After 17 days the Australian Labor party finally emerged as the new government in Australia, but by a very narrow margin. The newly elected green MP was already on side and with two of the three independents also deciding to support Labor the party scraped in with a majority of just one MP.
The green aspect is significant because as well as the Green party support, the independent MPs cited the green agenda as a reason for supporting Labor. The Greens also had significant success in the upper house. It all indicates a mandate for the new government to deliver some sort of carbon pricing mechanism.
As part of the deal to get the majority support, Labor has already agreed to form a Climate Change Committee to look at legislative options. New Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said she would prefer an alternative to the cap-and-trade scheme, the issue of which was a contributing factor to the need for the election in the first place. The Greens prefer a carbon tax.
So a climate change bill can be expected, but it won’t be plain sailing. The slim overall majority makes any legislation a minefield. It only needs a couple of ‘supporting’ MPs to object to the detail (because they want it to be either more radical or less restrictive) to scupper plans.