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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Carbon Tax Protests

Outside Julia Gillard's electorate office in Werribee on Saturday, 400 protesters gathered with Victorian Liberal Senators to protest against the federal government's plan to put a price on carbon. Meanwhile 8,000 people gathered at Treasury Place in Melbourne's CBD to support it, the result of a well organized campaign by GetUp.

And this is how they did it:

This weekend, we're coming together to fight for clean energy and a price on pollution. You can join us here.

The price on pollution fear campaign has become so absurd that talkback radio hosts are claiming that a price on pollution means the end of our economy and life as we know it. Now, these same radio hosts have joined with climate deniers and far-right politicians to organise anti-climate action rallies. The first rally is this Saturday in Melbourne - and we must make sure that on the other side of town, our movement comes together to express support for clean energy, climate action and a price on pollution.

Paul Mackay, a spokesman for GetUp and an organiser of the pro-tax rally, said supporters for the carbon price plan had won the battle. "We were overwhelmed with the amount of people that came out - the entirety of Treasury Place was packed," he said. "It certainly eclipsed that of the anti-carbon tax rally".

The coalition has committed to taking its current climate change policy to the federal election in 2014. Opposition climate spokesman Greg Hunt says the so-called "direct action" policy of the coalition, which would pay polluters not to pollute, will stay in place. The Gillard government wants a fixed price on carbon from July 1, 2012.

But Tony Abbott must be doing a good job of frightening people to death because Labor had its poorest showing ever in the polls last week. Australian Workers Union secretary Paul Howes is not worried, he said putting a price on carbon was necessary and the poor Newspoll giving Labor just 30 per cent of the primary vote was no reason to panic. Labor frontbencher Mark Arbib, another powerful figure in the NSW Right, said that with 2 1/2 years until the next election, the polls were irrelevant.

Oh really? We'll have to wait and see.