No carbon price under Coalition: Abbott

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott strengthened his resolve on the issue on Sunday.


“There will be no carbon price on consumers under a coalition government, none whatsoever,” Mr Abbott told reporters in Sydney.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has yet to announce her climate change policy but Mr Abbott is certain it will include a price on carbon.

“Julia Gillard says she wants a carbon price, she supports a carbon price and she will bring in a carbon price,” Mr Abbott said.

“And there is no way that this government should go right through to polling day without coming clean on exactly what its plans are to impose a carbon tax on everything and everyone.”

It was highly unlikely countries such as India and China would agree to a carbon price, Mr Abbott said.

“In order to raise their standards of living, they are inevitably going to become much bigger users of energy over time and the idea that they are going to deny themselves the kind of standard of living that other countries enjoy, it’s just not very plausible and it’s not going to happen anytime soon.”

If ever there was international agreement on the issue the coalition would address it then.

“If … and let’s cross that bridge when we ever come to it,” Mr Abbott told Sky News earlier on Sunday.

Mr Abbott got himself into hot water saying the Climate Institute said the coalition’s policy was better than Labor’s.

“The other thing I say is that the Climate Institute actually said the coalition had a better policy on this because we actually have a policy to reduce emissions by five per cent of 2020 but we can do it without imposing higher costs on consumers.”

But Climate Institute chief executive John Connor said Mr Abbott was misguided on a number of fronts.

“It’s either a misunderstanding or misleading at worst to interpret the work that we’ve done to say the coalition are on track for their targets or somehow has a credible or acceptable plan on pollution and climate change,” Mr Connor told AAP.

The institute had been explicit in saying neither of the major parties had credible policies for the targets in terms of pollution levels, Mr Connor said.

China has been closing down pollution intensive steel mills and power plants, setting pollution standards and has renewable energy targets.

“They have got a number of policies which amount to a carbon price,” Mr Connor said.

“They are certainly taking action and they understand that taking action on pollution and climate change is part of a better standard of living.”

Mr Abbott’s comments were contradictory because by supporting renewable energy the coalition would essentially support a carbon price, Mr Connor said.

His comments also showed cracks in the Liberal policy on the issue because Joe Hockey had spoken about the need for a price on carbon in May.

“To me it’s the most extreme anyone from the coalition has been about that saying there will never be a price on carbon.”

Greens senator Christine Milne said it was clear Mr Abbott had no idea about climate change.

“While both Labor and Liberals dig us deeper and deeper into coal, China and India are leaving us behind,” Senator Milne said.

Mr Abbott and Ms Gillard would undermine a global treaty on pricing carbon if they continued to say Australia would not act on the issue, Senator Milne said.