13 Nov 2013

Abbott introduces carbon tax repeal bills

2:27 pm on 13 November 2013

The Australian government has begun the process of abolishing the carbon tax, introducing laws to parliament to unwind Labor's clean energy laws.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday introduced a bill to repeal the levy, marking his government's first major piece of legislation since winning the 7 September election.

Mr Abbott told the House of Representatives the election was a referendum on the carbon tax, and the Australian people had spoken, AAP reports.

"This bill delivers on the coalition's commitment to the Australian people to scrap the toxic tax," he said on Wednesday.

The prime minister had been forced to wait more than a hour to move his centrepiece legislation after Labor used tactics to stall proceedings in parliament.

Then, as he spoke, protesters in the public gallery interrupted before being threatened with eviction by Speaker Bronwyn Bishop.

Mr Abbott said the carbon tax made it harder for domestic businesses to compete at home and had harmed Australia's competitiveness abroad.

He promised families and pensioners would continue to receive the compensation and tax cuts associated with Labor's carbon pricing scheme, even though it would be gone.

The government insists electricity costs will fall by 9% and gas prices by 7% once the carbon tax is gone, providing the average household with an annual power bill saving of $550.

The legislation is the first step in the coalition's long-standing pledge to do away with Labor's carbon pricing scheme, which was introduced in mid-2012.

If passed, the package of laws would not only repeal the carbon tax but abolish the Climate Change Authority - a governmental independent advisory body.