Can a price on carbon create jobs?

Jul 3, 2012



Tim Ayres tells manufacturers to focus on opportunities in clean energy and new government subsidies.

Despite the hyperbole on one side and scaremongering on the other, the much debated carbon tax is in place. For manufacturers, the carbon tax is a game shifter heralding new beginnings but also some losses.

Tim Ayres for the AMWU tells 3Q about the opportunities and challenges to Australia’s clean, green future. Though the Government has committed billions in loans through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation kick-starting a clean technology industry in wind, solar and geothermal will mean putting the right policies in place so that local workers benefit.

Big Picture, Empty Suit

Jul 2, 2012

There is really something revealing about the picture that accompanies today’s story in the Sydney Morning Herald about the carbon tax. Check it out…

The story is straightforward enough, leading with the words of The Empty Suit:

THE Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, declared yesterday that the ”campaign is now on” as the Gillard government began the tough job of selling its carbon tax, the biggest economic reform the country has seen since the GST.

But look up higher, above the headline, and you see the real news: the billboard with a picture of The Empty Suit and the real thing, the real Empty Suit, dwarfed by the picture.

There, in a nutshell, is the story: image is bigger than reality.


@jonathantasini

 

The Empty Suit and Carbon Taxes

Jun 27, 2012

The Empty Suit has been using the carbon tax scare as a key part of his assault on the government–an assault this is devoid of integrity…oh, why even bother to use that word? But, sometimes lies work wonders.

Ross Gittins makes a useful observation in his column today:

But with the carbon tax taking effect from this Sunday, the moment of truth approaches. Soon enough it will become clear that, for consumers and the vast bulk of businesses, the dreaded carbon tax will have an effect much smaller than the GST. The retail prices of electricity and gas will rise by about 9 per cent, but the increases in other prices will be very small.

Julia Gillard and her supporters have been hoping against hope that as soon as this reality dawns on a fearful public, as soon as the magnitude of the Liberals’ hoax is revealed, voters will switch back to Labor in droves.

I don’t see it happening. It rests on an unrealistic view of the lack of self-delusion in human nature.

Political parties and their cheerleaders don’t like admitting they’ve been dishonest – even to themselves. And you and I don’t like admitting we’ve allowed ourselves to be conned by unscrupulous politicians and shock jocks.

So, the point is The Empty Suit will continue to spread fear about the carbon tax because, well, fear works. Integrity is so yesterday.


@jonathantasini

Tries Lies: More Carbon Porkies to Come

Jun 27, 2012

First published on The Drum 26 June 2012

The ‘lie’ at the heart of Labor’s carbon tax has assumed legendary status. Never mind that the realities of the supposed falsehood are highly contestable – Labor’s carbon pricing scheme is arguably not a tax at all – “there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead” has become the iconic political lie of our times.

Its ruthlessly successful exploitation by the Abbott Opposition has spawned a political craze in exposing opponents’ lies, in the hope of replicating this highly successful case study in trust-related brand damage.

But what about the Opposition’s penchant for stretching the truth on impacts of the carbon tax?

George Brandis’s assertion the carbon tax was responsible for 1900 job cuts at Fairfax was a cracker, but only a natural extension of years of dubious claims the carbon tax would wipe towns off the map, spark mass shut-downs of industry and send families to the wall under crippling power prices.

With not much else to look forward to, Labor hopes the sun rising on July 1 – towns and families intact – will expose the Opposition’s spurious rhetoric about the carbon tax. Who is calling us liars now, you liars?

The collapse in trust in politics as we’ve reported on before, is a defining feature of our current political culture, driven largely by the kind of negative politics that have characterised the carbon debate.

In this environment, Labor has been unable to win back support for its carbon pricing scheme, with support levels on the eve of its introduction at the same low level they were towards the start of last year.

Q. Do you support or oppose the Government’s carbon pricing scheme which, from July 2012, will require industries to pay a tax based on the amount of carbon pollution they emit?

 

7 Mar 2011

23 May

1 Aug

21 Nov

Total

25 Jun 2012

Vote Labor

Vote Lib/Nat

Vote Greens

Total support

35%

41%

39%

38%

35%

67%

13%

74%

Total oppose

48%

44%

51%

53%

54%

21%

81%

21%

Strongly support

9%

14%

15%

14%

14%

28%

4%

38%

Support

26%

27%

24%

24%

21%

39%

9%

36%

Oppose

19%

15%

19%

17%

19%

12%

24%

13%

Strongly oppose

29%

29%

32%

36%

35%

9%

57%

8%

Don’t know

18%

15%

10%

10%

11%

12%

7%

6%

 

If there’s a positive for Labor there, it’s that it has been able to win the support of its base on this issue, with two-thirds of Labor voters (admittedly a small pool – link to table) supporting the policy.

But despite Labor’s focus on selling the compensation elements of the carbon pricing reform, the public has bought the cost-of-living scare, with 71% believing their cost of living will increase moderately or a lot. A further 20% thought there would be a small increase and just 2% thought there would be no impact. Power, petrol, groceries and fruit and veg – people are expecting the introduction of the carbon tax to be a disaster for their hip pockets.

Q. And what impact do you expect the carbon tax to have on each of the following?

 

 

Increase a lot

Increase a little

Stay much the same

Decrease a little

Decrease a lot

Don’t know

Energy prices

67%

26%

4%

*

3%

Fuel prices

53%

31%

11%

1%

*

4%

Grocery prices

41%

41%

14%

1%

4%

Fresh fruit and vegetable prices

39%

39%

18%

*

*

4%

Unemployment

31%

27%

32%

2%

1%

8%

Interest rates

22%

18%

38%

8%

1%

13%

And herein lies the risk for Tony Abbott.

With the happy bonus that most of us aren’t really too sure what the carbon tax actually is, we can expect plenty more Brandis-style water-muddying as the carbon tax is blamed for job losses, power price rises, divorces and bad haircuts caused by completely unrelated factors.

But what if the Opposition can’t deliver carbon tax Armageddon? What if people accept that any moderate increases in prices have been offset by the one-off ‘cashforyou’ payments and associated support packages? Or, and this may be stretching it, what if the media starts questioning come of the tenuous links between price rises and carbon that the Opposition attempts to exploit?

If the world doesn’t end on Sunday, will people shift their opinion of the Carbon Tax or, worse still for Abbott, start to wonder whether they have been played for fools? Already the rhetoric is shifting from ‘death strike’ to ‘python’s grip’ but is this sustainable as a basis for the daily high-vis vest photo opp that has become the Oppostion’s modus operandi.

Another potential porky lies in the Opposition Leader’s promise to repeal the carbon tax.Abbott has pledged ‘in blood’ there would be no carbon tax under the government he leads.

Currently, we’re fairly evenly split on whether a pledge in blood is actually a core promise, with a slight majority believing he’ll go through with it.

Q. If they won the next election, how likely do you think it would be that Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party would repeal the carbon tax?

 

Total

Vote Labor

Vote Lib/Nat

Vote Greens

Total likely

44%

28%

64%

42%

Total unlikely

40%

62%

22%

41%

Don’t know

17%

11%

14%

17%

 

But what if he can’t get the numbers through the Senate? What if he is forced to negotiate and, God forbid compromise, with those holding the balance of power? Will this be a case of a politician dealing with the hand they are dealt or just another example that all politicians lie?

While it’s easy to dismiss the dealing in truth and lies as business as usual politics, but in turning it into a Weapon of Mass Destruction it will be interesting to see if the Opposition leader has not set set his own future government onto a path of Mutually Assured Destruction.

 

 

Carbon Tax

Jun 25, 2012

Q. Do you support or oppose the Government’s carbon pricing scheme which, from July 2012, will require industries to pay a tax based on the amount of carbon pollution they emit?

 

7 Mar 2011

18 Apr

23 May

14 Jun

18 Jul

1 Aug

19 Sep

17 Oct

21 Nov

Total

25 Jun 12

Vote ALP

Vote Lib

Vote Greens

Total support

35%

39%

41%

38%

39%

39%

37%

39%

38%

35%

67%

13%

74%

Total oppose

48%

49%

44%

49%

49%

51%

52%

53%

53%

54%

21%

81%

21%

Strongly support

9%

13%

14%

13%

15%

15%

14%

14%

14%

14%

28%

4%

38%

Support

26%

26%

27%

25%

24%

24%

23%

25%

24%

21%

39%

9%

36%

Oppose

19%

15%

15%

19%

16%

19%

17%

17%

17%

19%

12%

24%

13%

Strongly oppose

29%

34%

29%

30%

33%

32%

35%

36%

36%

35%

9%

57%

8%

Don’t know

18%

12%

15%

13%

12%

10%

12%

9%

10%

11%

12%

7%

6%

Support for the carbon pricing scheme has fallen a little since this question was asked in November last year. 35% (down 3%) support the scheme and 54% oppose (up 1%).

All demographic groups were more likely to oppose than support – although younger respondents showed higher support than older respondents. Support/oppose by age was 39%/45% for aged 18-34, 32%/56% for aged 35-54 and 33%/61% for aged 55+.

Impact of Carbon Tax on Cost of Living

Jun 25, 2012

Q. From what you have read and heard, what impact do you expect the carbon tax will have on your cost of living?

 

Total

Vote Labor

Vote Lib/Nat

Vote Greens

Costs will increase a lot

45%

24%

62%

14%

Costs will increase a moderate amount

26%

27%

27%

30%

Costs will increase a little

20%

38%

8%

37%

It will have no impact on costs

2%

4%

*

9%

Don’t know

6%

6%

3%

10%

45% believe that their cost of living will increase a lot because of the carbon tax and 26% think it will increase a moderate amount.

55% of those aged 55+, 49% of aged 35-54 and 50% of people not working think their cost of living will increase a lot. There were no substantial differences by income.

Impact of Carbon Tax

Jun 25, 2012

Q. And what impact do you expect the carbon tax to have on each of the following?

 

Increase a lot

Increase a little

Stay much the same

Decrease a little

Decrease a lot

Don’t know

Energy prices

67%

26%

4%

*

3%

Fuel prices

53%

31%

11%

1%

*

4%

Grocery prices

41%

41%

14%

1%

4%

Fresh fruit and vegetable prices

39%

39%

18%

*

*

4%

Unemployment

31%

27%

32%

2%

1%

8%

Interest rates

22%

18%

38%

8%

1%

13%

A majority expect that energy prices (67%) and fuel prices (53%) will increase a lot due to the carbon tax. 41% expect grocery prices to increase a lot and 39% expect fresh fruit and vegetable prices to increase a lot.

A majority of all demographic groups expect energy prices to increase a lot – even 48% of Labor voters agree.

Those most likely to think fuel prices will increase a lot were women (57%), aged 45-54 (60%) and Liberal/National voters (68%).

Those most likely to think grocery prices will increase a lot were aged 45+ (50%), Liberal/National voters (55%) and those on incomes under $600pw (47%). Opinions about fresh fruit and vegetable prices were similar.

58% also think that unemployment will increase and 40% think interest rates will increase because of the carbon tax.

Likelihood of Repealing the Carbon Tax

Jun 25, 2012

Q. If they won the next election, how likely do you think it would be that Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party would repeal the carbon tax?

 

Total

Vote Labor

Vote Lib/Nat

Vote Greens

Total likely

44%

28%

64%

42%

Total unlikely

40%

62%

22%

41%

Very likely

17%

15%

24%

14%

Quite likely

27%

13%

40%

28%

Not very likely

24%

29%

18%

24%

Not at all likely

16%

33%

4%

17%

Don’t know

17%

11%

14%

17%

44% think it is likely that Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party would repeal the carbon tax if they won the next election and 40% think it is unlikely.

Views were broadly similar across demographic groups – although those aged 45-64 split 44% likely/44% unlikely.

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