Abbott to push for plebiscite on carbon tax

Interesting times

It could be an interesting day in Parliament today:

AUSTRALIANS would be asked to vote on whether they want a carbon tax under a radical plan by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to be put before parliament today.

Mr Abbott will lodge a bill to force the government to a plebiscite on the carbon tax in a move which, if successful, could force Julia Gillard to junk the tax or go to the polls to seek a mandate.

In what would be the first full national plebiscite since the conscription votes of World War I, the question to be put to the Australian people would ask: “Are you in favour of a law to impose a carbon tax?”

Motions for a bill to enable the vote, drafted by the parliamentary clerk, will be introduced simultaneously in both the senate and the house of representatives at 10am today. The bill has been deemed constitutional by the clerk, preventing the government from rejecting it for a vote in the senate.

If passed by both houses, the government would have 90 days to call the plebiscite, requiring all registered voters to cast their verdict on the tax.

While not binding on the government as are referenda, Mr Abbott said a “no” vote would have such moral authority that Ms Gillard would be forced to either dump the tax or go to an early election to seek a mandate. Mr Abbott, who has effectively pitched his leadership against the PM’s on the result, told The Daily Telegraph he believed the independents would support the bills in the interests of democracy.

“I think if the PM had any integrity she would seek a mandate at an election for her tax. Clearly she is not going to do that,” he said.

“The independents don’t want an election … this gives them a chance to have a vote without having an election. It gives them a chance to respect democratic principles.”

We’ll see. The independents haven’t shown themselves to be particularly principled in the past, but we can only hope. An opinion poll on the plebiscite proposal is currently running at 90% in favour.

Read it here.


  1. The Loaded Dog says:

    It’ll be interesting to see how Gillard slimes her way around this one.

    She’ll be looking more and more like the dictating “serious cat” of the greens.

  2. Sean McHugh says:

    Now I get it! I was wondering what Cate Banchett was talking about when she told us to say “Yes” to a ‘Carbon Tax’. It’s as if the Labor/Greens foresaw and approved this proposed referendum. I say, let’s see more of Carbon Cate’s ad. The Coalition won’t need to make one.

  3. SOYLENT GREEN says:

    Perhaps you guys can prevail upon Mr. Abbott to not adopt Warmist language.
    This would be a tax on CO2, not carbon.
    The distinction is important.

  4. I was too young to vote at the last election, but should Abbott be successful in getting this bill through, I would relish the chance to tell this government a big, fat “NO”.


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