Take a Stance On: (AUSTRALIA’s) CARBON TAX

So I know I’m a dumbo but what is carbon tax exactly, other than a tax on carbon? Rightio, well it’s a tax of $23 per tonne of carbon pollution that goes into the atmosphere, payable by Australia’s top 500 polluters (so no, farty old Gramps won’t have to cough up on his trouser coughs). It is designed to hurl in energy use, change attitudes and reward clean energy use such as solar, gas and wind (again, probably not Gramps). It should bring in about $8 billion a year once it comes into effect in July 2012 – as long as the Greens and Independents support the tax and the legislation is passed.

Who will pay? It’ll be 0.02% of the 3 million businesses in our country and no, there is no actual list, and it’s actually not likely to be the biggest polluters because fuel is exempt from the scheme. Power generators such as Delta Electricity and Macqarie Generators are by far the biggest emitters, with up to 23 million tonne of direct emissions. Erk. This will have a flow on effect, so that goods and services of the Big 500 will increase in price so that Gramps, his family and all the rest of us will in fact end up copping it to some extent in some way.

Where will the money go? The Government promises (!) that the money will be used to compensate families, with welfare payments and to assist companies convert to cleaner practices.

Is it forever? No, it is scheduled to last until July 1 2015, when it will converted into an emissions trading scheme (ETS). An ETS is where the Government caps the total amount of carbon that can be emitted each year, so that businesses compete for permits and can trade permits within the cap. The price of permits can vary but the cap is fixed and can be lowered each year so that pollution is reduced year by year.

SO what do you think – is this whole carbon tax thing toxic or is it a breath of fresh air?

SHOVE IT JULIA – NO TO CARBON TAX

What global warming? It’s a myth, it’s another trend in normal climatic variations, it’s a conspiracy, the measurements are unreliable…

Politics: Julia Gillard said just over a year ago, “(weird nasal strine) there will be no carbon tax under any Government I lead”. So now there are calls to ‘ditch the lying bitch’ (which had Tony Abbott smarmily tut-tutting phoney disapproval).

The little man will pay: Carbon tax is a ‘regressive tax’, which means that the effects will cascade through the economy. According to Tony Abbott, “..every time you turn on a light you will pay under Labor’s carbon tax…”  Households (earning over $110,000 per year) face a $9.90 a week jump in the cost of living, or a 0.7 per cent increase. Electricity will go up $3.30 a week and gas $1.50. Three million families could be worse off.

Another bloody tax? Sheesh, when will it end?

Big Business will be driven to cut jobs: Just today, Bluescope Steel announced huge job cuts across the board, citing national economic changes. Critics claim the move  is in preparation for the Carbon Tax.

The Coal Industry will be buggered: Jobs will be forced offshore and mines will have to close. Total cost to the industry is projected to be $18 billion in the first nine years of the tax( Institute of Public Affairs).

If people are better off (as the Government claims), then what’s the point? Isn’t this supposed to be a penalty thing, not a freeway to upgraded facilities and get further access to welfare?

Domestic airfares will rise: While fuel is exempt from the scheme, aviation fuel will be hit with an excise tax as part of the scheme.

Australia isn’t even a big emitter: Australia represents just 1.5% of global greenhouse emissions so why isn’t carbon action just for the big ol’ acid rain, everyone wears breathing masks countries?

Tony Abbot has a better plan, a ‘Direct Action Plan’ no less.  He promises to reduce emissions by 5% by 2020 by paying industry to pollute less via an Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). The opposition states that, “It is envisaged that the Fund will invest an annual average of around $1.2 billion in direct CO2 emissions reduction activities through to 2020.” They also plan to invest in other, smaller scale green policies such as a solar panel and tree planting scheme.

BRING IT ON JULIA – YES TO CARBON TAX 

Pollution: Under the scheme, about 159 million tonnes of pollution will be cut from our atmosphere by 2020 – the equivalent of getting 45 million cars off the road.

Global Warming: It is real, it is happening, humans and their energy-consuming ways are the cause and something needs to be done NOW.

Politics: Julia Gillard admits to saying no to carbon tax a year ago but says that circumstances have changed given that she has had to negotiate with the Greens (with whom she shares power in this minority Government). She says there must be a price tag on pollution, that business and industry should not be allowed to pollute for free, and that Tony Abbott is scaremongering with his ‘cost of living-pressure on families’ line.

The Little Man will Benefit: The carbon tax derived tax cuts and increases in welfare and family benefits will deliver average compensation of $10.10 a week. The PM claims that, “single mums on $45,000 could be up to $1174 a year better off, and families earning $80,000 a year and with two children will be $9.83 a week better off.”

The tax-free income threshold will rise under the system overhaul, from $6,000 to $18,200

Big Business will be compensated and assisted with greening up: Including $9.2 billion worth of carbon permits to companies facing disadvantage when trading and competing with foreign, non-taxed business, as well as grants for and assistance with low-pollution technology and research and development.

The Coal industry will continue to grow over the next decade, after which the Government’s $1.3 billion package to protect and clean up the coal industry will kick in.

Australia has the highest emissions per capita, and the Government says Australia has much to lose from global warming so it should start to cut emissions early.

Tony Abbott is a climate change sceptic and full of crap: Tony Abbott has repeatedly hinted at his disbelief in climate change theories so why would he take seriously any measure to reduce carbon emissions? Expert analysis have found that his alternative Direct Action Plan will actually result in higher emissions – 7% higher than 2000 by 2020, and that his fuzzy figures don’t add up. And why has been so cagey with the finer details – is it because his plan will come at a coast to taxpayers and/or it is essentially ineffective in tackling pollution?

If it is scrapped now, uncertainty will ensue for (according to experts) at least another five years. This will result in more farting around doing nothing to reduce emissions, not to mention the cost of rolling back the tax scheme and coming up with something else.

I could go on, but those are the basic arguments. At the moment, the polls are showing that the majority of Australians fear a carbon tax, that they expect to be worse off and aren’t happy. Julia is losing her foothold.

MY OPINION? Glad you asked. To me it’s a no brainer. Do whatever it is that the current people in power are proposing to amend our shamelessly dirty ways. I mean God we need to do something so that our children and their children can have something left to play with other than a great big fucked up world. And it needs to be more than talking the arse out of it, turning off lights and washing out baked bean tins. So maybe a carbon tax isn’t the best way, but if it makes a difference and can be implemented ASAP then let’s just do it. Holy shit, I’d go back to horse and cart if it meant my childrens’ future was bright. And if I were to get wind of T.A. raising his smarmy eyebrows at global warming I’d take some Direct Action in the direction of that goolie package he likes showing off so much. Irresponsible idiot.

UPDATE, NEWS FLASH!! (Wed 12/10/11): 

An hour or so ago, Federal Parliament passed the Carbon Tax bills. Judging by the level of noise in the House of Reps, and the number of times the speaker had to shout “Order” in that annoying manner, it was not a landslide, but they did their division, bell ringing palavers and the Aye’s definitely had it. It has yet to go to the Senate but is surely a shoe in given the Green tinge up there. Tony Abbott is huffing about rolling the “Bad Tax” back if he gains power in the next election, but I reckon that’s a load of  “vote for me vote for me” gobshite. Shut up Tones, this is a win for the goodies.

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Categories: Opinions

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2 replies

  1. Another pearler Meg,

    I 100% agree with your sentiments… It is time we DID something other than talk. Aussies rule the world when it comes to emitting (per capita) so anyone that thinks we aren’t to blame or that we should wait on the rest of the world should stick their head in the sand… although I fear they will pull it out again and vote for Mr Goolie Package at the next election [gulp]. TA has a lot to answer for if he rolls us backward in that oh so scary world in which he is PM [shiver]. What we all have to remember is that paying a bit more for stuff is really only paying a bit closer to the true cost.

    Keep up the great work,
    Steve

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