Barnaby: Tax Burns Gillard’s Credibility

16 Jul

Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times (my emphasis added):

Are you sick of it yet? It’s only just started. The carbon tax legislation has not even been introduced.

Why does it have so much resonance? Why has it managed to do something that so many issues don’t manage to do? That is, that cherished political attribute where the vast majority have an opinion on it and are not afraid to express it. They either love it or they hate it.

Politics at times can be a peculiar art form. As I have said it’s thixotropic. You believe something is solid until it is shaken up and dissipates through your hands leaving the policy gel to drip between your fingers. It has The Bad Touch, as the Bloodhound Gang would say, yes it’s getting two thumbs up.

Here is the crux of the issue: if only one of the expected supporters in the lower house changes their vote, the carbon tax doesn’t get up, the battleship will be sunk.

The Labor Party spent years telling me how to vote on issues when they thought my vote would be crucial and to be fair I crossed the floor 28 times. I know for an absolute fact, having just returned from the Hunter Valley, that there are at least three Labor members there who are not representing the views of their constituents.

Sharon Grierson in Newcastle, Joel Fitzgibbon in Hunter, and Greg Combet in Charlton are in seats that do not want a carbon tax. It is not sort of ”don’t want it”, we are talking ”red-hot rejection”.

So if they are people of honour, who put their electorate first and foremost, who are strong enough to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and take arms against a sea of troubles, they should stop this tax. The torture of Hamlet I have been there, ably counselled by Labor Party promoters and their agents. Sometimes they were dead right. If I was in a coal seat, knowing that a policy had been co-written by a person who has said quite adamantly the coal industry should be closed down, and I was elected on a promise not to introduce a carbon tax, I think the only honourable thing would be to oppose a carbon tax.

This same policy is also just going to put up the price of power on top of the 50 per cent that electricity prices have increased in the past three years. The end result of this is that the temperature of the globe doesn’t change, our domestic emissions go up, according to the Treasury modelling, and we send more than $3billion a year overseas to buy carbon credits abroad.

It is tough to cross the floor against your party but why else are you in politics but to represent the views of your electorate? Take it from me, you get used to having dinner on your own and your mates in Canberra will get over it eventually.

See it is not just Julia Gillard that has failed to tell the truth on this one, it is everyone who was the benefactor of that promise given. Every Labor member that was elected at the last election did so on a platform against a carbon tax. It is quite obviously a major promise that they should honour and do everything in their power to honour that promise in how they act.

When you don’t honour your promises it doesn’t just make a fool of you, and the Prime Minister in this case, it makes a fool of everybody because the people in your electorate know that what you say is meaningless.

In Canberra, Andrew Leigh, Gai Brodtmann and Senator Lundy all won their seats with a policy commitment that they would not introduce a carbon tax. Not one of them said I am putting a caveat on that because I might introduce a carbon tax. Each one of them is as responsible for their actions as Gillard.

What is the purpose of listening to an election speech if it is completely and utterly without honour? How are you going to hold the other side to account when you let your own side deceive? You don’t have to believe in the philosophy of the commitment but you should believe in the principle that a person should honour the key commitments they make when they are endorsed by the electorate. That is the essence of what a democracy is about.

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