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House to vote on ditching carbon tax floor price

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The lower house will vote this morning on legislation that ditches the carbon floor price and links Australia’s emissions trading scheme to Europe.

Climate Change minister Greg Combet wrapped up after more than six hours of debate on the suite of seven bills on Wednesday.

He said many of the opposition speakers had put ‘‘ridiculous propositions’’ that appeared to come from a common set of talking points.

‘‘I repudiate every single one of them,’’ he told parliament.

‘‘We have a public responsibility to reduce carbon emissions at the lowest cost.’’

The bills will link Australia to a carbon price which is common to that in 30 other jurisdictions, covering hundreds of millions of people, the minister said.

‘‘It’s an extremely important achievement from an environmental and economic standpoint,’’ Mr Combet said.

‘‘Since we introduced a carbon price last year, more and more countries around the world say they are too moving to carbon pricing.’’

Earlier, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott moved an amendment that would halt the legislation’s passage through parliament.

He said Labor wanted to put the Australian carbon price in the hands of ‘‘Eurocrats’’.

‘‘You wouldn’t put the Australian dollar into the Eurozone but what this government wants to do is to put our carbon pricing scheme into the European system,’’ he told parliament on Wednesday.

‘‘I have nothing against Europe, but I tell you what, they’re hardly economic or environmental models for anyone.’’

As well as linking the scheme to Europe, the legislation dumps the $15 floor price that would have applied once the carbon price moved to a floating market-based mechanism in 2015.

Mr Abbott said this was one of almost weekly changes made to the carbon tax since it began on July 1.

‘‘Let us be absolutely crystal clear: this government was adamant that we could not have an effective carbon pricing scheme without a floor price,’’ he said.

Debate on the Clean Energy Amendment (International Emissions Trading and Other Measures) Bill 2012 and associated legislation was adjourned.

Under a deal made earlier on Wednesday, the votes on Mr Abbott’s amendment and the passage of the legislation will be held once the House resumes sitting at 0900 AEDT today.

AAP

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