change.

Labor senator Lisa Singh said with one vote, the nation had moved backwards and "Australia will today be a laughing stock to the rest of the world".

But government senator Ian Macdonald stood to defend his colleagues and voters who swept the Coalition into power and backed the carbon tax's abolition.

He accused both Labor and the Greens of ''the ultimate hypocrisy''.

''It is the ultimate of hypocrisy for the Greens to say they know better than the Australian public,'' Senator Macdonald said.

''It's typical that the Greens think they know better than anyone.''

More to come

SMH

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