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My carbon tax better than Rudd’s

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says the carbon tax will pass parliament and is more ambitious and better than her predecessor’s scheme.

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Ms Gillard told a community forum in Brisbane on Wednesday night the package was better than Kevin Rudd’s carbon pollution reduction scheme (CPRS).

“I think this is an improved package,” Ms Gillard said.

“It’s a very different package in parts. Ultimately the CPRS was a policy that wasn’t going to become law … it would have been subject to a double dissolution.

“I have presented a package that will go through parliament.”

She said it was better than the CPRS in many respects.

“It has a more ambitious clean energy plan,” Ms Gillard said.

“It has a different household assistance package … It’s different in structure. I think it’s a better scheme.”

WORK TO DO

But Ms Gillard had a tough time convincing the 100-plus people gathered – ranging from young professionals to retirees – that it was a worthwhile scheme.

Several reminded Ms Gillard of her broken promise to not introduce a carbon tax during a question and answer session.

A 30-year-old university worker who introduced herself as Eliza bluntly told the PM she did not trust her.

She said the carbon tax would hit her hard as a young professional who had just bought her first house.

“I have seen you backflip on so many things; the termination of Kevin Rudd,” she said.

“You backflipped on the carbon tax, you want to send asylum seekers to Malaysia. How can anyone trust you with this record, because I don’t think I can.”

Ms Gillard responded by painting a picture of being a woman of values who made decisions in the best interest of the nation.

ABBOTT’S TOUGH DAY

Earlier in the day, Ms Gillard was called a liar by another woman at a Brisbane shop.

Tony Abbott’s anti-carbon tax campaign has not been any smoother.

The opposition leader started Wednesday morning with his family at the fish markets in the Greens-held seat of Melbourne, as the first poll taken after the release of the government’s climate package on Sunday showed almost two-thirds of respondents want a fresh election.

The Galaxy poll also showed 68 per cent of respondents believe the carbon tax will leave them worse off, while 80 per cent said the package would have no impact on the environment and two-thirds of voters said it would be economically bad.

But at a community forum later in the Labor seat of Isaacs, Mr Abbott was confronted by a Greens voter who argued that the government’s plan would pump more money into renewable energy and cutting emissions than the coalition’s “direct action” policy.

Mr Abbott continued his theme of the carbon tax pushing up the cost of living and exporting jobs to Australia’s trade competitors.

And he seized on the opinion poll to repeat his call for an early election to test Labor’s mandate on the carbon tax, which before the August 2010 election Ms Gillard had publicly ruled out.

“Every time prices go up, people will think carbon tax,” Mr Abbott said, forecasting public opinion over the next two years.

Meanwhile, Treasurer Wayne Swan and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission sounded a stern warning to businesses using the carbon tax as an excuse to increase prices unfairly.

The commission will use its powers under the new Australian Consumer Law to investigate claims of price gouging and prosecute any business, with the power to impose penalties of up to $1.1 million.

Mr Swan says the $23-a-tonne carbon price, due to operate from July 1, 2012, will have only a 0.7 per cent impact on the cost of living.

“The commission will keep a watchful eye out for any shonky attempts to jack up prices and falsely claim it is related to the carbon price,” he said in Melbourne.

A state-by-state breakdown of the biggest polluters – which will pay the full $23-a-tonne – shows 135 operate in NSW and the ACT, 110 in Queensland, 85 in Victoria, 75 in Western Australia, 25 in South Australia, 20 in Tasmania and five in the Northern Territory.

 

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