Labor is warning small businesses against displaying the Coalition's anti-carbon tax posters, saying they risk million-dollar fines if the information is found to be misleading.The Coalition has sent the fliers to bakeries, butchers, dry cleaners and fruit shops just days before the carbon tax is due to take effect.
The tactic is a further sign that both sides of politics are preparing to ramp up their campaigning efforts surrounding the tax.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott told a meeting of Coalition MPs that he and other senior party figures would be campaigning "across the country", warning people the tax would push up the cost of living and threaten jobs.
Labor is also preparing a coordinated campaign this weekend to reassure the community about the effects of the tax.
Special Minister of State Gary Gray plans to visit the South Australian city of Whyalla on Sunday - a community Mr Abbott said would be "wiped off the map" because of the carbon pricing scheme.
Earlier today, Mr Abbott visited an RSPCA compound in Canberra to point out that "thousands" of charities would be worse off under the tax despite Government reassurances.
The head of the RSPCA in the ACT, Michael Linke, estimates the cost of the carbon tax will be somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000 per year for the local organisation.
"At this stage we're not expecting job losses here in Canberra," Mr Linke told reporters at Mr Abbott's media conference.
"There is absolutely no way that I'm going to compromise animal welfare, so we are going to have to shave costs in other areas."
The Government says more than $300 million is available to councils, community groups and charities to help offset the costs of the carbon tax.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard used Question Time to ridicule Mr Abbott's visit to the animal welfare charity.
"I can assure the Leader of the Opposition (that) on July 1, cats will still purr, dogs will still bark and the Australian economy will continue to get stronger," Ms Gillard told Parliament.
"Presumably tomorrow he will be out trying to scare Skippy the bush kangaroo, and the day after he'll be out trying to scare Puff the Magic Dragon, and so it will go on."
PostersAnd Labor is also warning businesses to be "very, very careful" about being part of Mr Abbott's campaign by displaying posters in their shop fronts.
"Don't allow him to drag you into his cynical scare campaign because the consequences of that are very serious," Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury told Parliament.
"If you do mislead your customers, then you could face fines of up to $1.1 million."
But the Coalition has rejected suggestions their small business posters are misleading.
"The fliers do nothing more than explain the Government own modelling and policy," Opposition small business spokesman Bruce Billson said.
"This is just another example of the Gillard Government trying to intimidate small business to not pass on or talk about the impact of the carbon tax."
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has set up a hotline for members of the public to make complaints about misleading carbon tax claims.