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Australian kingmakers consider climate change position

United Kingdom
The Guardian
Tom Young

Independent MPs are today meeting to discuss whether action on climate change should be a condition of any king-making deal with Labor or the Liberal-led coalition as horse-trading begins in the wake of Saturday's inconclusive Australian election.

Rob Oakeshott, Bob Katter and Tony Windsor are aiming to decide what demands should be presented to the two parties in the likely event of a hung parliament. Climate change policy is reportedly a key part of their agenda.

At the latest count Labor was hopeful of holding 73 seats in the 150-seat parliament, while the coalition holds 70, both short of the 76 seats needed in the lower house to form a government.

Greens MP Adam Bandt and independent Andrew Wilkie are not taking part in the meeting, but are also said to be weighing up their options. Bandt is widely expected to align himself with the Labor party, but Wilkie has said that he could support either of the two main parties.

Oakeshott, who has emerged as a key negotiator in the group of three independents, yesterday called for action on climate change to form part of any deal. "That is one example of what we may be able to deliver for this country, which the last parliament couldn't do," he told ABC news.

Meanwhile, both parties are also looking to woo those Greens elected to the upper house, known as the senate, to ensure that legislation can be approved without opposition.

As a result, the Greens have some leverage with which to persuade a potential Labor or coalition administration to adopt more ambitious climate change policies, including a strong price on carbon and binding national emission and energy efficiency targets.

Prime minister Julia Gillard has signalled that she would like to introduce some form of carbon price if she forms the next government and is likely to set out ambitious proposals if she is required to call on support for her plans from the Greens.

However, Liberal leader Tony Abbott has consistently opposed any form of emissions trading or carbon tax legislation, instead setting out plans for an AU$2.5bn (US$2.2bn) emissions reduction fund.

Despite the fact that if elected as prime minister he may be forced to do a deal with the Greens in order to pass any legislation, Abbott today warned any continuing Labor government would effectively be a Labor-Green alliance. "I think that would be very bad for regional Australia,'' he told the Australian newspaper, adding it would "almost certainly'' result in a carbon tax.

El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.


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