Tony Abbott was on Radio National Breakfast this morning, and I was interested to hear him say that "the whole point" of carbon pricing was to hurt the coal, oil and smelting industries and this was clearly a bad thing. Fran Kelly responded to the effect: well, your own policy is to match the same CO2 reduction targets, and that's going to also be achieved by closing down dirty power and going with more clean energy, what's the difference?
Abbott's response I could paraphrase as "well, it just is."
I suppose he could have argued that his program has a greater emphasis on carbon sequestration, with their (largely unproven to be useful on a large enough scale) "bio char" idea, but he's not sharp enough to think to say that.
He also again promised to (if I recall correctly) keep pension increases intended to compensate for additional costs from the carbon tax even though he removes the tax. This will be funded by other budget cutting.
He's the man who can achieve everything, it seems.
To even up the ledger, I have to say that Gillard appeared over-rehearsed and lecturing in her answers on Insiders yesterday. All politicians do this a lot of the time, but it seems to hurt Gillard disproportionately.
As I have noted several times before, this is a weird period in Australian politics. The people who most want to punish Gillard and Labor also don't want Abbott to live up to his promises and hope that he is insincere in his professed belief that something should be done re greenhouse gases. They are currently prepared to forgive his inconsistencies and policies that seem to come out of no where (like his overly generous parental leave plan.)
The carbon pricing is going to hurt Labor for quite a while yet, but there is simply nothing to be done about that. Media reporting always has "tax" in the title, and it's new. This just guarantees introductory unpopularity. (It was a mistake for Gillard to give in so easily and just say "you can call it a tax if you want.")