The Opposition Leader took his anti-carbon tax crusade from the nation's mine sites and agricultural markets to the heart of Brisbane city in front of a 100-strong crowd at a forum organised by The Courier-Mail and Sky News.
Ramming home his message that the government had an "honesty problem", Mr Abbott told Brisbane voters the carbon tax was counterproductive and unnecessary. "If the package is as good as the Prime Minister is telling us, it really should have gone to a vote," he said. But while Mr Abbott tried to sell his $3.2bn direct-action plan to voters, he was repeatedly questioned over his stance on renewable energy funding and claims the coal industry would be harmed.
IT consultant Adam Champion, 29, challenged Mr Abbott on which experts he would listen to, after he "bagged climate scientists and bagged economists". Mr Abbott said he listened to the public. "I don't accept this line that the people are incapable of making an intelligent and informed judgment," he said.
But Mr Abbott also faced questioning over the details of how he would be able to rescind the carbon tax under his government with a hostile Senate. Engineer Ben Vitale, 28, asked why he, as a family man who had served his country overseas, he was paying more in tax than an "18-year-old on welfare"I have a lot of sympathy for that question," Mr Abbott said, arguing the tax was "anti-inspirational".
Mr Abbott said his direct-action policy would bring about the five per cent cut in emissions without "a big hit on the budget as well". "The whole argument here is not about doing nothing as opposed to doing something, it is about doing one thing instead of another thing," he said.
Mr Abbott's presentation today followed a similar forum with Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Brisbane last night, where she was questioned about her integrity following her pre-election declaration there would be no carbon tax under her government.
On day five of his anti-carbon tax tour, Mr Abbott visited an agricultural transport company in Gatton, 90km west of Brisbane, to outline his plan against the "toxic tax". "I will be campaigning every single day between now and the next election, whenever it is, against this carbon tax," he said.
"This is a tax which isn't fair, it won't do anything to reduce global emissions and you can't trust this government to be straight with the Australian people."
Author | Source | Rosanne Barrett | The Australian | Courier Mail |July 14 th 2011