Legal opinion: no big bill to repeal carbon [dioxide] tax

Legal opinion

From The Australian:

A COALITION government elected next year could repeal the carbon tax without risking a multi-billion-dollar compensation bill, a prominent legal identity says.

The opposition has been dogged by claims it will be forced to pay billions for carbon units issued by the commonwealth if it honours its commitment to end the tax under the provisions of Section 51 of the constitution, which stipulates the government can only acquire property “on just terms”.

But Sydney barrister and former law academic Bryan Pape — whose 2009 challenge to the $900 million Rudd government stimulus payments led to the High Court demolishing the long-held assumption that the commonwealth can spend money in whatever area it wishes — says under the operations of the Clean Energy Act no acquisition of property issues would arise until 2015.

The opinion emerged as Julia Gillard confirmed the government was continuing to consult on the shape of the floor price in its carbon pricing legislation.

“We’ve been consulting on floor price arrangements as is well know,” the Prime Minister said.

“We will continue with that and when we’re in a position to say something about that, we will.”

In an opinion provided to the Institute of Public Affairs think-tank and obtained by The Australian, Mr Pape cites Section 100.7 of the act and says: “Up to June 30, 2015, any carbon units which were issued to persons by the regulator are taken to have been surrendered immediately after the issue of the unit.

“In short, there would be no property capable of being acquired.”

Given the situation, Mr Pape writes: “In my opinion there would be no consequences with respect to Section 51.”

Opposition climate spokesman Greg Hunt welcomed Mr Pape’s opinion.

“It fits with exactly what we always knew to be the case,” he said.

“There never has been and never will be a basis for compensation because nobody loses anything.

“The point about carbon units issued to companies now is that they are only ever issued for part payment of a carbon tax bill.

“Every single company that gets some compensation still has a bigger bill to pay.”

Mr Hunt repeated the Coalition’s determination to repeal the tax.

“Unlike the government we’ve said what we’ll do — and we’ll do it,” he said.

“The next election will be a referendum on the carbon tax.

“We can repeal it, we will repeal it and we’ll do it quickly and easily.” (source)

Comments

  1. Good FIRST step – now, how about the Renewable Energy Target???

    Also, are all those climate-scam-based government departments going to be closed down?

    And are any “public servants” and pollies who have knowingly made fraudulent claims going to be prosecuted??

  2. Doug Proctor says:

    This is both good news and a reasonable course for the government to have taken. If CAGW falls down by 2015 (I think 2015 is the critical year for CAGW as an on-going concern, i.e. 2015 is when we declare Hansen, Gore and Suzuki goats, not heroes, and Gillard and others as the duped-but-meaning-well), then they can back-off on the carbon tax.

    BTW: the carbon tax is not going away, it is just going to be renamed and re-assigned. In Canada, we has a MST or Manufacturing Sales Tax, that was repealed, only to be replaced with a GST, or Goods & Services Sales Tax. Of course it was: the government runs deficit budgets if it can get away with it, and balanced budgets if it has to. Once a revenue stream is in place or acceptable to be put in place in some manner, it will be. And never withdrawn without the money requirement being satisfied in some other way that does not include reducing government expenses.

  3. I have seen comments that the Libs will get rid of the Carbon tax, but go straight to an ETS. They need to state that there will be no price on carbon, AT ALL. and get rid of the RET.

  4. Andyg55 comments would seem to support my unpopular-but-rapidly-gaining-credibility opinion that both parties are both dogs of the same breed, just dyed a different colour to give the illusion of “choice” for voters.

    Surely when you see the same agenda going forward from both political parties, the mug punters have to wake up and realise its all a controlled scam called “democracy”.

    Is it an ironic coincidence, or, in-ya-face chutzpah that in Canberra we have the Museum of Australian democracy?

    You could read it like an Obituary: “Here lies Australian Democracy – at leats you can see here what it *used* to look like – now extinct”

    QED ( sadly )

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