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In February this year Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced that her government would begin to put into place a tax on carbon.
This caused controversy in the media and in the court of public opinion, as during her 2010 election campaign Ms Gillard stated on air that there would be tax on carbon if she and the Labor party were elected.
The new tax will be placed on large businesses that are polluting with the most carbon, but Ms Gillard acknowledged on ABC television show Q&A that there would be some cost of living increases as a trickle down from the tax on business.
During the launch of the carbon tax she made clear that price impacts would be felt, particularly in areas which generate a lot of carbon, encouraging them to lower emissions.
“Now as a Labor Government, when we price carbon we will ensure that the carbon price is fair, that it is a fair system.
“Every cent raised from pricing carbon will go to assisting households, helping businesses manage the transition and funding climate change climate change programs, and the Government will always support those who are in need of assistance with cost of living pressures,” Ms Gillard said.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott called for a revolution after Ms Gillard announced the tax.
He and others critical of the scheme have drawn attention to Ms Gillard’s statements before the election saying unequivocally there would be no carbon tax.
In various media interviews Ms Gillard has come under extreme pressure for her new proposal.
Quote from Alan Jones radio program on 2UE in Sydney:
HOST: … they (the electorate) wouldn’t be as angry as they are today were it not for the fact that you said there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead. You said I rule out a carbon tax and Wayne Swan, your deputy, I just want to, so that you understand, Wayne Swan said this, your deputy:
Wayne Swan on Audio Clip: No, it’s not possible that we’re bringing in a carbon tax. That is a hysterically inaccurate claim being made by the Coalition.
The Coalition in Opposition have also been hugely vocal in their disapproval of the carbon tax proposed by Ms Gillard.
Senator Eric Abetz, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate said that a carbon tax will destroy jobs as well as increasing the cost of living and crippling Australia’s trade.
“The Australian people have every right to feel betrayed and outraged by Labor’s shameful deceit,” Senator Abetz said.
“Not only did Julia Gillard deceive the Australian public, it’s clear that in announcing her back flip under pressure from Labor’s Green Alliance partners, the Prime Minister didn’t seek approval from her own Labor colleagues.”
The Opposition have also said the carbon tax is another sign of the power of the Green party in the Labor government.
The 2010 election that placed Julia Gillard and Labor in power did not give Ms Gillard a large enough majority from the voters to have outright power in the Senate.
Ms Gillard formed a minority government with the Green party and several Independents.