Daily Telegraph Blog
Posted on Friday, 29 July 2011
For someone who was going to “wear out the shoe leather” promoting her carbon tax, the Prime Minister has been very quiet lately. Since going to the relatively safe territory of the National Press Club a fortnight ago, she has been talking about anything but the carbon tax, presumably because the more she talks, the more toxic this tax seems.
On Friday, she went to a school. Over the weekend, she went to Tasmania to talk about closing down more forests. On Monday, she announced that the Malaysia people swap had finally been signed – and sort-of-denied that she’d last year sent her inner cabinet colleagues a secret memo backing Coalition-style direct action. On Tuesday, she went to Melbourne to be the supporting act in a Tony Blair press conference and since then has had no public events at all. Not only has she not worn out her shoes, she’s hardly worn them in. No doubt head office has told her that the only safe way to talk about the carbon tax is to change the subject.
Since carbon Sunday, I have had 54 radio interviews, eight TV interviews, 17 doorstop press conferences, eight mass meetings with workers and eight large community events. Since the carbon tax was first announced in February, I have done 244 radio interviews.
This week, I addressed two events in Townsville, including a community forum, on Sunday afternoon; addressed 300 workers at the Yabulu nickel refinery, visited a marine rubbish clean-up and attended a tourism leaders’ round table at Airlie Beach and addressed a community forum in Mackay on Monday; attended a cattle industry leaders’ morning tea and addressed a civic event in Rockhampton on Tuesday; visited a carbon farmer, addressed factory workers and addressed a community event in Tamworth on Wednesday; and addressed a small business forum and visited a Landcare project in Armidale on Thursday.
It’s not necessary to read the polls to know that the Prime Minister’s carbon tax campaign is not a failure but a disaster. In Tamworth, local independent MP Tony Windsor was indignant that I wouldn’t set a date to debate him. If he can persuade the Prime Minister to visit, I’ll gladly return any time to debate her. I bet she’ll be too busy because the last thing Julia Gillard and Tony Windsor now want is to remind local people of the carbon tax sell-out.
No one should assume that the carbon tax is a foregone conclusion. If the mining tax could unseat Kevin Rudd there’s no reason why the carbon tax won’t be equally disastrous for the current incumbent. The main reason why the Prime Minister chose to announce the details after the parliament had risen for the winter was because she didn’t want to face the caucus over a tax foisted on them by the Greens.
29 July 2011