Senate rejects Abbott's bill to scrap carbon tax

THE Senate has rejected the Abbott government's first bill to scrap the carbon tax, effectively giving the Climate Change Authority at least three more months to operate.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt's bill to abolish the authority was defeated by Labor and The Greens in the Senate on Monday, a move which prevents the reintroduction of the same bill for three months.

The bill was the first is a series of government bills to repeal the carbon tax and a raft of associated climate change reforms put in place by the previous government.

Its defeat means the bill may not be reintroduced until June, or likely July, when the new Senate starts, and the government may have the Senate support to pass it.

But a second failure to pass it could trigger a double dissolution, which the government would be aiming to avoid.

While environment groups and The Greens celebrated the defeat of the bill, Mr Hunt hit out at the non-government senators who defeated it, saying they had "snubbed the Australian people".

He said scrapping the authority was a "clear commitment" from the Coalition before the election, and the government had a "very clear mandate" to abolish the authority.

Mr Hunt said the rejection came at a time when the damage from the carbon tax was "on display every day".

He quoted Virgin Australia chief John Borghetti's recent comments that the airline's carbon tax bill for the second half of last year was $28 million, and that the "best assistance" the government could provide was removing the tax.

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