Labor will stick with carbon pricing as a key party policy even if it offers to conditionally support Tony Abbott's repeal of the carbon tax.
Senior Opposition sources disputed suggestions yesterday that Labor under Bill Shorten would wave through the Government's repeal legislation unchallenged.
The Prime Minister, who has taken to calling the Opposition Leader "electricity Bill", wants the legislation passed by Christmas but it is more likely he will have to wait until the new Senate is constituted after July 1.
Shadow environment minister Mark Butler said Labor had taken the commitment to "terminate" the carbon tax on July 1 to the election.
"But we also took a very strong commitment that in place of the carbon tax we would put in an emissions trading scheme, a scheme that has legal limits on carbon pollution and then lets business work out the cheapest and most effective way to operate," he told ABC television. Mr Butler said the Government's Direct Action alternative policy was not supported by experts and would fail to achieve the target unless its price tag was increased significantly.
ALP national secretary George Wright said the party's longstanding policy was for an ETS and that this position was "on the right side of history".
"We are on the right side of science on this argument, we are on the right side of economics and on the right side of preserving for the long term our living standards," he said.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt said an ETS was a carbon tax under another name.
"Whether the tax is floating or fixed, electricity prices still soar and domestic emissions will continue to rise," Mr Hunt said.
"Labor must accept the overwhelming message from the Australian people that the carbon tax must go."Every day the Labor Party stands in the way of repeal is a day they stand for higher electricity prices."