Ben Eltham | Sniff this, business lobby: the odourless whiff of defeat

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The much awaited carbon tax finally looks to be enacted in Australia. After having been passed through the House of Representatives, the tax is very much expected to pass the Senate and will begin around July next year. Ben Eltham takes a look at the outcome and calls this a huge loss to the business lobbyists who have campaigned so vigorously to cause panic over the proposed taxes.

It’s taken many years. Dozens of government reports. Scores of inquiries, committees and discussion papers. But now, at last, Australia is within sight of a price on carbon.

The focus of the past couple of days in Parliament has rightly been on the government, and particularly the Prime Minister, who has now shepherded through the House of Representatives what will almost certainly be an enduring economic and environmental reform.

Make no mistake: this is a serious and long-lasting reform that will be very difficult for the Coalition to undo, even if it were to control the Senate in the next parliament. The inexorable logic of capitalism itself means that Australia’s carbon markets, once established, are likely to flourish. Even in the short to medium term, speculators, merchant banks and more far-sighted investors will begin to invest in tree farms and more complicated carbon derivatives. They will create carbon credits. They will own a stake in a carbon economy.

You can continue reading Ben’s article in ABC’s The Drum here

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