7. ______________________________________________________ 7.1 INTRODUCTION Reducing emissions levels has been at the top of the policy agenda of the current Australia Labor Party (ALP) government. In December 2007, the Honourable Kevin Rudd swept the party into power at the polls on the back of a promise to take action on climate change, which he referred to as the greatest moral challenge of our time. On being sworn into office in December 2007, one of the first actions he took as Prime Minister was to sign the Kyoto Protocol. This was something his predecessor, John Howard, had persistently refused to do. While in opposition, the ALP commissioned Professor Ross Garnaut to conduct an independent review on Australian energy policy (Garnaut, 2008). After winning the 2007 federal election and forming government, Labor published a Green Paper on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), a cap-and-trade system of emissions trading to be introduced in 2010. Legislation for the CPRS, also known as the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), was introduced in Parliament where it failed to garner adequate support and was twice rejected, creating a double dissolution election trigger in December 2009.1 However, the Rudd government failed to call an election on it as the idea lost public support and the Liberal/National opposition attacked it as a great new big tax. Labor then decided to defer the CPRS until the end of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012. For much of his first two years in office, Kevin Rudd was confirmed by opinion polls as the most...
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