The idea of carbon cops has been around for a while (see here), but now it is set out formally in the draft carbon tax legislation. The powers are draconian and intimidating, with previously sacred rights, such as that of avoiding self-incrimination, being swept away:
A NEW carbon cop will be given sweeping powers to enter company premises, compel individuals to give self-incriminating evidence and copy sensitive records under a carbon tax package that will force about 60,000 businesses to pay 6c a litre extra for fuel.
The tough new powers of the Clean Energy Regulator were included in the fine detail of the carbon tax package released yesterday, which enshrines national emissions cuts of 12 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year after 2016, if the government of the day rejects targets proposed by its Climate Change Authority.
The package, which shows that the government will cement in law the body of its carbon tax structure in a bid to force Tony Abbott to win the approval of both houses of parliament to complete his promise to scrap it, also tasks the Productivity Commission with inquiries into assistance to trade-exposed industries, international climate change action and the future of fuel taxes.
As it released the exposure draft of the 14-bill package — which will set up the $23-a-tonne carbon tax, the mechanisms to pay compensation for households, the Climate Change Authority and the Clean Energy Regulator — the government said it planned to introduce the bills in September and plan to have them passed by November. The schedule raised hackles with some interest groups for allowing only three weeks of consultation.
The exposure draft of the legislation gives sweeping powers to the Clean Energy Regulator, which will police the scheme, and the climate change minister will have the power to demand information from corporations covered by the scheme.
Fraud or attempts to subvert the scheme can be punished by up to 10 years in jail or fines of $1.1 million for corporations.
Inspectors working for the regulator will be able to obtain warrants to search premises of companies covered by the act and search or examine any activity on site as well as copy documents.
The regulator will have the authority to demand information from company officers even if it could incriminate them. (source)
Welcome to the new world of the carbon police state.