Australia’s Senate blocks carbon tax repeal

Australia’s Senate voted narrowly Thursday against a proposal by Prime Minister Tony Abbott to repeal the country’s tax on carbon pollution.

The carbon tax repeal was a priority for Abbott, and he hoped the Senate would pass it as its first order of business in the current session, which started July 1, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

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Abbott strengthened the measure Wednesday night to include penalties for companies that do not pass on savings from the repeal within a year. Senators with the Palmer United Party argued that did not fit with a deal the Senate had made, and decided to vote against it, resulting in a 37 to 35 vote, the Herald said.

Abbott and the government are still committed to overturning the tax on carbon dioxide emissions, and the Palmer United Party still supports the idea.

Supporters of the repeal will now introduce new measures to try to repeal the tax with the House of Representatives next week, and hope to have the bill pass the Senate by the end of next week.

In addition to making a repeal of Australia’s carbon tax a priority, Abbott is trying to build a coalition of international conservative leaders, including those in Canada and the United Kingdom, to oppose climate policies that put a price on carbon.