Watching question time this week I noticed that Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan had taken to calling the Clean Energy Bill 2012 (cth) a “carbon price” instead of a “carbon tax.” Presumably this is because of Gillard’s 2010 promise that ‘there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead.’ Calling it a carbon price or better still a “fixed price cap and trade system” would have been a good idea when they first announced it but now it’s just too late.
The government has spent nearly twelve months allowing the word tax to be bandied about unchallenged, it is now a fixture of political discourse which they’ll just have to learn to live with. Referring incessantly to a carbon price when opposition members and interviewers are like are asking them about a tax won’t change people’s perception of the legislation. This new tactic is reminiscent of an old Lateline interview with Kevin Rudd whereby he feebly refused to admit the size of the government’s deficit (see below), it’s an ugly, transparent look and one that the government could do without.
Kevin Rudd wouldn’t specify the level of peak debt.
Be careful with those IR reforms Mr Abbott
With Fair Work Australia’s handling of the Craig Thompson affair being less than slightly popular, understandably Tony Abbott has felt inclined to give it a few whacks this week. I reckon that’s fair enough but he wants to be careful about how far he goes with it. Labor may have overplayed the Workchoices card at the previous election, but it doesn’t mean people are completely ambivalent about them. If Tony Abbott suggests too strongly that he’s going to rip up Fair Work Australia, he will inevitably find himself accused of trying to replace it with Workchoices.
and another thing…
Too many metaphors bro
Bill Shorten is one of Labor’s better media performers but his question time performance on Thursday was very weird. Channelling an orator somewhere between Peter Costello and Mario Savio, Shorten invoked the rhetoric of storm clouds, belling the cat, crawling out from under a rock and more in the short space of three minutes. There was also a lot of shouting, thumping the dispatch box and exaggerated hand gestures. On the whole it was a very awkward affair. I think he should look to a more contained orator for a role model.