While the carbon tax debate is about something that’s going to happen, Labor is in for a public opinion poll hiding. There was nothing in Sunday’s formal announcement of the plan for Australia to do its bit to combat global warming that is going to change attitudes. People are wary of change and they don’t trust politicians — especially politicians who have so recently lied to them and broken a promise not to introduce one.
So the more Julia Gillard goes around the country singing the praises of her big new tax that’s supposedly not going to hurt most people, the worse things will look for the government. Only when the proof actually is in the weekly bills and pay packets after July 1 next year is there a chance that the anger will dissipate. And even then the best Labor can hope for is is that the carbon tax and its associated changes will stop being a vote loser. There is nothing about it that is going to morph into a vote winner.
I can see no reason to change my prediction of Friday that “by the time the Parliament meets again in August there will be even more worried Labor members from marginal seats than there are now” and that “leadership speculation will be all the rage”.
For the Prime Minister it will be a mighty achievement to still be in office by this time next year.