Anti Carbon Tax protest in the CBD today from Hyde Park to Central.THE Gillard government has its back against the wall as it implements the carbon price, with the latest poll showing Labor deeply unpopular and support for its policy at its lowest level since it was announced.
The latest Herald/Nielsen poll, taken after last week’s bruising but fruitless asylum seeker debate, also shows nine in 10 voters want the parties to compromise to find a policy solution and more voters blame the government than the opposition and the Greens for the deadlock.
As Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott launched de facto election campaigns yesterday to mark the introduction of the carbon tax, the poll found support for the policy had fallen 4 percentage points in a month to 33 per cent, the lowest level since it was announced 15 months ago.
Opposition to the policy rose 3 points to 62 per cent, the highest in 15 months. Despite the billions of dollars in compensation being handed out, about half of voters felt they would be worse off.
The poll of 1400 voters, taken from Thursday night to Saturday night, shows the Coalition would win handsomely if an election were held now, on a two-party-preferred basis by 58 per cent to 42 per cent.
This represents an eight-point swing since the August 2010 election, enough to reduce the ALP to a parliamentary rump.
Labor’s primary vote rose 2 points to a still-lowly 28 per cent while the Coalition was steady on 48 per cent.
Both Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott remain personally unpopular.
Ms Gillard’s approval rating was relatively steady at 35 per cent and her disapproval rating steady at 60 per cent. Mr Abbott’s approval rating was steady at 39 per cent and his disapproval fell 2 points to 55 per cent.
He has nudged ahead of Ms Gillard as preferred prime minister with his rating steady at 46 per cent while hers fell 2 points to 42 per cent.
Ms Gillard and her ministers were busy yesterday mocking the scare campaign the opposition has created over the carbon tax, hoping that over time the polls will begin to shift.
”If the opposition continues making wild and reckless claims, and I expect that they will, I think people will judge whether they’ve been upfront and credible over the more than 12 months since we announced the details of carbon pricing,” Ms Gillard said.
”I believe in the months to come Australians will look back and realise this was the right decision for our environment, the right decision for our economy, the right decision for the future.”
The Liberal Party launched election-campaign style television commercials pointing out Ms Gillard’s broken election promise about not introducing a carbon tax and warning of price rises.
”Australia, this campaign is now on,” Mr Abbott said.
”What do you think of prime ministers who tell lies before elections?”
An Australian Industry Group survey found 42 per cent of manufacturing, services and construction businesses planned to increase prices straight away.
The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, went to the same supermarket on both Saturday and Sunday and bought the same basket of goods.
”Shock, horror – no price rise at all! Check out the receipts. Cost $36.30 yesterday, $36.10 today,” he tweeted.
Low- and middle-income earners will be compensated for the cost-of-living impact, forecast by Treasury to be less than 1 per cent. But the poll found 51 per cent felt they would be worse off, 37 per cent felt there would be no difference and 5 per cent felt they would be better off.
The Climate Change Minster, Greg Combet, said the government would ”tweak” the carbon tax if necessary but he did not envisage major teething problems.
The opposition climate spokesman, Greg Hunt, said voters had the opportunity to put the policy to the sword for a long time by changing the government. ”The next election gives the Australian people a chance to decide, for what I believe will be the next 20 years, as to Australia’s approach [to reducing emissions],” he said.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.