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Anthony Albanese’s new laws forcing Australia to cut CO2 emissions by 43 percent have been passed by the House of Representatives with the support of the Greens and the Independent of the Green-Blue Party.
The laws set a CO2 reduction target of 43 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.
Coalition members opposed the bill, except for Liberal MP Bridget Archer, who crossed the floor to see it passed by 89 votes to 55.
The bill is under review by a Senate inquiry due to report on Aug. 31, after which it will be discussed and expected to pass with support from the Greens and independent David Pocock.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra
Greens leader Adam Bandt seen leaving Kensington Primary School with his partner after federal election day vote
Mr Albanese celebrated the passing of the bill, telling reporters: ‘Today is a good day for business and a good day for workers and a good day for our environment.
‘I am very pleased that the climate legislation has passed the House of Representatives. This is a fulfillment of a core promise that we have fulfilled in the election of a 43 percent emission reduction by 2030.’
Greens leader Adam Bandt – whose party holds senate power – struck a deal with Mr Albanese to support the bill, but pledged to push for a complete ban on new coal and gas projects.
He wants to include a climate barrier in environmental regulations to make it more difficult to approve new mines, saying: ‘The battle is now starting to get Labor to stop opening coal and gas mines.’
The Greens wanted faster action on climate change and called for a 75 percent emissions reduction target by 2030 during the election campaign.
Opposition leader Peter Dutton opposed the 43 percent emission reduction target
The 2030 pledge is a step above the former coalition government’s non-statutory target of 26 to 28 percent. The coalition supports the goal of net zero by 2050.
Independent MP Zali Steggall said the ‘next step’ of Australia’s response to climate change should be to phase out oil, coal and gas.
She and other independents told reporters in Canberra they wanted to see more cooperation with the government, but praised the approach that Labor had taken.
‘We still see old-fashioned politics in Question Time,’ said Ms Steggall.
“I don’t think it impresses many of us and it certainly doesn’t impress the Australian public.”
Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen called the bill’s adoption “a good day for Australia” and thanked the cross-benchers for working with the government.
“Renewable energy is the cheapest form of energy, renewable energy is the key to reducing emissions and seizing the job opportunity that is the climate emergency,” he told parliament on Thursday.
After consultation with the Greens, the government agreed to ensure that the emissions target could only go up in the future, with a mechanism to increase its ambition.
There will also be greater transparency and stricter requirements for the Climate Change Authority, the body charged with advising on climate goals and policies.
Several amendments proposed by independent MPs were supported by the government, including to explicitly include regional Australia in new laws.
The coalition supported independent MP Helen Haines’ amendment to ensure that the authority does not consider economic, employment and social benefits for rural and regional Australia.
The government also agreed to ensure that the bill clearly states its intent to drive climate action and is related to science.
But the government and the opposition voted against the amendments to lift the emissions reduction target to 75 percent by 2030 and net zero by 2035, proposed by the Greens and independent MP Andrew Wilkie.
Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi said her party had helped improve the bill
“We entered the process in good faith, always with the intention of improving this bill, which was very weak,” she told ABC radio.
“But let’s be clear: coal and gas will destroy this target pretty quickly. And that fight will continue.’
ACT independent Senator David Pocock said the 43 percent target set in the legislation was not high enough, but certainty was important.
Senator Pocock said he wouldn’t “stamp down” the bill until it was properly reviewed.
“My job is to work with the crossbench, to work with the government, to make sure that everything we legislate in September is with integrity,” he said.
The independent Dai Le (pictured on Wednesday) has refused to support Labor’s climate change bill amid fears it will increase the cost of living
Independent Dai Le has refused to support Labor’s climate change bill amid fears it will increase the cost of living.
The new MP for Fowler, who unexpectedly beat Kristina Keneally to win the previously safe Labor seat in Sydney’s west, said the bill does not detail how it will affect poor Aussies.
Senior liberals have branded it a pointless virtue sign and Ms Le – the first refugee to become an MP – has also refused to support it, fearing it could increase the cost of living by increasing utility bills.
“I have decided to abstain from voting on the climate change bill until there are more details about how its implementation will affect low-income families in Fowler,” she said on Wednesday.
‘I do not consider the current climate law to be an emergency. Right now Australian families are in a real emergency, and we need to focus on low-income families struggling with high food, fuel and energy prices,” she said.
Labor has insisted that the transition to renewable energy will lower power prices over time, but has already withdrawn its election pledge to cut bills by $275 a year by 2025, amid rising energy costs this winter.
Ms Le, who is pushing for an extension of the fuel tax cut by 22 cents per liter after Sept. 28, said her priority will be to reduce the cost of living for the difficult Aussies as inflation rises in the June 6 quarter. reached 1 percent. the highest level since 2001.