PM rejects suggestion of leadership trouble

PM rejects suggestion of leadership trouble

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard dismissed suggestion that the bad result in The Age/Nielsen poll, with only 33 per cent supporting the carbon price and the government trailing 42-58 per cent in the two-party vote, would put more pressure on her leadership.

”I’m not … going to engage in all of that,” she said, as she and her ministers blitzed the airwaves.

Ms Gillard once again insisted she had not intended to mislead people when she promised before the election there would be no carbon tax, and she maintained the Coalition would not try to repeal the tax if it won the election.

Interviewed by John Laws on Sydney radio, Ms Gillard was pressed on why she called it a ”price” rather than a tax.

”Call it a carbon price, call it a carbon tax, at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter”, she said. The government, meanwhile, continued with its attacks on Tony Abbott, with Trade Minister Craig Emerson performing a ditty about the ”Whyalla Wipeout”, based on the Opposition Leader’s claim about the effect of the tax on that town.

Ms Gillard said that with all the doom the opposition had spread about for months, it was appropriate for the government to say ”look the doomsayers were wrong”. Mr Abbott visited the Liberal Party faithful in Geelong yesterday, warning the carbon tax was ”anti-Victoria”.

”Victoria is great because of manufacturing on the back of the La Trobe Valley power stations,” he told the crowd. ”They are all going to go if Labor has its way.”

Mr Abbott said he was a ”profoundly committed conservationist … but there are smart ways and dumb ways to protect the environment.”

He was endorsing the party’s candidate for the marginal seat of Corangamite, former ABC journalist Sarah Henderson, admitting: ”I’m not normally an enthusiast for ABC journalists.”

Ms Henderson said 40 per cent of the local workforce was employed by manufacturing, including 14,000 workers employed by heavy industry such as Alcoa and Shell.

A protester in a chicken costume called out to Mr Abbott, wishing him a good day ”under the sky that hasn’t fallen”.

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