Australia PM promises to pass climate bill with carbon price in 2011
Taking a tough stance on the long-discussed and delayed climate legislation, Gillard told the Council for the Economic Development of Australia that the time was now for the country to fulfill its environmental commitments having come through the global financial crisis effectively.
Parliament's multi-party climate change committee will spend next year investigating the best way to put a price on carbon, with climate change adviser Ross Garnaut due to release his updated report in May.
"Climate change was first discussed in our Parliament in the 1980s," said Gillard."It has been central to public debate in two successive Federal election campaigns, but a working consensus for action has eluded us.
"I promise you, no responsible decision maker will be able to say next year that they need more time or more information on climate change. In 2011 there will be nowhere to hide."
It is the first time Gillard's Labor party has put any kind of timeline on the introduction of a carbon price, despite pledging to move forward with legislation as part of the deal that stitched together support for the minority government in the wake of this summer's inconclusive election result.
Earlier this year, then-prime minister Kevin Rudd shelved the government's planned emissions trading scheme after it was blocked in the Senate three times. Rudd's handling of the bill fuelled opposition to environmental legislation and directly contributed to his overthrow by Gillard.
Some sections of the media are now also calling for bipartisan support for Labor's planned carbon pricing mechanism, though the Liberal-led coalition opposition remains largely opposed to the move.
However in late December Australian Opposition called on Gillard to abandon her plans to price carbon now that Japan, a major industrial rival, has done so.