Wednesday 13 July 2011

Supporters and opponents of the carbon tax plan are passionately speaking out

Emotions are boiling over as the carbon tax debate unfolds, with Julia Gillard accosted by a vocal opponent to her carbon tax plan in Brisbane.

The Prime Minister was confronted by a woman while campaigning in Brisbane, where she was she was challenged her over her broken "no-carbon tax" promise.

Tempers flared at Brisbane's Fairfield shopping centre as the Prime Minister tried to convince voters of the merits of her climate plan.

"Why did you lie to us and why are you continuing to lie?" one woman said. Gillard: "I can give you an answer right now if you'll let me. What I want to do is put a price on carbon pollution. The big polluters are going to pay. Woman: "I understand that. I'm not stupid."

Another woman, Ros Brown, carried a sign "Most incompetent government since Whitlam". She confronted Ms Gillard outside the local supermarket, yelling that she had no mandate to introduce the carbon tax.

It quickly degenerated into a slanging match, with other shoppers coming out to support the package. Gabrielle Sottile, who said she was from a fourth-generation Labor family, heard Ms Brown's shouts as she emerged from Coles, and started yelling back. "She does have a mandate, she has our mandate, she might not have yours," she said.

Meanwhile, a lone Greens supporter was verbally abused and followed today after speaking out at a community forum with Tony Abbott. Police stepped in at a forum of Liberal supporters in south-eastern Melbourne after a woman was jeered, booed and followed for two blocks by a man from the audience.

Vicky Kasidis was the sole voice of dissent at the forum in Frankston where 300 people turned up to hear Mr Abbott talk about the carbon tax. The meeting was dominated by retirees and small business owners who feared the tax would increase prices and hurt Australian industry. After saying she supported the tax and believed there wasn't much time to address climate change, Ms Kasidis declared she had voted for the Greens. She was heckled by audience members before Mr Abbott thanked her for her comments. "It's important in a democracy that all voices are heard," he said.

One man called her a "bloody tree-hugger" while another woman asked whether she had any scientific qualifications. As Ms Kasidis left the hall, she was followed by a man who repeatedly ignored requests to leave her alone, saying "it's a free country". The man later left with police. The carbon stoushes came as a new Galaxy Poll found 63 per cent of voters want an election before the carbon tax is introduced, while 68 per cent think they will be worse off under the tax.

Author | Source | Pia Akerman, Rosanne Barrett, Joe Kelly | The Australian | July 13th 2011 

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