Date: July 01 2012
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has repeated claims that the opposition won't be able to repeal the carbon tax if it wins power.
The $23 per tonne price on carbon emissions started today, directly impacting on 294 electricity generators and other companies.
The federal government is aiming to cut carbon emissions by five per cent by 2020, with the carbon tax shifting to an emissions trading scheme in 2015.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott has pledged to repeal the tax as his first act as prime minister, should he win the next election.
Ms Gillard says he won't actually deliver on his promise.
"Businesses have got themselves ready for carbon pricing," she told ABC Television today.
"New investments have been made.
"Against all of that backdrop, Mr Abbott will find himself in a position where he cannot go to the next election pretending anything else than carbon pricing is going to stay."
Ms Gillard said the debate around the carbon tax resembled the debate on the GST when it was introduced by Prime Minister John Howard in 2000.
"I was opposed to the GST," Ms Gillard said.
"But once it was in operation, it was clear to all that there was no going back.
"Here we are, after all these years of the GST, a big divisive debate, and it's not something top of mind for anyone in Australia's public debate today."
Treasurer Wayne Swan said "today is the day that Tony Abbott is going to get mugged by the truth".
"I think we can all assume that the lies will keep coming from Mr Abbott," he told reporters in Brisbane.
"But their credibility will get less and less."
He said the tax would have a modest impact on prices overall but that many households would be assisted financially.
But Mr Abbott today said he at least "could be believed when I say there will be no carbon tax tax under a government I lead".
"On day one of the new parliament, the carbon tax repeal legislation will be introduced," he told reporters in Melbourne.
He said the carbon tax was based on a "lie".
"(The carbon tax) will hit every Australian family's cost of living, it will make every Australian job less secure and it won't actually reduce emissions," he said.
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