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News Summary: Australian gov't faces tax backlash

The Associated Press

AUSTRALIAN VOTE: A carbon tax on major polluters that has driven electricity rates higher will likely have a major impact on the outcome when Australian voters go to the polls for Parliamentary elections on Saturday.

THE ISSUE: The tax on big polluters such as power plants and factories has been in place since July 2012. The government estimated the tax would cost the average person less than AU$10 per week, but three months after it took effect, most Australians surveyed said it was costing them more than twice that much.

THE CONTESTANTS: Opposition leader Tony Abbott has declared the election a "referendum on the carbon tax" — a sign of confidence that most voters remain staunchly against it. Labor Party candidates for Parliament continue to trail badly in opinion polls.