The government's carbon tax now looks like a dead duck. Union bosses were running around like headless chooks yesterday when they discovered something they hadn't taken into consideration - their members don't want a bar of it. They are saying what's the point of compensation if you lose your job.
One of the most powerful men in Australia, AWU boss Paul Howes had no alternative but to tell the Prime Minister that his union will withdraw its support for the carbon tax if just "one job" is lost as a result.
But Opposition Climate Change spokesman Greg Hunt said that Julia Gillard can't possibly guarantee it. "Today, the Prime Minister must make the guarantee that Paul Howes demanded, that not one job will be lost because of the carbon tax, to India, to China or toIndonesia," he said. "But she can't make that guarantee because that's the reality."
After a crisis meeting the AWU decided it wants thesteelindustry and some others to be excluded from the tax. Understandably, Bob Brown isn't happy, he's described Mr Howes as "silly and economically illiterate" and says he should realise there will be a big impact on jobs if no action is taken on climate change. But Paul Howes said "Come to Newcastle and see former members of ours who lost their jobs when the steelworks shut who are yet to receive a single day of employment since." Yes Mr Howes, we remember it well. Tony Abbott said “I can give them a guarantee that a carbon tax won’t cost a single job because under the Coalition, there won’t be a carbon tax.”
So it looks like the carbon tax is dying a slow agonizing death. How could the Labor Party be so short-sighted as to suddenly declare a carbon tax without first finding out what we thought about it, and equally as important, what union members thought about it. It would have saved a lot of embarrassment all round.