Australians rally against unpopular carbon tax

In the Australian capital, Canberra, thousands of protesters on Tuesday rallied against a planned carbon tax that hopes to curb greenhouse emissions, on the first day of parliament's spring session.

Under the plan, 500 of the country's biggest carbon emitters will be made to pay a tax on the gas they produce.

News24 reports that the Greens party, along with independent lawmakers, is set to help the government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard pass the measure.

But critics argue the tax will drive up household bills and unemployment.

A BBC correspondent who was at the protest, described the event as “angry” but “ordered”. It comes a year to the day that Gillard, who's popularity rating is down, promised she would not levy a carbon tax.

The Sydney Morning Herald said that conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott, whose mantra is “no tax collection before an election”, got a “rock star” welcome from the protesters.

He distanced himself from angry placards directed at Gillard that read “Ditch the Witch”, among other things.

Abbot's Liberal Party has promised to abandon the tax, saying it would have little impact on overall global emissions.