In a spectacular joint appearance with former Vice President Al Gore, Clive Palmer has announced the Palmer Unitet Party will vote to repeal the carbon tax but seek to set up a shell emissions trading scheme that could be activated in the future.
The PUP senators, who take their places from July 1, will also vote against the abolition of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Climate Change Authority, and prevent any change to the renewable energy target before the next election.
The Palmer Party’s decision means that Tony Abbott will be able to fulfil his promise of scrapping the carbon tax but can only get part of the measures in his broad repeal package.
PUP will demand that the repeal legislation contain a provision to ensure that all energy producers have to pass on to consumers the savings from the end of the tax. The government maintains that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will make sure that savings are passed on and no additional measure is needed in the legislation.
Palmer staged his press conference in Parliament House’s Great Hall. He and Gore gave addresses and then immediately left without taking questions. Palmer said he would meet the media again later in the evening, after dinner.
Gore, an international campaigner on climate issues, said that while he would be disappointed if the immediate price on carbon was removed, “I am extremely hopeful that Australia will continue to play a global leadership role on this most pressing issue”.
Palmer’s plan would seek to insert an amendment into the Climate Change Authority legislation for the establishment of an emissions trading scheme that would only become effective once Australia’s main trading partners also took action to establish such a scheme.
“This is designed to establish and encourage a fair global scheme quickly,” he said.
So the measure could not be defined as a financial one, the scheme would have a carbon price zero rated, he said.