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


Ahead

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.

Abbott to push for plebiscite on carbon tax


Interesting times

It could be an interesting day in Parliament today:

AUSTRALIANS would be asked to vote on whether they want a carbon tax under a radical plan by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to be put before parliament today.

Mr Abbott will lodge a bill to force the government to a plebiscite on the carbon tax in a move which, if successful, could force Julia Gillard to junk the tax or go to the polls to seek a mandate.

In what would be the first full national plebiscite since the conscription votes of World War I, the question to be put to the Australian people would ask: “Are you in favour of a law to impose a carbon tax?”

Motions for a bill to enable the vote, drafted by the parliamentary clerk, will be introduced simultaneously in both the senate and the house of representatives at 10am today. The bill has been deemed constitutional by the clerk, preventing the government from rejecting it for a vote in the senate.

If passed by both houses, the government would have 90 days to call the plebiscite, requiring all registered voters to cast their verdict on the tax.

While not binding on the government as are referenda, Mr Abbott said a “no” vote would have such moral authority that Ms Gillard would be forced to either dump the tax or go to an early election to seek a mandate. Mr Abbott, who has effectively pitched his leadership against the PM’s on the result, told The Daily Telegraph he believed the independents would support the bills in the interests of democracy.

“I think if the PM had any integrity she would seek a mandate at an election for her tax. Clearly she is not going to do that,” he said.

“The independents don’t want an election … this gives them a chance to have a vote without having an election. It gives them a chance to respect democratic principles.”

We’ll see. The independents haven’t shown themselves to be particularly principled in the past, but we can only hope. An opinion poll on the plebiscite proposal is currently running at 90% in favour.

Read it here.

Garnaut report "an assault on democracy"


Undemocratic

So says Tony Abbott. I think he may be right, since giving the power to levy taxes or change tax rates to an unelected body sounds pretty dangerous to me:

TONY Abbott has rejected the latest climate change report from economist Ross Garnaut as an assault on democracy, warning that it proposes to give a committee of unelected appointees the power to set tax rates.

“There is a developing democratic deficit here,” he said. “First of all the Prime Minister wasn’t upfront with the Australian public before the election. Now the idea that taxes in this country should effectively be set by people who are outside the parliament, and who are not accountable to the people, I think, is just odd.

“This just goes to show how out of control the government is on this whole climate change question.”

Later, the Opposition Leader continued his attack in question time, noting that the report said: “Australian households will ultimately bear the full cost of a carbon price”.

“So how can (the Prime Minister) continue to maintain that her tax only makes big polluters pay?” Mr Abbott asked parliament.

“Who pays? Big polluters or households? The truth is: households.” (source)

Carbon tax will "strangle manufacturing" – Abbott


Carbon strangulation

A carbon tax will strangle Australia’s manufacturing industry, Tony Abbott has said this afternoon:

OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott has warned that Australia’s manufacturing sector would be slowly strangled by Labor’s planned carbon tax amid rising concern in business about the impact of the policy.

Mr Abbott made a direct appeal to manufacturing employers and workers today to take notice of the Coalition’s anti-carbon tax campaign at the same time as launching his latest personal attack against Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

He told the Victorian Liberal Party’s State Council that Melbourne would suffer badly if Australia followed the Labor course.

“Over time, a go-it-alone carbon tax means the slow strangulation of manufacturing in Australia,” the Opposition Leader said.

“Let the message go out to our country from here in Melbourne — the manufacturing heart of our country — that we must be a country that continues to make things. We must be a country with a first world economy.

“But we can’t be a first world economy if our manufacturing industry has been killed by Labor’s carbon tax.”

Read the rest here.

Turnbull wants to destroy Abbott – and the Coalition


Revenge on his mind…

Malcolm Turnbull’s ego is bigger than the Coalition. Bigger than a victory over Labor at the next election. Bigger than putting Australia back on a path to prosperity after six years of Labor mismanagement at the next election in 2013. Oh yes, Turnbull’s lust for revenge goes way beyond those petty considerations.

He hates the fact that Tony Abbott is doing so well as Opposition leader. He hates the fact that he thinks Abbott is inferior to him (or so he believes) and he himself should still rightly be the leader of the Opposition. He hates the fact that he was defeated by Abbott by one vote in 2009. He hates the fact that his mindless climate policy was dumped at the eleventh hour, just before his party was due to vote with Labor to enact an ETS. He hates the fact that Abbott’s recent budget reply went down so well (as evidenced by his curt handshake and flouncing out of the chamber at the first possible opportunity).

So last week we had the Lateline debacle, where Turnbull made little attempt to conceal his disgust for his own party’s climate policy. The next day, the headlines were full of… Malcolm Turnbull. And today we have another distraction from the task at hand, his alleged failure to vote in divisions, followed by the leak of a stiff email in rebuke. And, again, tomorrow the headlines will all be full of… Malcolm Turnbull.

To my mind, the fact that Turnbull is in the headlines again is no accident. I strongly believe that Turnbull wants to torpedo Abbott and then ride to the Coalition’s rescue as their saviour, and have himself elected leader again. All the evidence points that way, and it seems that he is prepared to sacrifice anything and everything to achieve this end, including a Coalition victory at the next election, just so long as he can exact his bitter revenge on Abbott.

We should not be reading headlines about Malcolm Turnbull – we should be reading headlines about Gillard’s incompetence. We should not be reading headlines about “divisions within the Coalition” brought about by Turnbull speaking out of turn – we should be reading headlines about the effect of Labor’s disastrous carbon tax on our economy and prosperity. Whenever Turnbull is in the headlines, it distracts from the task at hand: holding this inept and arrogant government to account.

The more of this kind of distraction continues, and the more cracks that appear in the Coalition front, the more opportunities there are for Labor to attack, diverting attention from their own shortcomings, eroding away, tiny bit by tiny bit, the extraordinary lead that Abbott has delivered, until Labor are ahead once again, Abbott sinks into the role of a leader in crisis, on the way out, and is eventually, inevitably, replaced by…?

So the message to Tony Abbott is all too clear: sack Turnbull now, or he will destroy you, the Coalition, and any chance of victory at the next election – all in pursuit of his own selfish goals.

Gillard descends to personal attacks on Abbott


Before the makeover…

What can she do? Nothing she says makes any difference. The people just won’t listen. Tony Abbott is flying high in the polls and Julia Gillard is sinking into the depths, so she pulls out the lowest trick of all – personal abuse, plain and simple. We should be pleased, as it shows the level of desperation that exists in the Gillard camp. It doesn’t reflect on Abbott though, it reflects on Gillard, so please, keep it up!

FACING her greatest political challenge, Julia Gillard played the man yesterday, accusing Opposition Leader Tony Abbott of behaving like the political love child of Sarah Palin and Donald Trump.

The PM made her personal crack to at the ALP state conference at Monash University yesterday, telling the delegates Mr Abbott was running a hysterical campaign against the carbon tax. [Well, Gillard should know all about hysterical campaigns. She’s run enough of them – Ed]

“Tony Abbott has said of himself that he is John Howard and Bronwyn Bishop’s political love child,” she said. [Yes, if you hadn’t noticed, it’s OK to make jokes about yourself – Ed]

“Heaven knows that’s bad enough, but the truth is he is acting more like the love child of Sarah Palin and Donald Trump.”

Mr Abbott did not respond to the jibe yesterday. [Perfectly proper to rise above such childish petulance – Ed]

An opinion poll yesterday showed Labor’s primary vote had crashed below 30 per cent in Queensland. (source)

Of course, it appealed to the great unwashed of Victorian Labor, but everyone else thought it was embarrassingly immature.

Desperate times call for truly desperate measures.

Dump Turnbull now


Time is up for Turnbull

Malcolm Turnbull has done enough to wreck the Coalition’s chances of government. Message to Tony Abbott, sack him now, before it’s too late:

FORMER Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull has attacked the Coalition’s direct action policy on climate change, declaring it cannot produce deep emissions cuts without putting a strain on the budget.

The opposition communications spokesman, who lost the Liberal Party leadership over his deal with Kevin Rudd to legislate a carbon pollution reduction scheme, told ABC’s Lateline last night the Coalition’s policy on climate change was a short-term one that could be easily stopped.

Mr Turnbull told the program that if a government was looking for a long-term solution to making deep cuts to carbon emissions, “a direct action policy where industry is able to freely pollute and the government is just spending more and more taxpayers’ money to offset it, that would become a very expensive charge on the budget.” (source)

I guess Turnbull wants to see an ETS so he can cash in on the billions to be made trading carbon (allegedly). Enough is enough.

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