The Opposition Leader this morning lashed the powers of the Clean Energy Regulator, set out in a draft legislative package, likening the body to a “carbon cop”.
The new regulator will be able to enter workplaces and compel individuals to hand over self-incriminating evidence and sensitive records.
“I mean this is a draconian new police force chasing an invisible, odourless, weightless, tasteless substance,” Mr Abbott told Nine's Today Show.
“Not only is the carbon tax going to be with you every time you turn on the TV or open the fridge or get into bed with the electric blanket on, there's now going to be a carbon cop.
“The carbon cop could hit you with 10 years in jail (and) million dollar plus fines.”
“This is a government that is addicted to bureaucracy, more carbon cops, more carbon regulation, more carbon laws, more red tape for everyday Australians,” Mr Hockey said in Sydney.
Julia Gillard said Mr Abbott's criticisms of the new powers were "remarkable" given they were there to protect taxpayers' money.
"Today he’s apparently endorsing rip-offs," the Prime Minister said
"The penalties are absolutely right. No-one should do the wrong thing, and if people do the wrong thing then they should feel the full force of the law."
Under the draft legislation, attempts to subvert the scheme would be punishable by 10-year jail terms and fines of up to $1.1 million.
Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said the tough approach followed instances of fraud in the European Union's emissions trading scheme.
“In Europe the emissions trading scheme has experienced some problems with the scheme's integrity and the government has had a look at what those issues have been and we've designed our proposed legislation here on the basis of what we believe to be world's best practice,” he told ABC radio.
Mr Combet denied the government was rushing to introduce the carbon tax legislation into parliament, despite only allowing three weeks of consultation on the exposure draft.
“There won't be too many surprises for businesses in what the government has put forward,” he said.
The carbon tax package will consist of 14 bills, the majority of which were released in draft form yesterday for public feedback.
The package will establish the $23-a-tonne carbon price, mechanisms to pay household compensation and a new Climate Change Authority and Clean Energy Regulator.
Inspectors working for the regulator would be able to obtain warrants to search work places, monitor activity and copy documents.
The enforcement provisions will be further strengthened by an extra $12.8 million over four years for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
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