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Support for carbon tax up

Alexandra Kirk reported this story on Monday, July 25, 2011 08:18:00

TONY EASTLEY: Another week, another opinion poll but this one is a bit different.

Newspoll, out today, shows a 6 per cent rise in support for Labor's carbon tax, though a majority,
53 per cent, remain opposed to it.

Support for Labor is also up slightly, but the Coalition still has a commanding lead.

From Canberra, here's Alexandra Kirk.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Today's Newspoll is the first major poll testing support for Julia Gillard's carbon
tax since the details were announced a fortnight ago. Backing for the Government's carbon price
plan has jumped 6 per cent to 36 per cent - 53 per cent though, remain against it.

Newspoll's Martin O'Shannessy says it's a significant shift.

MARTIN O'SHANNESSY: I think it is quite important for Labor. It is a signification if you like that
their position is not sliding south any further and that, if you like, arrest of the slide as it
seems to have occurred in the voting intention and satisfaction with Julia Gillard's performance as
well.

The thing that Labor will take most heart from is that the biggest doubters are males, up 11 per
cent and young people in the 18 to 34 age group who I think were sort of dissatisfied for the other
reason that it wasn't going far enough, up 13 per cent have driven this 6 per cent climb.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: He puts the change down to a positive response to the Government's advertising
campaign.

Labor's vote has lifted slightly, but the Coalition's still 12 points ahead.

Tony Abbott's dismissed the poll saying as he campaigns around the country, the more people learn
about the carbon tax, the less they like it.

TONY ABBOTT: I think today's Newspoll basically indicates that things are pretty much as they were.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: But Tony Abbott's leapt on a report in the Financial Review newspaper that Julia
Gillard, when she was deputy prime minister, proposed seeking a "bipartisan solution" with Mr
Abbott on achieving a 5 per cent cut to emissions without a carbon tax or emissions trading scheme.

The paper she wrote was reportedly rejected by her senior colleagues including Kevin Rudd, Wayne
Swan, Lindsay Tanner and Penny Wong.

TONY ABBOTT: What that shows is that the Prime Minister's attacks on our policy aren't genuine,
that the current Government policy is basically the result of a deal with the Greens not of any
deep conviction and that when the Prime Minister says this is what she believes in, no one can take
her seriously because the nearest we get to real Julia when it comes to climate change policy is
the note that she gave to the inner cabinet just before she became Prime Minister herself where she
said that what the Government should do is embrace the kind of policy that the Coalition has got
because that was more than capable of getting the 5 per cent emissions reduction target that both
sides agree on.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: But if it's true, wouldn't it also suggest she was interested in trying to get a
bipartisan agreement and avoid this knockdown, drag out fight.

TONY ABBOTT: And yet, that's not what she did once she became Prime Minister.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Isn't it more about a political strategy rather than a belief though in a carbon
tax or an emissions trading scheme?

TONY ABBOTT: I don't think that is right. If there is any such thing as the real Julia, Alex,
surely the real Julia was that which was in her advice to the inner cabinet, the one group of
people that surely you could be yourself to would be your closest political colleagues and the
advice that she gave to her closest political colleagues just before she herself became the Prime
Minister was that the Government should pursue policies that the Coalition could support because
these were good policies that would actually achieve the 5 per cent emissions reduction targets by
2020.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Did you ever discuss with Julia Gillard the idea of coming to some sort of
bipartisan agreement?

TONY ABBOTT: Well, she never raised it with me but she always knew what our policies were because
our policies are always out there and on the record. It demonstrates that her attacks on the
Coalition's policy aren't credible and it demonstrates that the policy of the Government is
currently adopting is Bob Brown's policy - not Julia Gillard's policy.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Prime Minister's office says they don't comment on Cabinet processes. A
spokesman says the sad truth is that Mr Abbott doesn't care about climate change and has never
actually put forward a plan which would cut emissions by 5 per cent.

TONY EASTLEY: Alexandra Kirk reporting.