No disrespect to the member for Morton for this post, we love his work
Question time after question time the Liberal Party gets up and says “largest carbon tax in the world”. Those of us who pay attention to politics throw our hands up in exasperation – it’s not a tax, and even if it was, it’s not the largest in the world.
So during the Clean Energy Bill reading in Parliament last night, Graham Perrett, the ALP member for Moreton, referred to the Carbon Price as a “tax”.
I sent a polite tweet, please! stop calling it a tax.
When people hear the word “tax” they stop listening. They have heard Tony Abbott run around like a headless chicken for months shrieking “great big new tax” – people believe it will be more terrifying than the GST. They think they will pay it directly, in large amounts on everything they buy.
However, this is not the case, but it is the reason why Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and the conservative Chicken Littles keep saying “tax, tax”, to make the public afraid.
I got this tweet back.
Mr Perrett is correct, it makes no difference to How it works, the effect will be the same. It makes a whole lot of difference in How it is perceived.
This is why the name the politicians call it, whether pricing or tax is so important.
What things are called can make a lot of difference to how it is perceived by people whose only contact with politics is the headlines in the Murdoch media.
If it was called a ‘pricing mechanism’ no one would know what that was, it wouldn’t worry them. Call it a ‘tax’ and they know exactly what that is.
And as Mr Perrett later tweeted:
@turnleft2013 And CT cost a very long way shy of the price\cost of Abbott’s Direct Action Sham.
True, but while the ALP are defending themselves from the “Julia Lied” and “words biggest carbon tax”, they aren’t making the case that Tony Abbott’s plan will reward polluters, provide no incentive to change behaviour and will be much more costly…. Oh and that is CP – Carbon Price
When the Liberals are screaming at every available camera “Juliar lied about no carbon tax” and then ALP members call it a tax, it reinforces the believe that this government is untrustworthy.
The ads for the next election will run “Which party do you trust?”.
It is not a tax, but if they don’t slap down the media and the LNP who say it is, the feeling that the government lied to people won’t leave them. They will feel betrayed. And feelings are more important than facts for some voters. It is an emotional response.
One more thing: Prime Minister Gillard never lied. The day before the election The Australian ran a story titled “Julia Gillard’s carbon price promise” which opened with “JULIA Gillard says she is prepared to legislate a carbon price in the next term.” (see: Gillard promised, Gillard delivered, Gillard vilified in Murdoch media).