The Rudd Government's CPRS failed to make it through the Senate today.
The package of 11 bills which would establish the scheme was defeated 42 to 30, the Opposition, the Greens and independent senators Nick Xenophon and Steve Fielding voting against it.
Earlier this week, the Opposition released a report prepared by Frontier Economics which recommended a number of significant amendments to the structure of the Government's proposed scheme. These included significantly higher compensation for electricity generators, with permits to be allocated to them on a baseline approach, as well as heightened compensation for emissions-intensive trade-exposed industries. The report also recommended boosting the unconditional emissions reduction target from 5 per cent to 10 per cent.
The Coalition, along with Xenophon, want the Government to consider an alternative scheme based on the Frontier economics report, while the Greens believe the Government's emissions reductions targets (5 per cent unconditional and 25 per cent by 2020 if a very conditional international agreement is reached) are too low. Meanwhile Fielding has said he does not believe human activity is the cause of global warming.
The Government must now wait three months before bringing the CPRS before the Senate for a second time. Defeat of the bills a second time would trigger a double dissolution and an early election.
Speaking to Lawyers Weekly earlier this week, Deacons partner Elisa de Wit said she was quietly confident that the package of bills would be more successful a second time.
"I think the general consensus is that there should be a CPRS, so I think that increasingly there will be pressure on the Coalition to try and reach agreement with the Government in terms of the design of the scheme," she said. "I'm hopeful that in three months' time we might get to a position where it's more likely that the legislation will be passed."
- Zoe Lyon
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