find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Property lawyer - Melbourne
Category: Property Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Impressive client list, national firm · Well-led and high-performing team
View details
Senior family lawyer - Melbourne
Category: Family Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Outstanding national firm · High-calibre family law team
View details
Odds against CPRS in Senate

Odds against CPRS in Senate

With the Rudd Government's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) up before the Senate for the first time today (13 August), businesses are hopeful, though not exactly confident, that they'll…

With the Rudd Government's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) up before the Senate for the first time today (13 August), businesses are hopeful, though not exactly confident, that they'll finally get the certainty they need.

Deacons partner Elisa de Wit, for one, isn't optimistic about the CPRS's Senate chances this time around. "I would say it's very low - minimal," she told Lawyers Weekly yesterday. "But in three months' time, when it's put back, possibly there's a better chance."

On Monday, Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull released details of a report, commissioned by the Opposition and produced by Frontier Economics, which recommended a number of amendments to the Government's proposed CPRS structure.

He also made it clear that - based on the Frontier Economics report - that the Opposition is unlikely to support the CPRS in its current form in tomorrow's Senate sitting.

"The results make it clear that the Rudd Government should immediately withdraw its CPRS legislation and begin negotiations with the Opposition, minor party Senators, and other stakeholders to design a more efficient scheme," he said in a statement on Monday.

The key recommendations in the Frontier Economics report include allocating permits to electricity generators using a baseline approach, effectively increasing the level of compensation to this sector significantly. They also suggest providing 100 per cent shielding to emissions-intensive trade-exposed industries, rather than the staggered, partial protection offered under the Government's scheme. The report also recommends doubling the unconditional emissions reduction target to a 10 per cent reduction on 2000 levels by 2020 (up from 5 per cent).

By upping compensation to electricity generators, the Opposition argues that significant electricity price rises at the outset can be avoided, with prices instead increasing gradually over a 20-year period.

However, countering this, De Wit says, is the argument that electricity prices rises are necessary to invoke behavioural change towards less energy-intensive lifestyles.

"Ultimately, what emissions trading is designed to achieve is to put a price on carbon in order to change behaviour, so that people look at reducing their energy consumption, or look at ways of changing their lifestyle or practices, so that emissions are ultimately reduced," she said. "The argument against what Frontier Economics is suggesting is that if you don't have increased prices, you're not going to get behavioural change - so it doesn't achieve the objective of ultimately what an emissions trading scheme is designed to do."

While the CPRS is unlikely to pass through the senate today, De Wit says there will be pressure on the Coalition to reach agreement with the Government before the next Senate review in three months. In particular, she says, given the extensive consultation process that proceeded the release of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill 2009 - which included the release of the Green Paper, the Garnaut Review, the White Paper and release of exposure draft legislation and a further consultation period - businesses are becoming increasingly frustrated with the approach the Opposition is taking.

"It's instructive to remember that before the Labor Party got into power a decision had been made by the Liberal Party to pursue an emissions trading scheme ... and, obviously, there has been a very detailed and comprehensive consultation process since that time," she said.

"So, in terms of the Coalition's position, there has been frustration from a number of sectors - not just the Labor party - about where things have got to. The point has been made that spending six weeks to prepare [the Frontier Economics report] at this late stage - when there's been all these other opportunities for the Liberals and Coalition to have input into the design of the scheme - is perhaps a bit late in the day."

She says that, given this pressure from business, she is hopeful that the legislation will pass through the Senate when it comes up for review again. "And certainly that's the Government's preference, so that they can go to Copenhagen with the legislation in place, because I think that's going to put them in a better position to contribute to those global discussions about the post-Kyoto regime," she said.

- Zoe Lyon

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Odds against CPRS in Senate
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Warning
Aug 23 2017
NT Law Society sounds alarm on mandatory sentencing
The Law Society Northern Territory has issued a warning over mandatory sentencing, saying it hasn’...
Unite
Aug 22 2017
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...