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Is the ‘carbon tax’ the reason for the PM’s low popularity, or is it Murdoch?

Claims that Julia Gillard’s unpopularity were linked to her introduction of carbon pricing in 2012 don’t stack up, says Alex White from the UK Guardian. White points the finger at Rupert Murdoch and the people he controls in our country. Tony Abbott sits high on that list of puppets.

White’s article is reproduced in full below. It’s the type of truth in reporting we’ll be seeing more of in our country when the Guardian opens its doors here. What a relief that will be from the biased Murdoch bile we are currently force-fed.

I hope you enjoy the article:

Since the disappointment of Copenhagen in 2009, Australia has witnessed a concerted scare campaign against action on global warming. The scare campaign has been led by senior commentators in (Murdoch owned) News Limited papers, by conservative radio shock-jocks on the airwaves, and in parliament by extremist opposition party leader Tony Abbott.

From the moment Australia’s carbon pricing legislation package, the Clean Energy Future Act, was announced Tony Abbott has barnstormed from one end of Australia to another, declaring a “blood oath” that repealing the carbon price would be his first priority if elected:

“I am giving you the most definite commitment any politician can give that this tax will go. This is a pledge in blood.”

Behind this incendiary phrase is Abbott’s own climate change policy, a mishmash of ineffective handouts to industry to “clean up” polluting power stations and industrial plants, a tree-planting program, investment in bio-char, and token efforts towards energy efficiency.

Collectively, these programs are termed “direct action”, which can be boiled down, in the words of shadow minister Malcolm Turnbull, to the Liberal Party’s sop to the climate change deniers in their ranks:

If the theory of climate change was proved to be nonsense, then obviously there would be no point in cutting emissions at all. If the rest of the world ultimately resolved to do nothing then we would very likely be better off spending the resources available on adaptation – moving to higher ground and so on.

The fact remains that the direct action policy, which aims to reach the same 5% carbon emission reductions as Labor’s carbon price, is mostly a mishmash of unanswered questions and wishful thinking.

Viciousness and personal attacks have characterised the blood oath carbon price repeal campaign. Abbott and other senior conservative front-bench MPs have spoken at rallies where posters and banners have depicted Prime Minister Julia Gillard as a “witch” and a “bitch”. Tony Abbott, for a time, defended conservative radio host Alan Jones for claiming at a Liberal Party fundraiser that Gillard’s father “died of shame”. Independent MP, Tony Windsor, who voted for the carbon price, received death threats.

Unsurprisingly, over the past three years public support for the Gillard government has declined to record low levels. Many in the media, and some within the government, blame the introduction of the carbon price for the low polling numbers. Unfortunately, these claims don’t stack up.

The graph below shows the decline in the two-party polling for Labor, matched alongside the total support and oppose polling for the carbon price. The polling figures are from Essential Report, a fortnightly Australian poll.


Australian polling of the carbon price and Labor two-party preferred rating


Australian polling of the carbon price support, Labor’s two-party preferred rating and Tony Abbott’s dissatisfaction rating (source: Essential Report)

Prime Minister Gillard announced the carbon price in February 2011, after winning the election the previous August. By this stage, the fall in the government’s polling numbers is already visible.

The Clean Energy Bill passed through the lower house in October 2011 and the Senate in November. The carbon price came into effect the following year from 1 July 2012. In this time, support for the carbon price dropped to rock bottom and opposition sky-rocketed. Despite a massive pro-carbon price campaign run by Australia’s environment movement, Tony Abbott’s “blood oath” scare tactics won out through 2011 (although as is clear, his personal approval suffered).

Something happened after 1 July 2012 however.

The apocalyptic predictions made by Tony Abbott did not come to pass. The sky didn’t fall. Mining and manufacturing towns weren’t wiped off the map. Regional airlines didn’t double their prices. The carbon price wrecking ball, python strike and cobra squeeze has not impacted Australia’s interest rates, employment levels or inflation.

Support for the carbon price, and opposition to it, narrowed and equalised.

What didn’t happen was an increase in Labor’s vote. Throughout 2011 and 2012, while the carbon price’s stocks fell, Labor’s also remained low. From 1 July 2012, the two numbers decoupled. Labor’s polling remained stuck, while opposition to the carbon price declined and support increased.

This month, we passed an unprecedented milestone: global carbon levels exceeded levels not seen in over 3 million years. The carbon price in Australia has contributed to a 10-year low in carbon emissions. Few in Australia have noticed either turning point. Meanwhile, conservative state governments have quietly been dismantling carbon reduction policies established by the previous Labor governments, wilfully ignoring warnings by the scientific community of the risks.

It is unlikely that the election will be fought on climate change, or that Tony Abbott will follow through on his threat to make the election a referendum on the carbon price.

If Tony Abbott does win the Australian election on 14 September, he has announced he will do everything he can to abolish the carbon price, which would leave Australia the only nation in the world to remove carbon pricing laws. No doubt, an Abbott-led Australia will accelerate exports of fossil fuels, but it remains to be seen if he can dismantle the carbon price.


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  1. Maureen

    No question…it is Murdoch!

  2. Michael Taylor

    Reblogged this on Café Whispers.

  3. Fed up

    No, the election is unlikely to be fought on climate change. Abbott wants to fight it on the so called the carbon tax.

    i suspect that a majority still believe in man made climate change., Many believe we are already suffering the effects.

    Does business really want the uncertainty that demolishing it will bring. Many have benefit from CEF, and now have lower power bills,

    Has the so called tax torn the economy asunder, as Abbott claims. Will we really be better off.

    If we believe what we read, the CEF is already showing results. The money collected. is quickly returned to the economy, creating jobs.

    The collapse of the trading price in Europe is not the disaster, Abbott claims. It just means we will get the same results for less cost. After all, it is a market based scheme. Prices will revive, once the GFC is over.

    More nations are coming on board.

    Over a million homes have put panels on the roofs, leading to savings in power.

    Is dismounting the system worth the political instability it will bring.

    Do we really want to pay $1200 or more, for it to be replaced with the Direct Action of Abbott, that is seen as inefficient expensive and supported by none.

    Does that make sense.

    Yes, will people, when they also look at NBNCo and MRRT, come to the same conclusion.

    None is costing, what Abbott claims. None is bringing the nation to it’s knees.

    What he wants to replace these with, are far from ideal. All have many problems.

    So, we need to listen to what Abbott wants to spend his time in parliament rescinding. Is his replacement legislation any better

    I suspect, the answer is no.

    While Abbott is playing his role of the demolition man, he will not be focusing on the unstable global economy, that we have to survive in.

    He will not be working on the infrastructure, the education and training we need to not only survive, but flourish in the Asian Century.

    These are the questions we need to ask.

  4. Fed up

    PS. We are far past the time, that the up coming election is about a popularity contest.

    To elect Abbott, because one cannot personally stand the PM, is a little stupid.

  5. Fed up

    PS It is not about deficits or debt either. We have a strong economy, in a unstable world. We better make the right choice. If not, we will live to regret it.

  6. Jean Leeson

    It’s Murdoch – he’s decided that Tony should have a go, he also has the mining magnates on side. The mega rich stick together & bugger the rest of us!

  7. mludowyk

    Of course it’s Murdoch. He’s bitter that the government denied him the ABC overseas licence and he doesn’t want the NBN because it will mean people won’t need to pay for Foxtel any more. Murdoch has anointed Abbott as his puppet and his papers are making sure of that.

  8. Des Pensable

    The Murdoch MSM muppets are largely to blame for causing the confusion, chaos and political instability but behind them in the shadows we can see mining moguls eagerly awaiting the chance to pillage the north for our minerals at fire sale prices. They are priests and priestesses of neolibralism which is short for the rich should rule and the people should be their slaves. The sheeple are fat and ready for the slaughter.

  9. Fed up

    “will mean people won’t need to pay for Foxtel any more. ”

    More important, will not need his channel;s anymore.

  10. stavr0s

    Of course its Murdoch. He has decided that Abbott will be his puppet because he won’t bring in NBN which will utterly destroy his business model. There will be no need for Satellite TV, Foxtel or newspapers. ABC will become the free distributor of News and Current Affairs ( even tho right now under Mark Scott, former LNP Adviser, ABC is following Murdoch and being influenced by IPA).

    Murdoch has lost credibility in all Anglosphere countries thru the phone hacking and other corporate crimes. The last bastion of “credibility” is Australia because he owns 70% of media here and thus little publicity about his corporate roguehood. If he can get his Thunderbird Abbott puppet as PM he will be able to at least have some control in his country of birth.

    Other MSM just follow the “leader” and they recognise the threat that a full NBN has on their own business models.

    Murdoch, along with the Mining Billionaires have decided that Aust will have Abbott as PM. Aust, if Abbot wins will be a plutocracy via a managed mediacracy. Democracy is a nice sounding 1984 Newspeak word that will be bandied about – much like freedom of the press.

  11. eleanawi

    Personally the Carbon Tax hasn’t affected me in any discernible way. Three years ago I too did not like the PM, but she has proved herself to me; her ability to lead, to pass legislation in a Hung Parliament has been impressive. What has impressed me about Tony Abbott? NOTHING. The Murdock Press is a disgrace.

  12. fair suck of the sav

    The most important word here is ‘extremist’. This is what Abbott and Murdoch represent. They may attempt to seduce us as being reasonable people, but this if far from the truth. A& M have run a Jihad against Gillard and the carbon price. In that rsepect they deserve the moniker of fundmentalist Neo-Cons; extreme to the core when it comes to coveting power!

  13. Caroline Downs

    Murdoch and his contempories ie the few that own the media in this country have made it very clear they want regime change and support Abbott. His editors do what they are told. This is why Abbott’ s policies are never challenged. The media run this country.

    Sent from my iPhone

  14. troy s

    we are doomed people. Tony will get in, so many ill-informed sheep out there in Australia… BE VERY WORRIED. abbott will destroy this place for the working man, we will become a 3rd world country.

  15. Min

    Tony Windsor’s opinion from August ’12

    INDEPENDENT Tony Windsor has lashed out at Tony Abbott, accusing the Opposition Leader of being willing to do anything but “sell his arse” as he begged to be prime minister during power negotiations in 2010, declaring that Mr Abbott would have introduced an emissions trading scheme or a carbon tax if it secured government…

    But Mr Windsor said: “The decision to put a price on carbon was a condition of the formation of government.” The Prime Minister had not won the election, which had produced a hung parliament.

  16. Min

    Troy, it would seem that big business is concerned as well..not everyone is a Gina.

  17. J.Fraser

    “Has Murdoch made up your mind who to vote for”.

    Murdoch can’t convince me to buy into any of his empire.

  18. J.Fraser

    “Has Murdoch lied to you”.


  19. Bill Morris

    Definitely the media are running the show. People that I know who don’t take much interest in politics accept what MSM say and the polls as gospel. They believe that the mere volume of anti Gillard & pro Abbott material is the proof.

  20. cartoonmick

    This would have to be one of my favourite cartoons on the subject……….

    Editorial / Political



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