Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, personally congratulated former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard when her Labor government introduced the carbon tax. In a move described by the Sydney Morning Herald as a “clear embarrassment” for then opposition leader Tony Abbott, Britain’s nominally centre-right Prime Minister called the tax “bold” and “ambitious”.
The tax, which was formally repealed yesterday, caused considerable controversy when it was introduced and its repeal was one of Tony Abbott’s main manifesto pledges before he became Prime Minister. Abbott said that it cost each household an extra AU$550 a year and yet did nothing to help the environment.
After considerable political wrangling, Australia’s senate finally passed the repeal yesterday, marking a significant victory for conservative Abbott.
Despite being a supposed ideological ally of Mr Abbott, David Cameron sent a letter to Julia Gillard personally congratulating her when her government introduced the tax in 2011. Mr Cameron described climate change as one of the “most pressing threats to [a nation’s] prosperity and security”.
“I have always been clear that in order to tackle [climate change] effectively, all major economies will need to take robust action to curb their emissions and put their economies on a more sustainable, low-carbon footing,” he added.
He told Ms Gillard: “Your announcement sends a strong and clear signal that Australia is determined to make its contribution to addressing this challenge. It will add momentum to those, in both the developed and developing world, who are serious about dealing with this urgent threat.”
Mr Abbott is generally regarded as being somewhat of a sceptic of manmade climate change, unlike David Cameron who initially tried to rebrand Britain’s Conservative Party as a green party, with the slogan “vote blue, go green”. He has since tried to play down his green concerns.