The coalition could introduce its Direct Action approach to reduce carbon emissions through regulations instead of trying to wrangle the policy through a hostile Senate.
As Labor's new shadow ministry held initial talks on how it will handle Tony Abbott's bid to scrap the carbon tax, Environment Minister Greg Hunt opened the door to bypassing Parliament to implement its replacement.
Key elements of Direct Action include setting up a $1.55 billion fund over three years for successful bidders to abate carbon emissions, such as paying farmers to bury emissions, and penalising companies that emit carbon dioxide above a business-as-usual baseline.
The policy has been castigated by Labor and the Greens, while crossbench senators who will gain a share of the balance of power from next July when the new Senate sits are unconvinced.
Mr Hunt acknowledged the policy could be enacted by regulation rather than legislation.
"Our primary approach is through the legislature but there are other options to do it," he said. "There is no doubt about that."
Mr Hunt said Australians were waiting for Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to make up his mind on whether to support repealing the tax and lower electricity prices.
The shadow ministry, which had its first full meeting yesterday, reaffirmed Labor's longstanding commitment to reducing carbon pollution, with shadow cabinet to hold more talks on the Prime Minister's alternative to the carbon tax before Parliament sits.
Although Labor favours some form of carbon pricing, such as an emissions trading scheme, some MPs argue the abolition of the carbon tax should be waved through with little or no resistance.
Mr Shorten told his team his initial policy priorities were on the regions, small business and science and innovation and wanted to put forward "big ideas" for the future.
Shadow ministers will also conduct an audit of coalition policies.Mr Shorten urged colleagues to draw a line under the divisions of the past, demanding caucus treat former prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard with respect.