CANBERRA (BNO NEWS) — Thousands of Australians protested in front of Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday to protest against the Prime Minister’s plan to introduce a carbon tax, local media reported.
An estimated 4,000 protesters called on Prime Minister Julia Gilliard to abandon her carbon tax plan and allow an immediate election after she had ruled out a carbon tax during her re-election campaign.
“I don’t rule out the possibility of legislating a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, a market-based mechanism [during the next parliament]. I rule out a carbon tax,” Gilliard told The Australian newspaper during last year’s re-election campaign, after which she won a second term as prime minister.
However, in February, Gilliard announced a plan to implement a fixed price to be imposed on carbon pollution from July 2012. The carbon tax would be placed for three to five years before a complete trading scheme on carbon emissions is implemented and some key issues are further discussed and negotiated.
Tuesday’s rally was organized by the Consumers and Taxpayers Association to mark the first anniversary of Gilliard’s pledge that she would not introduce a carbon tax. The government has meanwhile blamed Tony Abbot, the leader of the Opposition in the Australian House of Representatives, for calling for a “people’s revolt” against the carbon tax.
Abbot was very careful to tell the protesters that, while he supported their opposition to the carbon tax and their call for a fresh election, he did not agree with every sign he saw or all of their opinions. This comes after some signs were considered disrespectful for insulting PM Gilliard in a similar demonstration earlier this year.
Other Members of Parliament also attended the rally and encouraged the protesters to keep up the fight, local media reported. But despite Tuesday’s protest, the carbon tax looks set to pass Parliament in September with the support of the Australian Greens and the three lower house independents.
Next week, truck drivers from all over the country will converge on the capital in an attempt to close down roads around Parliament, in protest against the controversial carbon tax.