Australians want carbon compromise, not poll: survey

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Most Australians do not want the government to call a snap election to resolve a parliamentary impasse over its plan to cut greenhouse gases, preferring it to give more ground to its political opponents, a survey has found.

The Newspoll published in The Australian newspaper on Tuesday found that two-thirds of voters supported the government’s moves to cut carbon emissions but most would rather it modified its plans rather than call an election on the issue.

The government has already failed once to push its carbon-reduction bill through parliament and could have the option to call a snap election on the issue if the legislation fails to pass on its second attempt, due in November.

The government aims to cut emissions by at least 5 percent by 2020, raising that to 25 percent if the world agrees to a similarly tough climate pact in Copenhagen in December, but it faces strong opposition from both business-friendly and green senators.

“A clear majority believes the government should modify its carbon pollution reduction scheme,” The Australian said, noting that 64 percent of the 1,200 people surveyed on Sept 18-20 wanted the government to modify its plans to win parliamentary approval.

Only 19 percent believed Rudd should call a snap election to resolve the parliamentary impasse, it added, even though the prime minister has once before amended the legislation in an effort to meet industry and environmental concerns.

“The prime minister’s push to force the (opposition) coalition to pass the carbon pollution reduction scheme through the Senate in November, or face an early election, has been shown to be an empty threat,” The Australian said.

Reporting by Mark Bendeich; Editing by Michael Urquhart