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              FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013 file photo, Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott speaks to locals at the Sydney Markets in Sydney

Aussie PM: carbon tax is ‘socialism’

Australia’s newly elected prime minister pulled no punches when giving his thoughts on the country’s carbon tax, which he says must be abolished as quickly as possible.

“The carbon tax is bad for the economy and it doesn’t do any good for the environment,” Abbott told The Washington Post. “Despite a carbon tax of $37 a ton by 2020, Australia’s domestic emissions were going up, not down. The carbon tax was basically socialism masquerading as environmentalism, and that’s why it’s going to get abolished.”

“If the Labor Party wants to give the people of Australia a Christmas present, they will vote to abolish the carbon tax. It was damaging the economy without helping the environment. It was a stupid tax. A misconceived tax,” Abbott added.

Australia’s liberal Labor Party received a crippling blow in the recent elections, as Abbott’s conservative coalition garnered enough votes to create the largest ruling coalition in the country since 2004. Conservatives rode in on a wave of widespread disapproval of the previous government’s handling of the economy, including the imposition of a carbon tax in the summer of 2012.

“We’ve got an overwhelming majority of scientists telling us our planet needs to do this,” said former Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who implemented the tax. ”Are you really going to be the one who bets that the vast majority of them are wrong with something as important as the planet’s future?”

However, the tax quickly began to impact families and the economy. The carbon tax increased taxes on 2.2 million people and did nothing to decrease carbon dioxide emissions, according to a study by Dr. Alex Robson, economist at Australia’s University of Brisbane. The study was conducted for the Institute for Energy Research, which opposes a carbon tax.

News Limited Network reported in March that the tax was contributing to a record 10,632 businesses facing insolvency in 2012 — up from 10,481 for 2011.

The country’s hospitals were also affected. The Herald Sun reports that Victoria provincial hospitals spent an extra $6.1 million in energy costs in just six months due to the carbon tax. The carbon tax made up 8-22 percent of the hospitals’ total energy costs.