Prime Minister Julia Gillard did not lie about a Carbon Tax
So many of Julia Gillard’s problems stem from her supposed lie regarding the carbon tax. The thinking goes like this: Gillard stated during the 2010 election campaign that ‘there will be no carbon tax under a Government I lead.’ Then she got into power and implemented a carbon tax. Gillard is, therefore, a liar. A Ju-liar.
The problem with this, however, is that it’s illogical. Let me walk you through this.
(1) What Gillard has implemented isn’t a carbon tax. It’s an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) with a fixed price. Even if you consider the ‘fixed price’ portion of the scheme to be a ‘carbon tax’ (and fair call, I guess. The difference between a ‘fixed price’ and a ‘carbon tax’ is subtle) it is only for three years. Then we transition into an ETS in 2015. So, ultimately Australia will not have a carbon tax/fixed price. It will have an ETS. So, not really worth the fuss.
If that doesn’t convince you, move on to (2).
(2) Even if it is a ‘carbon tax,’ a hung parliament meant Gillard had to compromise to form government. This means, she couldn’t do everything she intended to, because she needed to win the support of the Greens/Independents. And this ‘no carbon tax’ stance was one of the intended things that had to be compromised to get support of the Greens. This isn’t an abomination. This is the nature of our government system when the election results demand a minority government. You’ve got to make compromises and sacrifices. Simply put, hung parliaments require some promises to be broken.
If that doesn’t convince you, move on to (3).
(3) A lot of Gillard’s critics wished she had lied about climate change policy. During her election campaign, Gillard promised she would act on climate change. So the only question left was how she’d do this, and she chose a carbon tax (she didn’t - see above - but let’s just say she did). Is the reason for her critics’ outrage really that she chose a carbon tax as her designated way to fight climate change? Did they really have their heart set on some other mechanism, like an ETS (which, again, is what we’re getting) or a big push into renewable energy? Really? This is doubtful. A lot of her critics are those that either deny that climate change exists, deny that it is man-made and/or deny that we should do anything substantial to stop it. They’re not angry because Gillard has introduced a carbon tax as her government’s way of fighting climate change. They’re angry that she’s fighting it at all. Simply put, they’re not upset she lied, they’re upset she didn’t.
And if THAT doesn’t convince you, well. Maybe there is something separate from the issue of climate change that is fueling your hostility for the Prime Minister. Maybe you are feeling a genuine sense of betrayal over how she underhandedly rose to power in 2010 by ousting Rudd, and so are letting that taint your view on everything Gillard has done subsequently as a betrayal of some kind, whether it deserves that characterisation or not. Or maybe you hate women. I don’t know, but whatever it is, don’t let it get in the way of assessing what could be a perfectly good policy on its merits.