I’ve been impressed with Labour parties on both sides of the ditch lately. Here of course Phil Goff’s Labour party has had the guts to take on the major flaw in our tax system, stare down supposed “electoral suicide”, carry almost every credible economic commentator with him, and set out a bold, progressive and credible tax system. Bravo!
But across the ditch in Oz, Labor leader and PM Julia Gillard is fighting an even tougher battle on carbon pricing. It has been a bitter debate between those who can read the 40 foot high writing on the climate change wall, and the usual short-sighted and hysterical interest groups. In many ways it has echoed our own debate on the emissions trading scheme (or the capital gains tax, with allegations that a “Bonanza beckons for bankers, accountants, lawyers”).
Although Gillard has the numbers to get her scheme in to law, some think that Labor has lost the battle for public opinion on the issue – see “How the carbon tax turned into Gillard’s Gallipoli”. The tax is being blamed for anything that looks like a bad indicator, such as a current fall in consumer sales:
Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s carbon pricing sales pitch has been dealt a fresh blow after one of the country’s top retailers declared the policy was partly to blame for a dramatic collapse in consumer confidence.
David Jones says carbon tax fears among well-heeled shoppers have contributed to a record fall in sales which has forced it to slash its second half profit guidance.
As Gillard delivered a passionate speech defending her controversial policy, David Jones boss Paul Zahra declared he had “no doubt” the carbon tax debate was a factor in slowing sales.
Good on Gillard and Australian Labor for sticking to their guns in the face of an aggressive campaign and a lot of political pressure. Once again – bravo! The same article continued:
Asked how the media should cover the climate change debate, Gillard was blunt: “Don’t write crap. Can’t be that hard.”
I gotta say, Julia Gillard is growing on me.