29 Nov 2009

No early election if Australian carbon law fails - Rudd

7:33 am on 29 November 2009

The Australian Prime Minister has doused speculation he will call an early federal election if the emissions trading scheme legislation fails to be approved by parliament.

Speaking in Trinidad on the first day of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGMo), where climate change has become the number one issue, Kevin Rudd said Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull and treasury spokesperson Joe Hockey needed to push the bipartisan deal through.

Mr Rudd says he has been elected to serve a full term and that remains his intention.

Australia's parliament has delayed a final vote on the government's sweeping carbon trade plan, throwing Mr Rudd's new climate change policy into doubt.

Mr Rudd wanted the carbon scheme, aimed at cutting emissions by between 5-25%, passed by Friday evening and ahead of December's global climate talks in Copenhagen.

But the upper house Senate failed to take a vote by the close of business and will now return on Monday.

If the proposed laws on carbon trade are defeated in the upper house for a second time this year, Mr Rudd would have the option of calling a snap election in early 2010.

Government Senate leader Chris Evans told parliament the legislation will be pursued and the Labor Party will be back on Monday.

The government needs seven opposition votes to pass the plan in the Senate, but a growing number of opposition lawmakers want to abandon the agreement with the government on the measure.