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Polls show voters still shunning Labor's carbon scheme
09/07/2012 - The political stage is set, the show is rolling and voters have another 13 months to finalise their reviews. Paul Osborne
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The first week of the carbon tax started out as a typical we-say-they-say debate on its merits.
Then came Craig Emerson's rock star turn to a backing tape of Skyhooks' Horror Movie.
The trade minister stole the show with his song and dance parody of some of the coalition's more extreme views on the carbon tax.
The ABC's cringeworthy video of his press conference went viral on the internet and by the end of the week had attracted tens of thousands of hits on YouTube.
Meanwhile, Treasurer Wayne Swan stood outside a supermarket with a trolley of groceries to explain prices hadn't changed and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott trumpeted his year-long tune of a "toxic tax" that's hurting small business.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard opted for keynote speeches, tweets and an online blog to argue carbon pricing was a reform whose time had come and would endure.
Bakery chain Brumby's was pulled up after one of its managers "inappropriately" told franchisees to blame prices on the impost.
As the weekend loomed, there was growing evidence the business sector had resigned itself to carbon pricing and was now concerned about the uncertainty being created by the coalition's vow to scrap the regime if it wins government in 2013.
A group of about 300 major corporations, including GE and Westpac, publicly stated their support for Labor's policy, saying it was good for jobs and the environment.
An Australian National University survey found most companies directly hit by the $23/tonne carbon emissions price believe even if a coalition government does scrap it, some form of emissions trading is inevitable by 2020.
But the voter opinion polls continue to tell a different story for Labor.
Since the government first announced the deal with the Greens and independents in early 2011, they show the two-in-three people who opposed the carbon tax are still objecting.
It's no small leap to conclude the next election, which the coalition would win in a landslide based on the current numbers, will be a quasi referendum on the tax.
Liberals federal director Brian Loughnane told the party's federal council last weekend its election preparations are "well advanced" and a contingency plan is in place if a poll is called early.
He showcased a new slogan, "Labor's rotten", which the party's graphic artists have cleverly illustrated by morphing the ALP logo into a fly-blown garbage bag.
Liberal strategists say voters are warming to the idea Labor needs "time out" after five years in office to resolve internal divisions over its leadership and direction.
Loughnane also believes the coalition's 57 per cent landslide-winning lead will ease ahead of the election due in late 2013, because no party since 1980 has won more than 53.6 per cent of the two-party preferred vote in a federal poll.
But there is growing confidence that voters — who have turfed out ALP state governments across the nation — have stopped listening to the minority federal government.
Labor is hedging its bets on a two-pronged strategy.
The first is to portray itself as the party of the future, helping to save the planet through concerted action on climate change and a price on carbon, rolling out a nation-building broadband network and overhauling the education system.
The second is to paint Abbott as yesterday's man, a key figure behind the worst aspects of the Howard government, beholden to mining magnates such as Clive Palmer and an ideologue, with no vision for the future and a short-sighted obsession with axing the carbon tax.
However, the strategy risks being too negative.
And it fails to counter the overwhelming public view that Gillard can't be trusted.
The prime minister's post-election reversal on putting up a carbon tax and her coup against Kevin Rudd remain key sore points with voters.
The Rudd camp continues to weigh up its options, because his popularity isn't waning.
Some Labor figures believe he could make a more convincing argument for carbon pricing to voters than Gillard because he doesn't carrying the baggage of a broken promise.
And with a number of ministers who attacked him during the February leadership ballot expected to retire at the 2013 election, the enmity within cabinet and caucus would be reduced.
But, as many former rock stars have witnessed, it's hard not to be cynical about reunion tours.
c wilkie | 9/07/2012 13:34 1
GST is calculated bybusiness as the price paid against the price it is sold, the difference is collected by the ATO in thery, but the Carbon Tax is Add On, Add On,Add On,Add On, with a snow ball effect that may take 12 months to know what it is really going to cost us ?
Pat | 9/07/2012 13:53 2
Wayne Swan thinks everyone is stupid. And expected that if he gave the dogs a bone (the Australian Electorate), then we'd wag our collective tails and be satisfied with his and Juliars baffling jargon/jingoism and B******t which is represented by their rubbish carbon tax. He cant understand why we dont wuv him anymore. And he and Juliar are vewy hurt and a wittle bit miffed that we are being so ungrateful.
dave d | 10/07/2012 22:41 3
The truth of the matter is that the Taxpayer/voter is sick of Ju-liar giving away their hard earned taxes to bludgers/ overseas handouts and stupid schemes (aka pink Batts) and then introducing ridiculous ideas to re-coup the handouts .Along with the fact that Labor have proven time and time again that they are incapable of handling Taxpayers money in the best interest of Australians ,they cannot handle issues such as the boat people ,medical schemes or industrial dispute resolution (ask the unions after the Qantas fiasco) All Ju-liar can think to do is as Pat states is throw another bone and hope everyone forgets all these other idiotic theatrics. Ju-liar and her band of lunatics don't have the guts to stand up and say we can't get it right - maybe we have to return to the solutions that were already in place - at least they would not lose total respect which is the position they find themselves in now but no,just keep throwing dollars and send the country broke what a great Australian this BITC* is !!!
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