Abbott: Carbon tax "the longest political suicide note in history"


Tony Abbott responds to Julia Gillard’s introduction of the carbon tax bills to Parliament:

Let’s be absolutely blunt about the bills now before the parliament: this is a bad tax based on a lie and it should be rejected by this parliament.

The Prime Minister said yesterday that the question for members of this parliament was are you or are you not on the right side of history? Well, let me say, Mr Speaker, this is arrogant presumption by a Prime Minister who is on the wrong side of truth. That’s the Prime Minister’s problem. She is on the wrong side of truth when it comes to this issue.

I say to this Prime Minister there should be no new tax collection without an election. That’s what this Prime Minister should do. If this Prime Minister trusts in the democratic process, if this Prime Minister trusts her own judgement, trusts her own argument, that is what she should be doing. She should be taking this to the people.

Mr Speaker, the whole point of this tax is to change the way every single Australian lives and works. That’s another reason why this should be taken to the people. This is not just a minor bit of financial engineering. This is not just – if you believe the Government – something to do with the revenue. This is a transformational change. This is something which is supposed to impact on our country, not just today, not just next year, not just next decade but forever. That’s how important this is, if the Government is to be believed, and this is why it should go to the people first.

This tax is all about making the essentials of modern life more expensive. Modern life, Mr Speaker, is utterly inconceivable without fuel and power, without fuel to move us around the country, without power to make our homes, our businesses and our factories work. So, if this tax comes in, as the Government wants it to come in, we won’t be able to turn on our air conditioner or our heater without being impacted by this tax. We won’t be able to get on a bus or a train, ultimately to drive our cars, without being impacted by this tax. That’s how important, that’s how significant this tax is. This explains the obvious impact that this tax will have on every single Australian’s cost of living. This explains the obvious impact that this tax will have on every single Australian’s job and this explains why it is so necessary for this tax to go to the people before the parliament tries to deal with it. Mr Speaker, if this parliament is to have any democratic credibility on an issue like this there must be an appeal to the people before a decision by the parliament.

So, all of those bold claims in the Prime Minister’s speech yesterday, all of that big chest-thumping talk of a massive reduction in emissions as a result of this tax, utterly wrong, utterly wrong and disproven on the basis of the Government’s own documents. We aren’t reducing our emissions, we are just engaging in a massive transfer of wealth from this country to carbon traders overseas. That’s what’s happening. That’s what’s happening under this tax. It will be $3.5 billion in 2020 to purchase almost 100 million tonnes of carbon credits from abroad, it will be $57 billion – one and a half per cent of gross domestic product – shovelled off abroad by 2050 to purchase some 400 million tonnes of carbon credits from abroad.

So Mr Speaker, this carbon tax proposal from the Government would be disastrous for our democracy. How can Australians continue to trust our democracy when the biggest and most complex policy change in recent history is being rammed through this parliament by the most incompetent government in recent history? The biggest and the most complex change, sponsored by the least competent government in recent times, not only does it not have a mandate to do what it is proposing it has a mandate not to do what it is proposing. That’s why this package of bills is so disastrous for our democracy.

Mr Speaker, it’s disastrous for our democracy, it’s disastrous for the trust that should exist between members of parliament and their electorates.

Why are the Members for Throsby and Cunningham sponsoring such damage to BlueScope and to the coal miners of the Illawarra?

Why is the Member for Hunter and the other Hunter Valley members of the Government doing such damage to the heavy industries and to the coal mines of the Hunter?

How can the Climate Change Minister talk to his constituents with a straight face given what he is doing to them?

How can the Member for Capricornia want to close down so many mines in her electorate?

How can the Members for Corio and Corangamite be doing this to the cement industry and to the aluminium industry and to the motor industry of Geelong?

What we have from this Government is politically and economically and environmentally disastrous.

But it’s more than that.

It is going to turn out to be the longest political suicide note in Australian history.

Read it all here.

The debate is over… on the carbon tax

Contempt for Parliament

With the carbon tax bills being introduced to Parliament, the government is doing its best to ensure that there is as little debate as possible. Greg Combet, difficult to like at the best of times, is at his most arrogant, contemptuous worst:

“Tony Abbott’s misinformed people, deceived people, told lies about things,” he said. [Better not mention the lies in the government’s ad campaign then – Ed]

“I don’t expect the Coalition to make much in the form of a constructive debate.”

The Coalition claim that there is no where near enough time to debate the complex bills, with each member only having a minute to debate the 18 bills. Combet explains helpfully:

“That’s all rubbish,” Mr Combet said, adding the bills would be debated as one piece of legislation. [That still is only 18 minutes per member for one of the most complex changes to our economy in Australia’s history – Ed]

Mr Combet said there had been 35 inquiries into climate change [all of them fudged or fixed – Ed].

“It really is time we got on with it.”

“Time we got on with it.” I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning. Just imagine Labor’s outrage at a minority Coalition government with no mandate, which broke an express pre-election promise to force through a hotly contested piece of legislation and then stifled proper democratic processes in Parliament by cutting short the debates. We’d have Combet, Gillard, Albanese and all the other Labor attack dogs shrieking from the rooftops. Tony Abbott responds:

Mr Abbott said it would be a “travesty of democracy” for the Government to rush its legislation through Parliament, especially as it had no mandate for a carbon tax.

He vowed to repeal the laws once a Coalition government was elected, despite concerns it might cause disruption to business.

“It’s never disruptive to get rid of a bad tax,” he told ABC Radio.

“It’s always advantageous to reduce business costs and they don’t want this tax and if they get it, they will want to be rid of it as quickly as they possibly can.”

Read it here.

Embarrassing: Gillard wanted direct action approach to climate

You won't be laughing...

In other words, Julia Gillard wanted to pursue a policy very similar to that presently advocated by, er, the Coalition. Oops.

It’s common knowledge that Gillard opposed the ETS being pushed by Kevin Rudd in 2009, and now it has been revealed that she encouraged alternatives to a carbon [dioxide] price, which can only realistically mean some kind of direct action policy.

It’s also common knowledge that the carbon dioxide price is the Greens’ policy, but even so, the revelation that she favoured an approach other than a carbon dioxide price is deeply embarrassing for Labor and Gillard, desperate to force through a carbon tax without a mandate and in the face of huge public opposition:

JULIA Gillard faces new pressure over her climate change convictions as Tony Abbott seized on a report revealing she previously pushed for a bipartisan approach that didn’t involve a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme.

Mr Abbott today questioned what Ms Gillard stood for, saying her post-election carbon tax plan had been dictated by the Greens.

“What that shows is that the Prime Minister’s attacks on our policy aren’t genuine,” Mr Abbott told ABC radio today.

“It demonstrates that the policy that the government is currently adopting is Bob Brown’s policy. Not Julia Gillard’s policy.”

The Australian Financial Review reports that Ms Gillard, as deputy prime minister, had encouraged the Rudd government’s “kitchen cabinet” to shelve plans for a carbon price in favour of other alternatives.

The revelation is extremely damaging for Ms Gillard, who with Treasurer Wayne Swan urged Kevin Rudd to dump his emissions trading scheme.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister today said the government did not comment on cabinet processes, but did not refute the story.

Mr Abbott said it now appeared Ms Gillard had backed the Coalition’s direct action policy.

“No-one can take her seriously,” he said.

“The nearest we get to ‘real Julia’ when it comes to climate change policy is the note that she gave to the inner cabinet just before she became prime minister herself where she said what the government should do is embrace the kind of policy the Coalition’s got.” (source)

Like Combet and the rest of her government, they have been blackmailed by the Greens to take urgent action on climate change, in direct opposition to Gillard’s previous position.

So when Gillard says “It’s the right thing to do”, she says that with a loaded gun to her head, wielded by Bob Brown and Christine Milne.

Abbott on the attack

On the attack

Morris Iemma’s comments earlier today have prompted Tony Abbott to renew his attack on the Gillard government’s toxic carbon [dioxide] tax:

FEDERAL Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has seized on comments by a former Labor premier to further the cause of his campaign against a carbon tax.

At the same time, he’s called on other senior Labor officials to stand up against the Gillard Government’s planned carbon pricing scheme.

Former NSW premier Morris Iemma has questioned the environmental benefits and economic cost of the scheme, saying the Government had adopted a policy that was part of the Greens’ agenda of “anti-growth and anti-investment”.

It would cause lower growth and investment and lead to lower incomes and fewer jobs, while only slightly reducing the rate of increase in greenhouse gas emissions, Mr Iemma told The Australian newspaper.

He echoed Mr Abbott’s stance on protecting jobs from the impact of a carbon tax.

“We should always stand shoulder to shoulder with steelworkers and miners and factory workers before we stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of (Australian Greens leaders) Bob Brown and Christine Milne,” Mr Iemma said.

Mr Abbott, unsurprisingly, used the reports of the former premier’s comments during a joint press conference with Victorian Premier Ted Ballieu in Melbourne.

“Morris Iemma knows exactly what the problem is in Canberra and he’s nailed it,” he said.

Mr Iemma was the third senior Labor figure, after Transport Workers Union boss Tony Sheldon and Dean Mighell from the Electrical Trades Union, to voice opposition to the carbon tax, Mr Abbott said.

“I say to decent Labor people right around the country, it’s high time that you stopped making excuses for this floundering prime minister, stood up for the workers … and drop this toxic tax.”

And let’s savour for a moment Julia Gillard’s considered and thought our response to Iemma’s concerns:

“I think Morris Iemma has called this one wrong.”

Wow, I’m kinda stunned by the incisive and razor sharp logic at work there. I don’t know about you, but the power of that argument has really won me over! Duh.

And as a reader has pointed out, Gillard is happy for Labor has-beens to wade into the argument, just as long as they’re on Gillard’s side, like Keating and Hawke.

Read it here.

It gets worse: Labor 39 – Coalition 61

We're not laughing…

Could it get any worse? Apparently, yes. It’s like watching an aged relative die a slow and painful death. The time has come for Labor backbenchers to put this government out of its misery, show that they still have some principles, and withdraw support.

It won’t happen of course, because they are all driven by petty self-interest rather than what is best for the country, but it’s a nice thought:

THE government has flatlined, personal support for Julia Gillard has plunged and Tony Abbott is by far the nation’s favoured leader, according to the first comprehensive national poll taken since the release of the carbon price policy.

After a week of fevered campaigning by both leaders, the Herald/Nielsen poll shows Labor’s primary vote has hit a new record low of 26 per cent while Mr Abbott has opened up an 11-percentage point lead on Ms Gillard as the preferred prime minister.

And despite the generous compensation package accompanying the carbon price, 53 per cent of voters feel they will be worse off.

Previous low levels of support for the policy have not changed, with 39 per cent backing the package and 52 per cent opposing it. More than half – 56 per cent – want a fresh election.

Although Ms Gillard had told the caucus not to expect any short-term rise in the polls after the release of the policy details, this poll was being watched closely by many MPs hoping for some positive response to the $15 billion compensation package.

The telephone poll of 1400 voters, taken from Thursday night to Saturday evening, shows Labor’s primary vote fell 1 point to 26 per cent since the last poll a month ago. The Coalition’s primary vote rose 2 points to 51 per cent, and the Greens fell 1 point to 11 per cent.

On a two-party-preferred basis, the Coalition leads by a thumping 61 per cent to 39 per cent, a 4-point rise in its lead in a month and an 11-point swing towards the opposition since the federal election in August.

While Labor’s vote stayed depressed, Ms Gillard’s personal rating plunged further and, for the first time, Mr Abbott is the preferred prime minister.

In the last poll, the Opposition Leader and Ms Gillard were tied at 46 per cent, but in this poll, Mr Abbott’s rating rose 5 points to 51 per cent while Ms Gillard’s fell 6 points to 40 per cent. (source)

Glenn Milne in The Australian analyses the fix Labor finds itself in:

The sullen rejection of the tax by ordinary voters, fed by the Opposition Leader’s furious onslaught and enabled by the government’s strategic blunder in announcing the tax without details, then leaving a political vacuum for months for the Coalition to fill, appears instead to have simply become embedded.

Gillard’s window of opportunity to dismantle Abbott’s campaign is fast closing, if it hasn’t already.

In a 24/7 media cycle attention has already begin to wane. By Saturday the carbon tax had been pushed off or down page one of the broadsheets. The tabloids had abandoned it. What dominated was Westpac’s prediction the next official interest rate move could be a cut. It’s now hard to see how Gillard re-engages on the issue, how she gets the interest back of voters who have already emphatically rejected the tax.

Ironically the interest rate story is probably a clue to her problems. In light of the threatened GFC aftershock in Europe and the US, which has helped drive a collapse in consumer confidence here, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that what the electorate wants is a government that will get our two-speed economy back on track. Instead Gillard’s solution is to load them up with a new tax.

One of the most important push factors behind this sentiment, surely, is the fact that even with this carbon tax Australia’s overall emissions won’t be reduced.

And that’s not even to go to the argument that our paltry contribution to cutting greenhouse gasses will still be overwhelmed by the unrestrained belching of the major emitters, the US, China and India.

Voters assess something is amiss here, leading to Abbott’s killer line last week: “What’s the point?” (source)

Read it all.

Abbott: ad campaign is "taxpayer-funded propaganda"

More spin

Labor uses taxpayer funds to push a policy that isn’t even enacted into law. The guidelines for government advertising state:

“governments may legitimately use public funds for information programs or education campaigns to explain government policies, programs or services and to inform members of the public of their obligations, rights and entitlements” (source – thanks to Baldrick)

But this is neither information nor education of a policy, it’s party-political propaganda intended to mislead the public, as Tony Abbott commented today:

Touring the marginal western Sydney seat of Lindsay, Mr Abbott described the ads as taxpayer-funded propaganda that did not tell the full truth.

“If the Labor Party wants to advertise, the Labor Party should find the money and the Labor Party should spend the money,” he said in the western Sydney suburb of Penrith.

“Taxpayers should not be ripped off to fund political propaganda.” (source)

As I posted earlier, the one thing that won’t even be mentioned in Labor’s adverts for “climate action” is the climate.

Abbott overtakes Gillard as preferred PM


It keeps getting worse for Julia Gillard and Labor. I wonder why? Is it possibly because she LIED about a carbon tax before the election, and now intends to introduce one without giving the electorate the chance to vote on her backflip? Just a crazy, wild guess. [UPDATE: or perhaps being compared to children who won’t eat their vegetables? How patronising can you get? – Ed]

JULIA Gillard has sunk below Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister for the first time and is now the most unpopular modern prime minister since Paul Keating at his worst.

Voter satisfaction with Ms Gillard has sunk to a record low, along with her support as Prime Minister against the Opposition Leader.

According to the latest Newspoll, conducted exclusively for The Australian, satisfaction with the Prime Minister last weekend was down two percentage points to 28 per cent, her lowest since becoming leader a year ago and a fall of 22 percentage points since she announced the carbon tax.

Dissatisfaction with Ms Gillard has leapt to a high of 62 per cent, up seven points in the past two weeks.

On the question of who would make the better prime minister, she slipped below Mr Abbott for the first time, after falling two points to 39 per cent as Mr Abbott’s support rose two points to 41 per cent.

On the first anniversary of the removal of Kevin Rudd as Labor leader and Ms Gillard’s first year as Prime Minister, the government’s primary vote has dropped to a record low for Labor of 30 per cent. The Coalition’s support remains at 46 per cent, with the Greens on a steady 11 per cent.

Based on second-preference flows at the last election, the Coalition has maintained its clear election-winning lead over Labor of 55 per cent to 45 per cent.

One thing’s for sure, the Australian electorate do not take kindly to being lied to.

Read it here.

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