Climate Change Minister Greg Combet on Monday addressed a rally of supporters of the carbon tax - many of them members of the Maritime Union of Australia's Veterans Association.
Mr Combet was talking tough ahead of the introduction of the carbon tax legislation, telling retired workers he learnt from his union days to "stand and fight" for what he believed in.
Mr Combet on Tuesday introduced 18 separate bills into parliament to establish the Gillard government's carbon price regime from mid-2012.
On Monday, the minister addressed a small rally of about 50 retired union members who gathered outside Parliament House to support the move to put a price on pollution.
They included some ex-Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) workers.
"It's a good package and it's a Labor package," Mr Combet said of the carbon tax legislation.
"One of the most important things I learnt from the union - your union the MUA - is when you believe in something you stand and fight.
"That's what we are going to do."
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott wanted to scuttle the tax to further his own political career but Labor wouldn't be deterred, Mr Combet said.
Climate change policy had been debated in the parliament for 17 years during which time there'd been 35 parliamentary inquiries.
It was now time to act, he said.
"We're going to do it," Mr Combet said.
"The government has the necessary support in the House of Representatives and the Senate to be able to legislate it."
The legislation will allow Labor to charge 500 of the nation's biggest polluters $23 a tonne for the carbon dioxide they emit from July 1, 2012.
The tax will then transform into an emissions trading scheme from mid-2015.
Mr Combet said the package included support for coal, steel and manufacturing workers as well as compensation for affected households.
"I've been a trade union official for most of my working life (so) of course I'm going to be conscious of jobs," he said.