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The carbon tax campaign -

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LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: As I mentioned at the start of the show, politicians are on a bit of a
travelling roadshow to spruik their carbon tax messages.

Joining me now from Parliament House in Canberra is political editor Chris Uhlmann.

Chris, it all looks and feels a bit like an election campaign?

CHRIS UHLMANN, POLITICAL EDITOR: Yeah, looks like a campaign, smells like a campaign; that's
because it is a campaign, Leigh. In one sense it's all part of the permanent poll we've been stuck
in since the last election didn't deliver a clear result - like a long, horrid carbon-polluted
Groundhog Day. But now there's an added urgency because the future of both the Prime Minister and
the Opposition Leader genuinely hangs on who wins this carbon tax fight.

So the first thing to watch at start of any campaign is where the leaders go because it gives you
the best sense of where they're pitching their message. The Prime Minister went straight to
Sydney's outer-west to be seen with a family. And she's essentially selling tax cuts with an
environmental glow. To win this argument, the Government has to convince voters that the carbon tax
won't hurt.

And Tony Abbott, well, he went to visit Labor's heartland to visit blue collar workers in a Hunter
Valley coal mine. And that's because he is convinced that those workers feel abandoned by Labor and
they're in the process of permanently shifting their allegiance to the Coalition, Leigh.

LEIGH SALES: So the leaders are expending all this energy getting out and about, but are people
listening?

CHRIS UHLMANN: Yeah, and that's the question that keeps Labor insiders awake at night. Remember,
Labor's primary vote's lodged in the death zone of 30 per cent. To turn that around, the public has
to be tuned in to the Prime Minister and convinced by what she has to say. If they're listening,
then she's got plenty to work with in the package she announced yesterday and heaps of time in
which to change her government's fortunes. But if voters have switched off, if they have decided
that her government is incapable of delivering anything, then nothing she says will make any
difference. And no matter what they say, every minister will be watching the polls like hawks for
an indication of how the sales pitch is going. Newspoll's out tomorrow, but it was taken before the
detail of this carbon package was known. It's just a baseline. So what matters now is where Julia
Gillard stands in the weeks and months ahead.

LEIGH SALES: Chris Uhlmann, thankyou.