Monday, July 11, 2011


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is disgusted by Julia's "carbon" tax


It's just a particularly destructive class-war tax with millions of above-average earners hit. That's a lot of votes to risk. And every price-rise henceforth will now be blamed on it! There will be opportunistic price-rises everywhere. Epic fail!

Five current articles below

Hardest hit by carbon tax is Australia's largest city

As Julia Gillard begins her campaign across western Sydney this morning to sell her plans for the new emissions trading scheme, the Prime Minister has told Australians petrol and agriculture will never be included in the cost of carbon tax.

"The only plan to add an additional piece to who pays for carbon pollution is to bring the heavy vehicles into the scheme," Ms Gillard said on Sunrise today. "There will be no carbon tax on petrol or agriculture ever."

Struggling Sydney families will bear the brunt of the tax, which will increase electricity bills by 10 per cent, gas by 9 per cent and the cost of food and groceries by almost $1 a week.

The government will embark on a $15 billion spending spree today to compensate low-income earners but almost 2 million households will still be out of pocket. "We are asking those families to do their bit to combat climate change," the Prime Minister said.

"Overwhelmingly Australians believe in climate change...and overwhelmingly they want the government to act. "Putting a price on carbon is the cheapest way of cutting pollution and that's why we have designed the scheme the way we have."

Despite the increases, families have been promised they will "forever" be safe from paying more for petrol because of the new tax.

Eight million Australian households will receive cash assistance under a carbon tax - but middle-income Sydney families will bear the burden. Ms Gillard admitted yesterday about 700,000 households would receive no compensation or tax cuts to cover an average $10-a-week rise in the cost of living.

It came as the Prime Minister announced an ambitious new target to reduce Australia's carbon emissions to 80 per cent below 2000 levels by 2050.

The major reform to the marginal tax rates will be to cover an estimated 10 per cent price rise in electricity bills, a 9 per cent rise in gas, and food and grocery rises of less than $1 a week as a result of a $23 charge for every tonne of carbon produced by the country's top 500 polluters. Airfares will also rise, with the aviation fuel excise to be increased.

The overall compensation package will end up costing more than the revenue from the tax for the first four years.

There are clear winners. Amid a complex arrangement of changes to the tax and family payment systems, a new clean energy supplement will provide pensioners with a 1.7 per cent rise, or $338 a year extra.

And $1.5 billion in payments will be made before the tax even kicks in on July 1 next year. Families who qualify for Family Tax Benefit Part A will receive an extra $110 per child. About 280,000 self-funded retirees who are Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card holders will get the same amount of help as age pensioners.

The tax changes will come by tripling the tax-free threshold from $6000 a year to $18,200 a year [Itself a long overdue reform], which will mean almost four million low-income earners come out in front with the addition of a 20 per cent buffer payment over and above the tax rises.

But the sting comes for almost two million households which will end up out of pocket, being only partially compensated for a 0.7 per cent increase in the cost of living - or receiving no assistance at all.

The compensation package will leave a double-income family in Sydney with two children earning $120,000 of combined income $400 a year out of pocket after tax cuts due to cost of living rises of about $700 a year.

Dual-income $150,000 families with two kids will be $506 worse off under a carbon regime. A single-income family on $65,000 a year with a child under five will also end up worse off.

"We have made choices based on who needs assistance the most. Tax cuts and assistance have been pitched at families earning less than $150,000," Ms Gillard said. "What that means is there is no money tree ... there is no endeavour to try and pretend that everybody will be better off or everybody is in the same position.

"There are some Australians who are not getting tax cuts and family assistance sufficient to compensate them for the likely impact of carbon pricing on them. "We have structured it deliberately so we are assisting lower-income families and middle-income families ... putting assistance where it is needed the most."

The carbon tax will begin at $23 a tonne from July 1, rising to around $25 a tonne by 2015 when the tax converts to an emissions trading scheme (ETS). The government admitted the price could hit $50 a tonne under an ETS, depending on world prices.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said the environmental benefit would see more than 50 million tonnes of carbon cut by 2020 - the equivalent of taking 45 million cars off the road.

To achieve its long-term goals, the government will have to buy 100 tonnes of carbon abatements from Europe to meet its targets.

About 500 businesses will be forced to pay for their pollution, from which more than half of the revenue raised will be spent helping Australian households.

The government said it would also negotiate the closure of some of Australia's worst polluting electricity generators before 2020 and replace them with cleaner energy.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said millions of Australians would be worse off under the tax: "You have to ask yourself, what is the point of all of this? It will drive up prices, threaten jobs and do nothing for the environment."


Carbon tax: Heat rises as voters reject Julia Gillard's plan

Online polls are not very reliable but it's a straw in the wind -- JR

ANGRY Australians have vowed to vote Julia Gillard from office at the next election after yesterday's controversial carbon tax announcement.

Scores of voters rejected the plan soon after details of the $24.5 billion package to tackle climate change were revealed, with more than 80 per cent who voted in a national News Limited online poll saying Australia shouldn't have a carbon tax.

Almost 100,000 people voted across four polls in the national plebiscite by 5pm yesterday, with 87.1 per cent saying they planned to change their vote at the next election in light of the tax.

More than 70 per cent of voters, or 15,866 people, said they now planned to vote for the Coalition at the next election while just 8.51 per cent said they would support a Labor government. Just 13 per cent of voters said they wouldn't change their vote at the next election.

Despite government claims that 90 per cent of Australians would receive compensation, and that 40 per cent of households would be overcompensated, voters said Julia Gillard had signed her fate at the polls. "They're calling it 'Carbon Sunday' but I like to refer to today as 'Suicide Sunday' for a PM and three independents," one reader wrote.

"I cannot wait until the next election. The Labor Party the Greens and the Independants will answer to the Australian people for what they are inflicting upon us. Revenge is a dish best served cold," wrote another.

Eighty per cent of voters described the tax as "disgraceful" while others said it was "inadequate". Just eight per cent of voters said they were confident it wouldn't affect their hip pocket.

An anti-carbon tax group said its website crashed after being overwhelmed with people trying to sign up to a campaign rejecting the tax. The organisers of the site,, said the site crashed because of the "sheer numbers of people signing up."


Tony Abbott slams 'veiled socialism'

TONY Abbott has accused Julia Gillard of using her carbon tax plan as a cover for a redistribution of wealth, savaging the new policy as "socialism masquerading as environmentalism".

The Opposition Leader also insisted the package would cost jobs, demanding the Prime Minister visit factory floors and mines to face workers whose jobs he said she had put at risk.

"We're against this," Mr Abbott said. "This is a bad tax. It can't be fixed. It has to be fought."

In the four months since Ms Gillard announced her plan to price carbon, Mr Abbott has travelled the nation, visiting factories, petrol stations and shops to warn of the tax's impacts on the cost of living and its risk to jobs.

The government yesterday produced Treasury modelling pointing only to "modest" impacts and Ms Gillard prepared a national tour to promote her plans. Mr Abbott said he stood by his previous statements and planned to intensify his own campaign.

"I am extremely confident in the statements that I have been making over the last four months," Mr Abbott said. "This is a bad tax based on a lie."

Mr Abbott said Ms Gillard's announcement of the tax was laced with "pollie speak" used to hide the fact it would drive up consumer prices and threaten jobs, with little effect on the environment.

Noting that "no other country on the face of the earth" had an economy-wide carbon tax, Mr Abbott said 10 per cent of households would get no compensation, while 60 per cent would be worse off or "line ball". "This is a redistribution pretending to be compensation, it's a tax increase pretending to be an environmental policy," he said. "It's socialism masquerading as environmentalism."

Mr Abbott's challenge in opposing the tax, to be implemented from July 1 next year, will be its link to tax reform through the lifting of tax-free thresholds.

Asked whether he would be prepared to dismantle such changes, Mr Abbott repeated earlier assurances that the Coalition would take a tax cuts package to the next election, due in 2013.

He refused to outline his plans but vowed they would be made public "well before" the next election and the Coalition would offer "tax cuts without a carbon tax".

Mr Abbott said he was also worried the government proposed to spend $3 billion buying carbon abatement from overseas, where, he said, carbon schemes were often rorted.

And he said that when asked about job losses yesterday, Ms Gillard had "dodged the question". "I think that's because she knows the answers are bad answers," he said.

"I really hope the Prime Minister will go to motor manufacturing plants, to steel plants, to coalmines, to aluminium works, to cement factories because these are the places where jobs will be in jeopardy as a result of this," he said.

Opposition Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said the tax would lead to the creation of six new bureaucracies and 22 individual programs.


You are paying a high price for a government con

Andrew Bolt

JULIA Gillard's carbon dioxide tax is the most brazen fraud to be perpetrated by an Australian government. Warming believers should be outraged that the tax is so useless. Sceptics should be outraged it's so pointless.

It offends the intelligence of everyone and threatens the jobs of thousands. For nothing.

The Prime Minister yesterday claimed "the science is in" and man's gases were heating the planet dangerously. But not even Gillard dares to claim the tax she's finally unveiled will stop any of that warming, or change the climate in any way. Never has she said by what amount her tax would change the temperature - because it won't. It can't.

Even the Greens' deputy leader, Christine Milne, admits this $23-a-tonne price on carbon dioxide emissions "will not be high enough to drive the transition to renewable (energy)".

No wonder. From sheer gutlessness, the Government has exempted many of the worst "polluters". There's no tax on petrol, no tax on farmers and their gassy animals, and huge handouts to keep some of our coal mines, smelters and power stations going.

And, of course, the tax is just half what global warming adviser Professor Ross Garnaut said was needed, and less than a third of what the Greens wanted. So what's the point of it?

If you really think man's emissions are heating the world catastrophically, you should be outraged - unless you're hoping the sneaky Government is just softening us up for the full whammy, after the election. But even then our sacrifice would achieve nothing, because there is no way anything Australia does can change the climate.

Yesterday Professor Richard Lindzen, arguably the world's finest climate scientist and dubbed "credible" even by professional alarmist Tim Flannery, scoffed at Gillard's tax.

"There's no disagreement in the scientific community that this will have no impact on climate," said Lindzen, professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a former lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "It would be nothing for practical purposes and it would be nothing if the whole world did the same."

Of course, the rest of the world is not doing the same. Not a single other nation has a national carbon dioxide tax, so either we're smarter than every other country ... or Gillard is dumber than every other leader. You choose.

Oh, and Prof Lindzen also added that since 1995 there had been no global warming that could be distinguished from natural variability. The theory man's gases are heating the world dangerously is falling to bits.

The idea a whole economy is being deliberately slowed down for an utterly useless gesture seems so unimaginable, a folly perhaps, explains why few analysts even dare to ask if this tax will do a single thing for the planet.


Jobs in coalfields threatened by carbon tax

DESPITE all the rhetoric about saving the barrier reef and protecting the environment for our heirs, the future for at least 500 coalminers in the NSW Hunter Valley may look bleaker now than it did before Julia Gillard announced her carbon tax.

At the Drayton mine near picturesque Muswellbrook, plans are in place to move all staff and equipment to a new project, Drayton South, when the existing mine closes in 2015.

But predictions by the mine's owner, global giant Anglo American, that a carbon tax would cut Drayton South's value in half have thrown the project into doubt.

General manager of the Drayton mine, Clarence Robertson, said he feared for his employees' jobs as well as his own. "We are planning to invest $500 million in Drayton South, and the value of that project will be halved if this carbon tax goes through," he said. "The project would employ 500 people, so all those jobs are at risk."

Mr Robertson said the biggest obstacle was "fugitive emissions", which Anglo American claimed would account for 75 per cent of the revenues raised from the coal industry under the carbon tax, or $13 billion over the next nine years. Fugitive emissions are leaks from pressurised industrial equipment while mining.

"We've got no way at the moment to capture and reduce emissions from open-cut mining," Mr Robertson said. "So if the tax comes in it's really just going to be a cost to us, and we can't do anything to curb that." Mr Robertson said Anglo American expected to pay more than $2 billion in carbon tax in the coming decade.

One of Mr Robertson's employees, dragline supervisor Rod Vaughan, fears the effect of losing mining investment on the local community -- even if households receive compensation for the rising cost of living associated with the carbon tax. "It would definitely have a huge impact on my family and on a lot of families in the district," he said. "We all rely on mining, even the guys that aren't directly working in the mines." Half of Mr Vaughan's friends worked in the mines, he said.

Mr Robertson fears the tax will hurt Australia's competitiveness. "If you look at companies in Mozambique, Indonesia and Colombia, we are not going to be competitive with them if this carbon tax comes in," he said.

Federal MP for the Hunter region, Labor's Joel Fitzgibbon, argues the coal industry's own modelling shows it will continue to grow and Drayton South has yet to receive planning approval.

"Given current and projected high coal prices and the strength of the investment pipeline, there can be no doubt there will be plenty of work for Hunter miners after the planned closure of Drayton, with or without Drayton South," he said.

Mr Fitzgibbon claims the majority of his constituents want action on climate change and that the proposed level of assistance to the mining industry is sufficient.

Asked about his concerns on climate change, Mr Robertson replied: "do we need to do better? Sure. But to just say we've got to pay this tax that nobody else has got to pay is not going to work."


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