The repeal of the carbon tax is becoming a political cargo cult.
If opposition senators would only perform the right ritual, namely pass the government’s legislation to scrap the signature Labor policy, all will be right with the world.
There’ll be more profits, more jobs, more money in everyone’s pocket – or so it would seem from the government’s performance in question time on Monday.
Bill Shorten, with a treasure trove of issues to raise, opened by demanding to know why Tony Abbott had no plan to end the job losses that were occurring from Melbourne to the Gove Peninsula.
Oh, yes we do have a plan, the PM responded. It’s to scrap the carbon tax. And the mining tax, and greentape, and union thuggery on building sites.
It was Shorten who had no plan except to oppose everything the government is doing.
Just to show how deeply he feels, Abbott had the first question from his side on the dreaded carbon tax.
It was a $9 billion a year hit on jobs and a giant handbrake on the economy, he said. Everyone would be $550 a year better off if the Senate would get rid of it.
Other ministers provided the chorus.
Warren Truss blamed the tax for many of regional aviation’s problems. Greg Hunt accused Labor’s senators of being on strike because they hadn’t voted to repeal it and Sussan Ley reckoned it – plus the state Labor government – was why northwest Tasmania had such dreadful youth jobless figures.
By then Labor had moved on – first to how and when Scott Morrison was misinformed about details of the fatal detention centre riot on Manus Island.
Morrison, as Abbott has assured us, is no wimp. After maintaining he’d been open and transparent with updates, he returned fire by boasting of his success in stopping the boats.
Finally the spotlight returned to Abbott, with Catherine King interrogating him about the case of junior health minister Fiona Nash and her former chief of staff Alastair Furnival who had to resign after he ordered the removal of a healthy food rating website while holding shares in his wife’s lobbying firm which had links to the junk food industry.
According to Abbott, Furnival had to go because he was “dilatory” in getting rid of his shares. Nash herself hadn’t breached any ministerial standards and “the matter is at an end”.
“This is a government that will always act with decency and integrity,” Abbott continued rather smugly.
Surprisingly, he didn’t add that decency and integrity, along with prosperity for all, would rain from heaven if only that carbon tax was scrapped.