Cate Blanchett’s decision to star in an ad with Michael Caton supporting the proposed carbon tax won’t win her any friends. Her suggestion that a price on carbon is the correct thing to do for Australia will fall on deaf ears as struggling families try to cope with increased power bills and the soaring cost of living. The millionaire superstar may well be able to pay her electricity bills at her Hunters Hill mansion, but there are many who are doing it tough.
The government’s proposed tax is so unpopular that celebrity-backed ads will start on tv tonight urging us to “Say Yes” to a price on carbon. The ad campaign will cost around one million dollars and Green groups including Greenpeace are paying for it. The ad asks us to say ‘yes’ to creating jobs in green technologies but it doesn’t mention the jobs that will be lost if the tax goes through. Power generators and exporters such as steel-makers, miners and liquefied natural gas producers have all admitted there would be job losses if they aren’t awarded major compensation to cushion the blow. And back in April, Union boss Paul Howes warned the government that if one job was lost, they would withdraw their support.
This weekend, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet, Greens deputy Christine Milne and independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott have been locked in two-day talks to finalise a carbon price and nut out industry and household compensation.
A rumour is flying around Canberra that Greg Combet had been telling people in private meetings that Liberal Malcolm Turnbull will cross the floor to support the government’s carbon tax. Malcolm lost his job as Opposition leader last year because he took Labor’s side in the global warming debate. Mr Combet said he had definitely not been “spruiking” Mr Turnbull’s intentions and said his views on climate change are well known. “He’s made it clear that he respects the science, he’s also made it clear he thinks carbon should be priced, but I’m not in any position to suggest what he may or may not do.” Surely Malcolm won’t try to rock the boat again, if he does decide to cross the floor on this important issue, perhaps he should stay there permanently.