Australia’s parliament rejected laws to set up a carbon trading scheme today, a key part of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s climate change policy.

Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the government would re-introduce the carbon trade bills in February to give the opposition Liberal Party one more chance to support the scheme, reports Reuters.

“Today the climate change extremists and deniers have stopped this nation taking action on climate change,” Gillard told reporters in Australia.

The second rejection of the carbon-trade legislation by the Senate on Wednesday has given Rudd a legal trigger to call an election that could come as early as March or April 2010, according to Reuters.

The “cap and trade” carbon scheme would have forced big polluters, particularly in the coal and electricity sectors, to buy carbon emission permits.