Well July 1 has dawned and of course the sky has not fallen in with beginning of Gillard’s Carbon tax regime but rather than marking the beginning of something good for Labor what it really means is that Labor have jumped into the political waters with a huge weight around their necks and while they may furiously paddle their arms, legs and mouths defending this new tax regime I am absolutely certain that that weight is going to drag them down sooner rather than later.
I am reminded of the way that Liberal supporters tried to defend the greatly unloved “Workchoices” they put up a valiant defence and even though some of the ideas of that scheme had merit it had enough downsides for it to never get the unequivocal endorsement of the public. In the end despite being an otherwise competent government it was Workchoices that did for John Howard’s government. With The Carbon tax Labor have created their own electoral suicide pill.
Of course there are some aspects of the mish-mash of changes that Labor have disingenuously rolled into the Carbon tax bills, like raising the tax free threshold which is something long overdue but I don’t think that they will be sweetening the political cyanide enough to save this country’s oldest political party from oblivion at the next election. As I see it after their resounding defeat at the next election it won’t be homosexuality that will be “the love that dare not speak its name” it will be any mention of the Carbon tax. The few Labor members that remain will all insist that they always had reservations or that they only ever supported it because they had to in the name of party solidarity. Some will blame the Greens and the new leader of the opposition may even insist that it is “dead buried and cremated“.
Like the Howard government did with Workchoices Labor have over reached here with this tax especially in the light of the “there will be no Carbon Tax under a government that I lead” lie form Gillard prior to the last election. The sad thing is it was an entirely unnecessary back-flip because had she insisted when seeking the support of the Greens and independents that a Carbon tax needed the mandate of the people at the next election then she would have started off in a far better place.
Ah well, she is now reaping what was sown and we will see a flurry of hype from both sides of politics either denouncing or defending the Carbon tax. The true believers on both sides have already made up their minds and they will switch off to some extent but the swinging voters who hold the nation’s future in their hands are going to be convinced that the Carbon tax is evil every time they see prices rise, even if those rises are due to something else. which is precisely why Labor will be the losers in the long run