Australian PM Who Supported Biggest Carbon Tax in History Gets the Boot

Australian PM Who Supported Biggest Carbon Tax in History Gets the Boot

On June 26 Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard lost on a Labor Party ballot to former PM Kevin Rudd. Gillard made a name for herself not only by being Australia’s first female PM, but also by passing a carbon tax that became “the world’s most expensive levy on emissions.”

President Barack Obama, who renewed a push for emissions reductions this week, had praised Gillard’s carbon tax at the time, calling it a “bold strategy” at a joint press conference in Canberra, Australia in November 2011 (video at 26:06, below):

With respect to carbon emissions, I share the view of your Prime Minister and most scientists in the world that climate change is a real problem and that human activity is contributing to it, and that we all have a responsibility to find ways to reduce our carbon emissions.

Each country is trying to figure out how to do that most effectively.  Here in Australia, under the leadership of the Prime Minister, you’ve moved forward with a bold strategy.  In the United States, although we haven’t passed what we call a cap-and-trade system, an exchange, what we have done is, for example, taken steps to double fuel efficiency standard on cars, which will have an enormous impact on removing carbon from the atmosphere.

As the Wall Street Journal reported this week, Rudd not only takes back his post as PM but will now also be the Labor Party candidate for PM during Australia’s September election.

Ironically, Gillard became PM after beating Rudd for the post three years ago. She was able to defeat him by “promising reforms that would help the private sector”– which is the same thing Rudd had promised in 2007 but failed to deliver. 

In office, Gillard introduced a massive carbon tax. She told small businesses hurt by the tax that they should just pass the carbon tax burden on to their customers.

According to the the Guardian, this latest changing of the guard has provided Conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott with plenty of fodder. He said to Australians: “In 2007 you voted for Kevin and got Julia. In 2010 you voted for Julia and got Kevin. If you vote for the Labor party in 2013 who knows who you will end up with.”

Right now, the Labor Party is only polling 30% among those asked about the upcoming September election.

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins