Independent MPs support scrapping carbon tax

POSTED May 21, 2012

THE Coalition's attempt to scrap the carbon tax has gained ground, with two independents indicating some support for plans to repeal the legislation if there is a change of government.

The moves come amid forecasts of a shift in power in the Senate that could give Tony Abbott the votes he needs to unravel the carbon package without resort to a double-dissolution election.

Independent senator Nick Xenophon told Sky News's Australian Agenda program he believed Labor's scheme was "pretty awful policy" and said he would support Coalition moves to get rid of the carbon tax, subject to an alternative policy being put in place.

Independent MP Bob Katter told The Australian he would put forward Senate candidates from his Katter's Australian Party to propose repealing the carbon tax. "The whole thrust of our party is we are a development party.

"It is impossible to build and grow this country and be a development country under the carbon tax," Mr Katter said.

"This will be the death of what's left of many Australian industries and we will absolutely vote to get rid of it."

Mr Katter, whose party gained 11.5 per cent of the primary vote at the Queensland poll in March, predicted his group would get four candidates into the Senate at the election due next year.

Senator Xenophon said he would vote to repeal the carbon tax but wanted to make sure any alternative policy would be good for the economy and environment. "I will support the repeal of the carbon pricing scheme but you need to have an alternative in place," he said.

"(The Coalition) have got their direct action plan, which itself is quite clunky and inefficient in economic terms. So I will be pushing for good policy that will minimise the economic impacts and maximise any good environmental impacts."

Labor's carbon tax comes into effect from July 1 with an initial starting price of $23 a tonne.

It will then move to an emissions trading scheme from 2015 with a floating price.

The Opposition Leader has vowed to repeal Labor's carbon tax as the first act of his incoming government. His alternative direct action policy upholds the commitment to reduce emissions by 5 per cent by 2020 and will establish a "green army".

Opposition climate spokesman Greg Hunt said the Coalition welcomed Senator Xenophon's declaration, but said it was committed to its direct action scheme. "Once repealed, the Coalition will implement its direct action plan to reduce Australia's greenhouse without a costly carbon tax," he