The Australian Senate has passed a controversial carbon tax, which imposes a levy of $AUS23 (£14) a tonne on emissions by the country’s 500 worst polluters. The previous Rudd Government failed to pass its carbon emissions scheme through the Senate because the Greens refused to back it and insisted its targets were too weak. Julia Gillard, the Australian prime minister, said the passage of the bill marked the culmination of a “quarter of a century of scientific warnings, 37 parliamentary inquiries and years of bitter debate and division”.

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