Ju-liar’s Carbon Con

Julia Gillard is fighting for her political life.

Despite an unequivocal promise not to introduce a carbon tax under any government that she leads, the most shameless broken political promise in recent memory poses a dire threat to her professional standing.

While broken promises may seem par for the course in modern politics, rarely have we seen one that breaches such a major undertaking to the electorate, and one which cannot plausibly be ‘spun’ to advantage. Although that didn’t stop the government trying.

Just hours after the extraordinary press conference that demonstrated to the Australian people that the ‘quality’ team running the show prefer public preening to good public policy, the spin doctors were out in force.

‘This is not a tax but a price on carbon’ opined one, setting a new standard of political sophistry. Not only is the ‘not a tax’ claim an insult to every Australian who is not one of the lobotomised ‘zombies’ in the Labor Caucus, the very premise that carbon dioxide and carbon are interchangeable terms is arrant nonsense.

Carbon dioxide is a colourless, odourless gas that comprises a tiny percentage of our atmosphere. Carbon, on the other hand, is the substance that is in all known life forms and comprises approximately 18.5 per cent of the human body. To refer to either of them as a pollutant is even more misleading – unless you consider mankind as a ‘pollutant’ like some Green extremists do.

For Gillard to flip on such a strong promise and with such a contentious issue suggests that Labor are really struggling with some internal problems as well as with setting an agenda for the future. One Labor wag told me that their emphasis on multiculturalism and immigration the previous week had backfired disastrously in internal polling and they needed to shift the agenda to different ground.

If a carbon tax is their response then things must be very bad indeed. Not only do the Australian people not like being lied to, they hate the thought of paying more tax when this government has already squandered so much of their money.

Although ignored by the Gillard Government, many Australian families are struggling with cost of living pressures. The rise in utility bills is set to get worse thanks to a carbon tax. One Labor Parliamentary Secretary, Mark Dreyfus, tried to justify the price rises on national television as giving certainty for business.

Mr Dreyfus seems to have conveniently forgotten that business was certain that there was no carbon tax on the way because both major parties promised not to introduce one. If this is the quality of the logic and reasoning in the Labor inner sanctum, we all have cause to be very worried.

Which takes me back to Julia Gillard. She promised that no government she leads will introduce a carbon tax. Based on the betting markets that have her odds on to be replaced by Bill Shorten or Greg Combet before the next election, perhaps she might be able to keep her word, although it would do little to redeem her reputation as the worst, most wooden Prime Minister we have ever had.

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