The weird world of carbon tax

MARK PARTON says the carbon tax won’t win the election for Julia Gillard

SO, the carbon tax has arrived. The sky hasn’t fallen in. It’s my understanding that Whyalla is open for business, miners are still mining and manufacturers haven’t moved off shore.

On the flipside, in this first week, we haven’t seen a reduction in carbon emissions and the global temperature hasn’t moved up or down. The Government admits that despite the carbon tax, emissions will continue to go up for the next 15 years.

We will feel the negative effects of the carbon tax before too long and, as I’ve stated in these pages before, we’ll feel them more in Canberra. We know that electricity will rise in price by around 17 per cent. What we don’t know for sure and certain is how much extra we’ll pay for goods and services. Government modelling is suggesting that we’ll see an increase to the CPI of as little of 0.7 per cent. I don’t believe that figure for a moment. Do you?

How about the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s message that you can increase prices as much as you want, so long as you don’t say it’s because of the carbon tax?

The ACCC has made it very clear that it will not tolerate businesses blaming the carbon tax for any price rises. But the ACCC isn’t protecting consumers here, it’s protecting the Government against bad headlines.

The reality for so many businesses is they’re not certain how much the carbon tax and associated price rises will affect their bottom line. They’re aware that supply costs and operating costs are going to increase, but they’re not able to be honest about why their prices are increasing, for fear of big fines.

The carbon tax won’t win the election for Julia Gillard. Tony Abbott will be Prime Minister at some stage next year. I think the big question is, will Abbott be able to dismantle this beast a year down the track, with a hostile Senate. It’s certainly more likely than Australia being able to effect climate change, but it’ll still be a very difficult task.

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