by Matt Johnston, Phillip Hudson October 12, 2011 Herald Sun Vic
MORE than 85 carbon tax protesters have been thrown out of Federal Parliament in a concerted public protest.
After the House of Representatives today passed the carbon tax package, a group of 40 people chanting “no mandate, democracy is dead” interrupted Prime Minister Julia Gillard during Question Time today.
After they were removed another group of 30 interrupted the PM.
Then a third group of 12, one person waving an Australian flag, stood and chanted against the PM.
Parliament was further disrupted when people in the Speakers gallery stood to protest and one man took off his shoe and threatened to throw it.
Speaker Harry Jenkins said he had been asked if he would clear the public galleries. He said he wold not but warned the public they were able to watch Parliament as a privilege.
Ms Gillard said there were children watching in the public gallery and the Government was fighting climate change for their future.
Independent MP Rob Oakeshott, who backed the carbon tax, rejected the claim that democracy was dead, saying the legislation “expressed the collective will of the majority of MPs”.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said Ms Gillard should say “sorry” for breaking her no carbon tax election pledge.
Earlier, Mr Abbott said it was a dark day for Australian businesses that would be directly or indirectly hit by the carbon tax from next year.
The government’s carbon tax laws passed through the House of Representatives this morning, leading to hugs and cheers among Labor MPs.
The result means the carbon tax package is now a near certainty to start next July.
But Mr Abbott told ABC radio he was determined to repeal the carbon tax.
“I am giving you the most definite commitment any politician can give that this tax will go,” he said.
“This is a pledge in blood. This tax will go. We can get rid of it. We will get rid of it. We must get rid of it.”
Mr Abbott also warned that some businesses could hike prices soon, despite the ACCC warning it would prosecute companies gouging before the carbon tax hits in July next year.
“I think that even before the carbon tax is officially operational some businesses will start putting up their prices because they know that once the carbon tax is there, prices are just going to go up and up and up,” Mr Abbott told Channel 7.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd briefly embraced as the Government celebrated victory.
Mr Rudd was close to introducing an emissions trading scheme in 2009 but hit a roadblock in the form of an uncooperative Senate and then later opposition from the new Liberal Leader Tony Abbott.
But this time Labor has the numbers, with Greens’ support, to get its laws through the Senate next month, meaning today’s lower house decision was crucial to enacting a carbon tax.
The vote on the clean energy future bills was 74 in favour and 72 against, after key independents Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott and Andrew Wilkie voted with the Government and Greens MP Adam Bandt.
Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown dismissed what he said was Mr Abbott’s “negativity” and trumpeted the passing of legislation in the House of Representatives.
“This is a proud to be Australian day,” Senator Brown said.
“There’s a lot of negativity in the air but it’s been swamped by positivity. The sun’s out, the sun’s shining and it’s very symbolic of the future for Australia and its energy needs.
“We can get it all from that big nuclear reactor 93 million miles out in space.”
Melbourne Greens MP Adam Bandt said Melbourne had played a key role in getting the carbon tax through after the city voted him into the House at the last election.
“Here we are, just over a year later,and we have got the best climate change legislation this Parliament has seen,” he said.
“Thanks to the decision made by the voters of Melbourne we have now got $13billion going towards clean and renewable energy.”
Coalition MP Sophie Mirabella was missing from the vote after she was thrown out of the House last night for 24 hours, meaning the Opposition was down one vote.
After several divisions over Government and Opposition amendments the final vote was met with cheers from the Labor Party.
A bid by Tony Abbott to ensure that even if laws went through the carbon tax couldn’t begin until after an election was defeated.
The Climate Institute CEO John Connor said the legislation will create a potential “win-win” for a cleaner and more competitive economy and support international efforts to tackle climate change.
Labor Senator and former Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said it was a “historic” day for the country.
She said the package was right for the future generations of Australians.
The Senate vote is likely to happen next month and be supported by Greens and Labor senators.