Carbon price will return under Greens

Tess Ikonomou |

The Australian Greens will push to bring back a price on carbon. 

Greens Leader Adam Bandt has labelled the federal budget one of “bribes” which will worsen the climate crisis and make housing more expensive. 

Mr Bandt urged voters to place his party in the balance of power, and said it was time to “kick the Liberals out”. 

“We will push for a freeze on all new coal and gas projects, restore a price on pollution … and make Australia a renewable energy superpower,” he told parliament on Wednesday in a budget reply speech. 

The Greens were central to Julia Gillard’s minority Labor government instituting a carbon price, which was subsequently axed by the Abbott coalition government.

In response to the more than $37 billion allocated in the budget for coal, oil, and gas subsidies, Mr Bandt said corporations needed to “pay a fair share of tax”. 

The Greens would tackle the housing crisis by axing tax breaks for wealthy investors, capping rents, and giving renters greater rights, he added.

“Unless we change course, young people simply won’t be able to ever afford a home of their own, and will struggle to keep up with the rising rents,” he said.  

“This government will not keep people safe from the climate crisis and they won’t put a secure roof over your head.”

Greens senator Dorinda Cox on Wednesday became the first Indigenous woman to deliver the Greens’ post-budget reply in the upper house.

She said the budget was a “last-ditch play for votes” that failed to address cost-of-living pressures, with the government having been “sold to the highest bidder”.

“This budget gives $37.6 billion in fossil fuel subsidies of taxpayer money that will go directly into the profits of the massive corporations that bankroll the Liberal Party’s coffers,” Senator Cox said. 

“But when you read the budget, it’s clear that they can’t keep people safe and they can’t manage the economy. They are selling us out.

“This is another budget for the billionaires and the big corporations.”

Among the headlines from the budget are a one-off $420 payment to more than 10 million Australians earning up to $126,000 a year, while the government will also halve the fuel excise to 22.1 cents for the next six months.

Senator Cox said Prime Minister Scott Morrison was “hell bent on destroying country, the land, skies, and waters that First Nations people have cared for and sustained for generations”.

The WA senator lashed the government for failing the children and future generations of Indigenous communities. 

“Our people are dying in custody, there is no treaty with the First Nations people – only band-aid solutions from a government with no real vision for the future,” she said.

“Your taxes are paying to destroy our cultural heritage – shame.”

The federal budget confirmed $1 billion to protect the Great Barrier Reef, along with funding for research and recycling programs as part of an overall $2.3 billion sector spend.