The tax will levy 23 Australian dollars (£14) for every tonne of carbon emissions by the country’s 500 worst polluters.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard had placed her dreams of a political future on the passing of the tax. Despite low approval ratings Gillard has secured the passage of the tax, and in effect, a clean energy scheme.

Before her last election, Gillard promised that she would not pass a carbon tax. Her government publicly aims to fight against climate change and stop Australia’s growing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Australian senate approved the tax in a 36-32 vote, after a 74-72 vote last month in the House of Representatives.

The Opposition says it will repeal the tax if it wins the next election. They feel the tax will cost jobs and lead to spiraling household costs.

In a poll on Tuesday, the Conservatives were leading the ruling Labour by 53 to 47%.

The prime minister disagrees, and said the tax was “a win for Australia’s children.

Today we have made history. After all those years of debate and division, our nation has got the job done.”

Australia accounts for only 1.5% of global carbon emissions, but currently has the highest carbon emissions per person in the developed world. The country relies heavily on coal-fired power to generate electricity.

The tax is due to commence in July and is expected to cut carbon pollution by 160 million tonnes a year by 2020.