Carbon Reds under the bed

I was going to write a serious, thoughtful piece on the carbon price/emissions trading scheme details announced by (among others) Prime Minister Julia Gillard yesterday. It would have been a close examination of the exact price impact on your ‘average’ family earning $150,000 a year. I’d done the research, crunched the numbers, done some comparison shopping to determine just which expensive brand of toilet paper would need to be sacrificed in favour of something cheaper – nay, even ‘on special’. I even worked out how many energy-efficient light bulbs would need to be turned off for a couple of hours every day, so that these poor ‘forgotten families’ wouldn’t suffer the outrageous price slug of $9.73 per week.

Oh, it would have been a glorious piece of analysis. But then I heard this from Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, and my train of thought derailed entirely:

‘The carbon tax has become just another vehicle for redistributing wealth. It’s a form of Socialism masquerading as environmentalism.’

Wait … what??

So let me get this straight, Mr. Abbott. You’re saying that what’s really going on here is that the Labor government is planning to seize the means of production economy-wide, convert Australia from a capitalist ‘production-for-profit’ basis to a socialist ‘production-for-use’ basis, and run the country as a planned economy – all by taxing carbon-dioxide emissions on the biggest polluters, encouraging the development of renewable energy, and cushioning the impact on vulnerable sectors of society?

You’re saying that the government doesn’t really want to mitigate dangerous climate change – it just wants to effect a coup against the democratic process and install itself as our new Socialist overlords? That it went through all these months of research and planning, taking hits in the polls, undergoing nearly endless criticism, in order to lull us all into a false sense of security so that we won’t suspect until it’s too late? That a price on carbon dioxide emissions is, in fact, the ‘Red under the bed’?

Mr. Abbott, have you been listening to old speeches by Robert Menzies again?

But … what if he’s right?? Even now, there could be cells of committed Socialists arming themselves right next door. Come July 1, 2012, we might find ourselves at the mercy of … of … no, I can’t bring myself to say it. Who will save us? Who will institute our House un-Australian Activities Committee? It’s all too horrible.

It’s also utterly absurd. And there’s more than a whiff of desperation about it. I mean, really. Socialism-by-stealth?

Of course, this is no more or less than the sentiment that lies behind every conservative politician’s cry that taxing the wealthy more than the poor is somehow ‘unfair’. These wealthy people worked hard for their money, how dare the government take that away from them? Why, we should give them money, just to make sure that they can stay wealthy. Yes, let’s fund their private schools far above the money allocated to public schools. Let’s give them tax break after tax break. Oh, and let’s make sure we scream loudly about the destruction of Life As We Know It any time someone suggests that social equity is more important to a functioning, sustainable society than runaway profit and economic Darwinism.

It’s just that Abbott has come out from behind his rhetorical smokescreen this time. He isn’t bothering with weasel words or half-truths. And that may be his biggest mistake. Where people might listen to something that sounds plausible, resorting to ‘The Socialists are coming, hide the women and the silver!’ just sounds … well, it sound ridiculous. The Gillard government is about as far from Socialism as it’s possible to get and still remain vaguely progressive. It’s certainly a far cry from Ben Chifley’s enthusiastic embrace of planned economy principles.

But wouldn’t it be good if we could know for sure? If we could somehow travel forward in time to July next year and see what will happen?

* * * * *

July 2, 2012

Dear Diary,

Day 2 of our oppression under the Socialist Carbon Tax Overlords. Sky not fallen. No blood in the streets. Neighbours not digging underground bunker and loading in assault weapons and food. Politicians still waffling. Media still pontificating. Washing needs to go out on the line. Cat needs feeding. Lights still on.

Huh. Looks a lot like Day 1.


15 Responses to Carbon Reds under the bed

  1. JJ says:

    Hey there,

    Apologies if I’ve posted this already, however it’s a little hard to keep track of blogs when I’m contacting so many. I couldn’t seem to find an email link so I thought I’d post a comment here.

    I run the Daily Wire (an Australian political discussion forum & blog site –, and have recently put together a site to help fight against the tide of misinformation and obfuscation in our nation’s media surrounding climate change and the government’s plans to put a price on carbon. The site supports the government’s plans, and can be found here –

    I’m wondering if you’d be willing to link to this site in your blogroll and perhaps refer to it in your latest post? I’m, of course, happy to post a reciprocal link in the site’s blogroll.

    I plan to contact as many blog owners as I can and ask them to do the same. With what I know about search engine optimisation, there isn’t much competition out there on carbon tax related keywords. If enough blogs link to the site, I’m certain it can climb very high in the Google rankings. The internet presents one major way we can bypass our short-sighted media.

    If you do feel like linking, the best anchor text to use in the link is “Carbon Tax”, although you may find that not descriptive enough, in which case “Carbon Tax Facts” or “Carbon Tax Australia” would be good too. By anchor text, I mean the text that the html link tags are wrapped around, or the “name” of the site in your blogroll if you’re using wordpress.

    I realise that the phrase “carbon tax” is contentious, and actually clarify the difference between a carbon tax and the government’s plans on the site. However, as most people refer to it as the carbon tax, it’s useful from a search engine perspective to target those keywords.

    If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the site, I’m all ears.


    • I’m certainly happy to put your site on the blogroll, along with the government’s official site. It’ll be good to have something that comes from an independent source.

      If you would include mine on your blogroll, that would be lovely, thank you.

  2. DaveMcRae says:


    I thought Joe Hockey’s Sovereign Risk was a beautie as well πŸ™‚

  3. Excellent, excellent stuff. Thank you, I needed this laugh – my hackles were rising to painful levels.

  4. David Fawcett says:

    *laughs* Nice one.

    I have to say this is pretty close to my analysis, in fact I suggested that Abbott is actually at risk of losing credibility with his base if he ramps up this sort of nonsense and he’ll have to at this point.

    The socialists are coming argument stems from this sort of nonsense:

  5. Terry Cominos says:

    Sounds much like a briefing with a certain English Lord has paid dividends. Abbotts comments on stunts, hypocrisy. Joyces comments on international Carbon Offset Certificates, hypocrisy (as he roles his eyes over the lunacy of it all). Like anyone should seriously listen to the opinions of a patron at the St George pub over those of Treasury and the Productivity Commission over economic issues.

    Sadly the oppositions tactics is to give the impression Australia is in disarray. Parliament is noisy and dysfunctional, the government can’t get anything right and the nation is spiraling into a deep dark hole.

    Very sad and the electorate is buying it……

  6. Brett Dalton says:

    @J I was also particularly amused at Abbott bleating about it not being fair that the coallition couldn’t have a press conference at the SAME TIME as Gillard and that they had to have equal time…. this is not a debate or an election campaign regardless of Abbotts insistance there should be an election.

    With the changes in the senate he’s now hamstrung even IF he wins the next election and all this noise is the negativity of a castrated opposition who still believes they should have won the last election.

    ….. and I still maintain that their Direct action plan isn’t a plan at all in the same way the NBN alternative wasn’t. Askin business nicely isn’t going to work for either.

  7. Krista Rados says:

    I really just want to cry. It IS absolute absurd, however I’ve seen many Australians taking up this catch cry already. It pains me to read comment after comment after comment on news sites calling the “Labor/Greens” government commies, hippies, socialist destroyers, you name it. I’m getting tired and extremely disheartened with the attitudes of our fellow Australians…

  8. Columbina Silk says:

    Hear hear mother dearest. πŸ™‚ can you believe the sparrow boy was turning off the news this morning? :P. He’s sick of it.

    I did some looking into what the carbon tax is really going to produce…well, what is there that doesn’t include carbon? Not much at all. It’s a constant problem that is well…only going to get bigger. Me thinks Abbott needs to rethink his strategy just a little….or try reading what you get your lackies to write up for you or DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH!

    Sorry, just needed to get that out πŸ˜› labeling the Labor party as the ‘red under the bed’ is completely ridiculous. And only used to incite a public panic which we really don’t need right now πŸ˜€

  9. I take your point, but I was particularly concentrating on national, rather than state policies regarding school funding. πŸ™‚

    Abbott’s entire strategy all along has been ‘do as I say, not as I do’. Every tactic he’s employed is, as far as he’s concerned, entirely justified – but if the government want to try the same thing, they should be pilloried. Pure hypocrisy.

  10. j says:

    One point you are incorrect on: private schools get less than public schools when you add federal and state funding together. Just saying. But other than that, I’m with you.

    Could not believe Abbott had the gaul to say the PM should not tour the country holding setup media stops to explain the Carbon Pricing Scheme. Hello? That must not have been Abbott I’ve seen for the past six months, visiting anyone that would say yes to his request to visit their busiiness with cameras so he can slice up a fish/close a roller door/shovel into a cement mixer/wear silly headwear and fluoro vests/etc/etc/etc, all the while making stupid puns to put down the govt, sometimes repeating the line to make sure the cameras captured the moment.

    The guy’s a looney.

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