Opposition must strengthen its carbon tax argument

THE government has spent some time in the past two days riding off the back of a new public opinion poll which shows a majority of people believe the carbon tax has had no impact on their lives.

The controversial tax, implemented on July 1, had been billed as causing all manner of disruptions to the lives of everyday Australians.

Clearly, that has not been the case.

The latest Nielsen poll found  that public opinion towards the price on carbon has continued to soften, four months since its introduction. 

The poll of 1400 voters, taken from Thursday night to Saturday night, found that 56 per cent say the carbon tax and its associated compensation makes no difference to them. 

Yet the survey concludes that the carbon tax remains unpopular.

It found that 56 per cent oppose a price on carbon, which is down from 59 per cent two months ago and 62 per cent in June, just before its introduction. It also found that 39 per cent support the policy, a two-point increase in two months but a six-point increase since June.

These figures seem to show that the arrow is heading in the right direction from the government’s point of view.

But that hasn’t stopped the federal opposition from continuing to attack the policy, which leader Tony Abbott says he will repeal if elected.

Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce claimed on Sunday that the carbon price would drive the cost of the Sunday roast over $100, adding that the cost to abattoirs of a single cow or sheep would be $575,000.

Such claims, which are not being reflected in society, only weaken the Coalition’s position in the carbon tax debate. The tax remains a distinguishing policy platform between the two major parties and will undoubtedly continue to dominate debate in the lead-up to next year’s election.

What the Coalition needs to find now is the proof on which the basis of its argument is based. As this week’s poll shows, unless it can come up with this information soon, it may lose the battle for public support.

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