After years of dithering, today's decision by the Senate to pass the Clean Energy Bill is a momentous occasion in more ways than one. Yes, I think the policy itself is a good one, but it's the maturity as a country that has really struck a chord internationally.
So the largest polluters will pay for carbon emissions, pass on the costs to consumers who will be compensated, and clean energy innovation will thrive. Economically and ecologically the evidence suggests this will be a positive for Australia.
Huge international interest
But what has been more compelling is the positive international response. Within 12 hours, there are over 800 global news stories covering this decision, and a variety of opinions.
BBC: Australia's Senate has approved a controversial law on pollution, after years of bitter political wrangling.
WSJ: Australia's Carbon Tax Clears Final Hurdle
Xinhua: A latest report showed the carbon tax will cost 0.98 trillion U. S. dollars on the Australian economy, or 39,086 U.S. dollars per Australian from July next year to 2050.
TVNZ: Australia passes landmark carbon tax laws
Leadership by Gillard
Whether you like the law, or dislike it; whether you see it as an economic positive or negative, this story has put Australia's leadership credentials on the global stage. Rather than waiting to be led by the next Kyoto round, or following the path of larger countries, Prime Minister Gillard has shown real leadership.
Whether you agree with him or not, you can't ignore the power of Al Gore. And when he says, "With this vote, the world has turned a pivotal corner in the collective effort to solve the climate crisis,” it is a clear sign that Australia is setting the agenda on a major issue.
After failing to vote for a Republic 12 years ago, finally Australia is growing up. Whatever your views on the Clean Energy Act, we should be proud to take our place on the world stage. Oh, and it's good for our brand.
Let me know what you think