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Greg Hunt's plan bypasses Senate


Source: The Bendigo Advertiser, 22 October 2013


Tony Abbott's much-criticised ''direct action'' carbon abatement policy can be introduced without legislation, meaning it will not have to run the gauntlet of a hostile Senate, it has been revealed.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has indicated that the government has been advised that it can introduce the controversial replacement program for Labor's carbon price through regulation rather than direct legislation.

That means avoiding the Senate now where Labor and the Greens stand ready to knock it out, and even beyond June, where a swag of incoming independent senators may prove difficult to convince.

The revelation came as the government dramatically stepped up the pressure on the opposition demanding that it stop its ''flip-flopping'' on the carbon tax and wave through the ''carbon tax'' repeal immediately.

In a move transparently timed to force the issue as Opposition Leader Bill Shorten convened his first shadow cabinet meeting, Mr Hunt demanded that the ALP hold true to its pre-election claim to have ''terminated'' the carbon tax.

Mr Hunt said the government preferred taking the policy to the Parliament. He stressed there was ''no doubt'' that the $3 billion policy, which will use a reverse auction from a pool of taxpayer funds known as the Emission Reduction Fund, can be introduced without legislation.

''We would like Direct Action to be approved by the Parliament, we are not waiting for the new Senate and we'll be proceeding but there are two separate actions on the table here,'' he said referring to the repeal of the carbon price and the Direct Action program.

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