Carbon Action : The Battle LineS

by Bob Carr

Labor supporters around the nation will be relieved and the government now has focus. If they are going to be defeated they will go now with a plan, attempting to do the right thing. Better than being flung out for standing for nothing.

Prime Minister Gillard has not sounded stronger in her Prime Ministership than she did announcing the package, explaining its price impact at less than one percent ( less than the GST ) and invoking Treasury modeling to bolster her case, pitching her case to families and defining a clean energy future as where she wants to take the country.

The Green Party supports the package instead of caviling about it. That immediately resolves one question that, from the start of the year, has generated doubt. Any part of the carbon lobby that does less well out of this than out of the 2009 CPRS should reflect that they weren't so smart after all to lobby against the Rudd package. The chances were that the Labor government was going to get another term and that they would be dependent on the Green Party in the Senate. Hence there was a strong chance the next carbon package would be somewhat more rigorous.

Australian politics remodulates at this point.

Abbott runs the risk of sounding like a fear merchant. Labor can present itself as standing in the tradition of Labor economic reform. Gillard even builds her case for more workforce participation into this package. Suddenly the government stands for something and, if it sells its case with a bit of verve, can regain some momentum if not an immediate recovery in the polls.