Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Poll Shows Carbon Tax Needs Sale of the Century to Change Voters' Views
The latest Herald/Nielsen poll shows support for a price on carbon at 36 per cent, with 60 per cent opposed.
Just over half of voters - 52 per cent - believe they will be worse off, even though low- and middle-income earners will get $15 billion compensation to cover cost-of-living increases.
Another 39 per cent believe it will make no difference to their cost of living, while 5 per cent feel they will be better off.
The poll of 1400 voters was taken from Thursday night to Saturday night last week, after Labor's crushing defeat in the Queensland election.
The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, sought to implicate Julia Gillard's broken promise not to introduce a carbon tax as a factor in that defeat.
The numbers in the latest poll have barely changed in more than a year. Before Ms Gillard announced the carbon policy in February last year, the poll found support for putting a price on carbon evenly split. After the announcement - and opposition claims she had broken her promise - support fell to 35 per cent and opposition rose to 56 per cent. The levels have altered little since.
In July, the government revealed details of the household compensation, which will be worth $15 billion in the first four years. It would be paid as tax cuts and welfare and pension increases. In many cases, those on very low incomes would receive more in compensation than their increase in cost of living as estimated by Treasury.
The Herald poll taken then showed 53 per cent felt they would be worse off, 37 per cent felt there would be no change and 6 per cent felt they would be better off. These numbers are almost identical to the latest poll.
Ms Gillard has rejected calls from business to reduce the impact of the carbon price by cutting the fixed starting price of $23 a tonne roughly in half, to bring it in line with the carbon price in Europe.
Yesterday, she said voter anxiety with her government had been fuelled by the Coalition's ''hyper-partisanship''. She said it had ''force-fed for many months a diet of completely outlandish scare campaigns about what carbon pricing is going to mean''.
She repeated that employment would still grow, the cost-of-living impact would be less than 1 per cent and the compensation would be in place.
Mr Abbott has promised that, if elected, his first act as prime minister would be to unwind the price on carbon. Ms Gillard told Channel Ten's Meet the Press program this ''chest-beating'' would ''prove to be incredibly hollow''.
By next year, the carbon price would be a year old, the economy would have started to adjust and ''people would have got the money in their hands''.
''Mr Abbott, I think, will find it very difficult indeed to pretend to the Australian people that he is going to seriously dismantle all that,'' she said.