23 March 2011
There have been protests in Australia over government plans to introduce a carbon tax. People who are against the plans say that if other countries don't introduce a similar tax, it could have a negative impact on Australian jobs and businesses.
Click to hear the report:
Protestors say they are just ordinary Australian workers and taxpayers who feel betrayed by the government's plans to put a price on carbon. They insist it would damage the economy and drive up the cost of living by making energy far more expensive.
Man 1: "There is a ground swell of people that have finally had a gutful."
Man 2: "Since the Labor government has come into this country, the union rules. We just cannot do it anymore. We have no more money left to pay the taxes."
Reporter: The demonstrators have the support of the conservative opposition leader, Tony Abbott. He says that without a global carbon pricing agreement, Australian businesses would be less competitive:
Tony Abbott: "A one-sided carbon tax, a unilateral carbon tax is an act of economic self-harm."
Woman: "Here we have 12,000 signatures supporting action on climate change."
Man 3: "12,000. Fantastic."
Reporter: Supporters of the tax believe it will cut pollution in Australia, which is one of the world's worst per capita emitters of greenhouse gases, and will also encourage the development of a low-carbon economy.
The Prime Minister Julia Gillard says that opposition won't derail the plan:
Julia Gillard: "Now, I understand there's always going to be a variety of views in the community. We'll see that on display today, but pricing carbon is the right thing for our nation's future and that's why I am determined to do it."
Reporter: The Prime Minister hopes to bring in a tax on carbon next year, before introducing an emissions trading scheme as early as 2015. She insists that without these key economic reforms, Australia will be left behind by its international competitors.
Phil Mercer, BBC News, Sydney
Click to hear the vocabulary:
hurt by someone who you believed supported you and your ideas
here, fossil fuels such as coal, petrol and natural gas; they produce carbon dioxide when burned and this damages the environment
- drive up
force to rise or increase
- a ground swell
fast growth or shift (of opinion)
- had a gutful
had enough of, or become fed up with the situation
trade union, an organisation representing workers, which tries to achieve common goals
one-sided, not agreed by everybody involved in a debate
- per capita
here, harmful gases which are released into the air by burning fossil fuels