“We are doing an RRP (recommended retail price) review at present which is projected to be in line with CPI (Consumer Price Index), but take the opportunity to make some moves in June and July. Let the carbon tax take the blame, after all, your costs will be going up due to it.”

Busted. Brumby’s managing director Deane Priest is likely to face the wrath of the competition watchdog for his letter to franchisees — first reported by The West Australian overnight, and later obtained by our friends at SmartCompany — exposing how some businesses are using the carbon price to swindle a public already deeply sceptical about the tax.

But they’re not the first. Crikey has unearthed a Tasmanian legal firm increasing its hourly rates because of the carbon tax (despite the fact the state is hydro-powered), insurance giant AAMI telling customers that premium rises are due partly to the carbon tax (and withdrawing that statement when challenged), and Gold Coast iPad accessory firm CaseBuddy offering a discount for the code word “JULIAR”.

Social media abounds with tales of pools levying a 20 cent “carbon dioxide tax”, coffee prices up by 30 cents, claims of laundry bills rising significantly and widespread confusion around what electricity retailers are doing with their prices.

The carbon tax will push up prices in some sectors — that’s what it’s supposed to do. But using the tax as a front for price gouging and profiteering does the public no favours and should be exposed for what it is.

Opponents of the carbon tax have made a great deal out of accusing Julia Gillard of lying in bringing in the tax when she had promised, pre-election, that she wouldn’t. Hiking prices and blaming the carbon tax for it — well, that sounds like lying to us.

Peter Fray

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