As the D day for the carbon tax fast approaches with less than one week to its implementation, the debate between pro- and anti-carbon tax groups as well as strategies to back or oppose the measure are becoming more intense.
On Thursday, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said using a scare tactic, such as what the Opposition does, is a legitimate tool in a democracy. He said as a political tool, getting results from wielding the scare tactic depends on how the party argues its way out of the tactic.
He admitted that Labor used a scare campaign against the general sales tax (GST) of the Howard government but the tactic bombed because the party could not sustain it.
Labor is in the thick of battling the Oppositions scare tactics against the carbon tax, scheduled to be collected on July 1. In response to Mr Combet's admission that it is not wrong to use a scare tactic, Coalition environment spokesman Greg Hunt pointed out the difference between Labor's scare campaign against the GST and the Opposition's campaign against the $23 per tonne carbon price.
"The Howard government was honest with the community and explained in detail the policy before an election and took it to the people for a vote," The Age quoted Mr Hunt.
In defending the controversial measure, Mr Combet said imposing a carbon tax is the most efficient and effective method to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which is the reason behind the ongoing climate change, and to make Australian companies pay for their carbon releases. The $23 per tonne carbon price will provide them an incentive not to pollute the environment and tap green technology to cut their emissions or capture their GHG.
"We do, as a country and a people, have a responsibility to play a fair part in the international community to tackle climate change," The Herald Sun quoted Mr Combet.
Although less than 300 Aussie firms would be imposed the carbon tax, the measure is expected to boost prices of some goods and services. To offset this, the Gillard government started to send out payouts to Australian families, including school bonuses for families with children in primary and secondary schools.
Mr Hunt estimated that it the Coalition wins the 2013 election, it would take them six months to revoke the law that create the carbon tax if Labor would cooperate. However, if Labor would make it hard for the Opposition as it is now doing to the Gillard government, changing the law would take at least one year, Mr Hunt admitted.
Although the Coalition is against the carbon tax, Mr Hunt said it has measures in line to address the global climate change problem such as tapping the lowest-cost emission reduction methods through a competitive process by cleaning up waste coal-mine gas, landfill emissions and power stations, and purchase abatement from farmers and companies.
Not all Coalition members share Mr Abbott's abhorrence for the carbon tax. Former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull described the party's policies as a "recipe for fiscal recklessness" due to its reliance on government and not market forces to address the climate change problems of Australia.
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