5 May 2009

Australian Govt accused of looking for excuse for election

6:53 am on 5 May 2009

The Greens claim the federal government in Australia is moving to secure a trigger for a double dissolution election over climate change.

The Government has delayed the start of an emissions trading scheme by 12 months to 2011, despite earlier saying it would be reckless to delay it.

It is also fixing the price of carbon for the first year and giving affected industries more financial support.

The Government wants the legislation passed through Parliament by mid-year, but has so far failed to win the support of any non-Government senators.

Greens Leader Bob Brown told ABC1's Lateline programme he believes the Government is willing to consider an early election on the issue.

But he said, the Government should serve its full term and focus on reducing the nation's carbon emissions.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong refused to comment on this. She told ABC1's 7.30 Report the global financial crisis was the major factor in the decision to delay the start of the ETS.

Senator Wong said the Government was mindful of the impact of the financial crisis and the new scheme on businesses.

The ABC reports the Government will face an uphill battle to get the legislation through the Senate: both the Opposition and the Greens slammed the announcement.

Senator Brown said the decision jeopardised the future of international agreements on climate change.