Daily Israel Report

Liberal-Conservative Coalition Takes 20% Lead In Aussie Polls

Voter anger at the carbon tax imposed by the Gillard government has made Australian Labor a distinct underdog.
By Amiel Ungar
First Publish: 4/3/2012, 5:11 AM

I have it tougher
I have it tougher
Reuters

It is a government that has passed unpopular measures to please the environmentalists.

Its treasurer has launched an attack on "greedy and irresponsible" billionaires who have made windfall profits at the expense of the workers and small businesses and has proposed higher taxes.

Illegal immigration is also an issue between government and opposition, with the government accused of neglecting the issue.

This government is in deep political trouble and may be facing a wipeout in the national elections.

The previous sentences were an exercise in misdirection, because the government described is the Australian government and it is Prime Minister Julia Gillard who is currently reeling in the polls rather than Barack Obama. Gillard has told Obama that being a single atheist woman was a tougher act than being an Afro-American.

The Australian Labor Party has just been demolished in the state elections in Queensland and the major issue in the campaign was the unpopular carbon tax. Only 7 Labor representatives survived the rout. The outgoing state Premier Anna Bligh called it a "devastating defeat" and resigned her seat.

Ms. Gillard believes that the voters would get over the carbon tax, but the Queensland results demonstrated that the voters have not forgotten and the victorious Liberals made it the centerpiece of their campaign. The carbon tax is unpopular because Australia is coping with a rising cost of living. The voters also view the tax as a breach of faith on the part of Gillard.

She had convinced her predecessor Kevin Rudd to oppose the tax and after Rudd was ousted and she became Prime Minister, Gillard went to the country with the explicit pledge that there would be no carbon tax. However the election results transformed the Australian Greens into the kingmakers and the price of forming a coalition was the carbon tax.

Prime Minister Gillard now wants household electric bills to show exactly how much is being paid for the carbon tax in an effort to show Australians that the issue has been overblown. It may be too little too late. The Liberal conservative coalition has opened up a 20% lead over Labour that the clients to 14% when preference voting is factored in but this is still a huge gap and the momentum is with the opposition.