Well, the carbon tax is now a reality. So, what does it mean to the average punter who has absorbed as much hot air about carbon as he or she can take.
First of all, most Australians don’t understand this new tax, as it has never been rationally explained to any of us.
All that we know of the subject is that politicians have been abusing one another about it for years. Even the Prime Minister’s carbon tax leaflet was not widely read. Many tore it up in disgust without even opening it, such has been the meltdown in public opinion on the issue.
The threat to repeal it has caused uncertainty, even though the repeal will never be enacted. It will require a double dissolution election, which will likely happen after voters have enjoyed two years of the tax exemptions and hand-outs provided for in the carbon tax legislation. Tony Abbott is too streetwise a politician to go to the voters asking them to elect him so he can take it all away from them.
The carbon tax is here to stay, and we had better get used to it. I don’t think that the sky is about to fall in. The reality is that, despite all of its defects and all the questionable science that is involved, the tax actually represents a small symbolic victory for the community over the greedy who don’t want to lose even a tiny fraction of their profits for the good of society.
It is a pity that, when Tony Abbott realised that Julia Gillard had the votes to get it through, he did not go to her and offer to vote with her, and isolate the Greens, if she would agree to change tack and implement the Emissions Trading Scheme that he and John Howard promised to implement during the 2007 Elections.
This piece of pragmatism could have meant that we would all be a lot better off. Voters will feel let down, and we now have to live with the version of the tax that the Greens have insisted upon when a much better one was available.
May I also express the hope that the endless accusations leveled at Gillard for telling a lie about the Carbon Tax might now die down. Most of us are sick of hearing it, as it has dominated the debate pointlessly and did not allow the public to understand the alternative that Abbott was offering.
The only people who have the right to criticise Gillard for telling a lie are those who actually voted for her. Those who did not vote for her were not deceived. They did not believe her in the first place. So, if you voted against Julia, will you please shut-up and let us get some sleep. None of us have ever met a politician who did not tell a lie sometime during his or her career. Why pick on Julia?
Can I also say that those in the Parliamentary Gallery on the day of the Carbon Tax vote, who yelled and screamed that democracy was dead, should have all been locked-up, as it is a breach of the law to try to force a politician to vote your way by making threats. Nor is any politician obligated to vote according to what opinion polls say. The only recourse that voters have is to throw-out their MP at an election.
The protesters were not defending democracy. They did their best to destroy it. And they ignored the rights of the 40 per cent who favour a carbon tax. They are part of the democratic process too.