Politicians battle for hearts and minds
THE battle for hearts and minds on the controversial carbon tax took on the feel of an election campaign on Monday.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard sat through no less than nine radio and TV interviews in between juggling her commitments with the arrival of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Darwin.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott did a media blitz of his own, visiting a manufacturing plant in Geelong as well as sitting through at least five radio interviews.
The frequency of the interviews may have increased, but the messages of both leaders had not altered.
Ms Gillard continued to spruik the suite of compensation payments available to low and middle-income earners in the form of increased welfare payments, tax cuts for people earning less than $80,000 and the tripling of the tax-free threshold to 1$18,200.
The Prime Minister also told Channel Seven's Sunrise she had "always believed putting a price on carbon was what we needed to do".
It was line Mr Abbott seized upon when he fronted reporters in Geelong.
"Why didn't she tell us that before the last election? If this is something that she's always believed, why wasn't she honest and upfront about that before the last election?" Mr Abbott said.
He repeated his "pledge in blood" to repeal the carbon price legislation if elected prime minister, adding the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission would be charged with "policing prices" in the event he was successful in scrapping the scheme.
The government hopes July 1 and the implementation of the carbon tax will be a "game changer" as people discovered Mr Abbott had over-exaggerated the effects of the carbon tax.
But as ministers fanned out across the country in an attempt to sell the carbon tax, the magnitude of the task confronting them was revealed in the latest Nielsen poll.
The poll, published in Fairfax newspapers, showed support for the carbon tax had fallen to 33% - its lowest level since the policy was announced in January last year.
Opposition to the carbon tax had risen to 62% in the Nielsen poll, its highest level in 15 months.
It comes after an Essential Vision poll last week showed similar levels of support and opposition for the carbon tax