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Archive for March 2011

If you really want to stop the carbon tax, then get political

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A word of advice for the movement against the Australian Government’s proposed carbon tax: get involved in the system and work with the Federal Opposition on a realistic, credible alternative.

I have no doubt that there is a huge well of discontent about this tax simmering just below the surface of Australia’s suburbs – and waiting to be tapped.

The way I see it, the tax and follow-up emissions trading scheme mainly appeals to the young who are yet to gather wealth, the old who have a decreasing need for wealth, Federal public servants, and extreme environmentalists.

The bulk of the community – with a lot more to lose by a sudden rise in the cost of living – should be easily angered by the proposed measures.

However, the range of groups and organisations currently organising protest should be aware that, by opposing the Federal administration, they are now playing in the big league — and much different tactics are needed.

Have no doubt that the Gillard Federal Government,  its public service, trade unions,and so called climate change advisers form a potent political force that thinks long term, knows how to run amateur rivals ragged,  and is focused only on the main prize.  For these people, there is no need to sell the idea of a carbon tax now, or even in coming months.  Their deadline is the next Federal election in 2013 – and the current anti-tax huffing and puffing, rallies, social media activities etc will not worry them much.

In fact, by announcing a proposed policy when only the bare bones were in place, the Government was probably aiming to draw out the opposition early. A ‘people’s revolt’ that peters out in a few weeks or months would be easy pickings.

The various opponents of a carbon tax need to concentrate all activities on a political level and pace themselves for a drawn out strategic campaign with the clear aim of forcing changes to the policy.  To really win, they will need to become a  bare knuckles, community-based political movement, focusing on the Federal Opposition, which is the key to success.

Blocks of votes can be delivered to Opposition candidates, in return for a credible alternative policy on climate change that does not affect the cost of living in such a severe way.  There is still plenty of time for the Opposition to hold its own public forums and fine tune its current dubious stance.  While community anger will play a role, in reality the carbon tax policy will be beaten only from within the system of government – and by a plan that people understand and support. While the Government is  tilting at so called  ‘climate change deniers’ in our midst, the Federal Opposition can be working away legitimately on policy changes.

Opponents of the tax need to help bring together the Federal Coalition,  business and community groups, conservative state governments and benefactors. The West Australian Treasury has already done a lot of work researching the  economic impact of a carbon tax on families, while the NSW and Victorian governments, for example, can help promote unemployment forecasts in their heavy industry zones.

It’s also obvious that such a campaign must zero in on the Federal Government’s glaring weakness: it’s lack of a majority in the House of Representatives.

Two of the Independent members who currently hold the balance of power — Rob Oakshott and Tony Windsor – must be decidedly nervous after results in their respective areas at the recent NSW election.  Opponents of the carbon tax need a specific Oakshott and Windsor strategy, which winds up the heat on these two as this campaign is unrolled.

And finally, money needs to be raised to finance an advertising campaign, because that is exactly what the Government has on the shelf – courtesy of existing taxes.

Forget today’s polls. To  eventually defeat the raw policy behind this carbon tax, opponents will need to do a lot more than going for a bus ride to Canberra.  They will need to get down in the gutter,play ball with the politicians and force policy changes —– over 15 rounds, not just three or four.

Written by ianandsue

March 30, 2011 at 1:19 am

Posted in Uncategorized