Families can’t afford Labor
This week I have been travelling through regional South Australia. It is a vast land where transit from one destination to another can require many hours of driving.
It is part of my second ‘200 town tour’ in which I commit to visiting at least 200 South Australian regional communities between elections. It is amazing how much one can learn simply by talking to the locals, be it in the front bar of the pub or just calling in on small business owners.
Having travelled from Mt Gambier in the south east through to Ceduna in the west, there are so many differences in landscape, lifestyle and location yet there is a common thread that links it all together.
Whether talking to a farmer from Cowell who has had the best ever cropping season in over 50 years or the supermarket owner from Ceduna, the constant reference is the cost of living for the average family.
Families are doing it tough. Everything they need is going up in price while the things they want seem to be costing less.
The difference between the impact of the cost of wants and needs on the family budget are evident to everyone; all, that is, except members of the government.
Gillard and Co. continue to boast about ‘inflation’ as being within the Reserve Bank’s target band. Officially it is running at around 2.5 per cent. Unofficially, the cost of living increase is running much higher than that.
Electricity and utility prices are rising rapidly and are expected to do so for the foreseeable future. Food costs are sky-rocketing with meat, fruit and vegetables all jumping in price.
Rents and mortgage rates are rising which only adds to the budget burden on many families.
These are all things that Australian families cannot do without – food, shelter and electricity. Yet these are the very things that Labor’s new tax on carbon dioxide will impact most directly.
The bovine waste artists within Labor’s ranks maintain that because the new demand on your cash isn’t being taken directly by the government from your pay packet, what they are proposing isn’t really a tax.
If you believe that then I have an excellent bridge over Sydney Harbour to sell you.
Frankly, the dishonestly named ‘price on carbon’ is a tax that will lift the cost of everything in the country. Anything that relies on electricity or transport or any manufacturing process will cost more to produce. Only the naïve or stupid would think that producers won’t pass on these costs to consumers.
That means, despite the words of Swan, Combet, Gillard and Wong, everything is going to cost more for you and me.
After all, changing behaviour through price rises is exactly what Julia Gillard wants to engineer. The trifling matter, acknowledged by her former Climate Change (now Finance) Minister Penny Wong, that a tax won’t cut carbon dioxide emissions seems to have little bearing on the justification to introduce this tax on everything.
Given her track record of ‘engineering’ government-led solutions over the past few years, we all know that the end result will not be in the taxpayers’ interests.
We also know that this new tax won’t be in the nation’s interest as it will place an additional burden on domestic industry and pressure future jobs growth.
As it won’t make any difference to the climate and will not make a jot of difference to global temperatures, we can all be forgiven for asking ‘why the heck is she doing this’?
The only logical answer is that this massive new tax is the price of being in government with the Green fundamentalists.
Unfortunately for us all, as the cost of Julia Gillard retaining power, it is a cost she is more than willing for us to pay.
Cory Bernardi is a South Australian Liberal senator. His columns and essays are available at his website.