Tony Abbott was sworn in as Australia’s new prime minister on Wednesday and immediately ordered the scrapping of the nation’s carbon tax and the halting of asylum-seeker boats.
The 55-year-old conservative launched straight into work with a cabinet meeting after the ceremony at Government House in Canberra where his Liberal/National government officially brought six years of Labor rule to a close. “Today is not just a ceremonial day, it’s an action day. The Australian people expect us to get straight down to business and that’s exactly what this government will do,” said, Abbott, a political hardman. Abbott was elected on September 7 on a pledge to quickly scrap taxes on corporate pollution and mining profits imposed under Labor, as well as introducing a costly paid parental leave scheme and a vow to build new roads across the vast nation.
Top of his to-do list is axing the unpopular carbon tax, which charges the country’s biggest polluters for their emissions at a fixed price. His government instead favours a “direct action” plan that includes an emissions reduction fund to pay companies to increase their energy efficiency, and money for schemes to replenish soil carbon and plant 20 million trees.
‘A message to the people-smugglers’
Another central plank of his election campaign was stopping asylum-seeker boats. His policy of using the navy to tow them back to Indonesia — their typical point of transit — came into effect on Wednesday, and could prove to be an early test of his mettle.
It includes a proposal to embed Australian police in Indonesia, buy up fishing boats to keep them out of people-smugglers’ hands, and pay locals for intelligence — plans that have received a cool reception in Jakarta.AFP
The Australian people expect us to get straight down to business and that’s exactly what this government will do