GARY HARDGRAVE: If you went to Nambour High, you probably almost want to disown the school. I went to MacGregor High and I never want to disown that school but it just beats me. Nambour High produced both Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan and both of them have made great virtues out of that. No offence to anybody else who’s been to Nambour High but I’ve got to tell you with some of the stuff Kevin Rudd’s said we’ve got some reasons and with some of the stuff Wayne Swan says… heavens above! Wayne Swan lives in his own little world… ‘it is all the fault of Tony Abbott that there’s confusion about carbon tax’. No, of course there isn’t confusion, everybody wants it! Well that’s what the Department of Climate Change says ‘the majority of Australians have backed the need for climate action’, whatever that means. Can you believe that? They’ve got all this big advertising campaign because those nasty big miners and you and me and whole pile of other Australians got very upset about the mining tax, the great big new tax on everything that they’re still going to bring in, in a couple of different ways, they abandoned advertising on climate change to soften us up for the carbon tax, this was a year ago. It was all before that nasty Tony Abbott. And of course now there’s been a Freedom of Information submission that has unearthed a few gems but here’s what Wayne Swan had to say yesterday.
WAYNE SWAN: Well we haven’t ruled advertising in or out … We haven’t taken a decision. There’s certainly a need to get the correct facts out there, particularly given all of the distortion caused by all the right wing shock jocks and the other sceptics. Big battle on our hands. It’s a battle we’re up for … We’re going to get out there and argue the case on the facts, argue the science, argue the economics and get on the front foot on this issue because it’s so essential for future prosperity, so essential to the creation of jobs in our community and so essential to our children and our grandchildren. All those climate change sceptics out there that want to deny the science, they can keep their head in the sand but we’re going to get with the 21st century … we’re up for the argument … because we’re right, it’s good for the economy, it’s good for the country and it’s good for the environment. And when you’re a Queenslander and you look north to the Great Barrier Reef you understand that climate change is something you’ve got to deal with.
GARY HARDGRAVE: Oh, look, fair dinkum, Wayne! Come up with better arguments, stop just completely slagging off at anybody who disagrees with it. Get out of your own little world.
MIKE MYERS and DANA CARVEY (as Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar): Wayne’s World! Wayne’s World! Party time! Excellent!
GARY HARDGRAVE: Yeah, apologies, Wayne’s World, Mike Myers. Sorry about that, just had to bring Wayne Swan into it. Simon Birmingham is a Liberal Senator who’s the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment. You asked the questions of the FOI and you got some pretty disturbing answers, Simon?
SIMON BIRMINGHAM: G’day, Gary, and good afternoon to your listeners. Yes, indeed, I did, mate. Look, I ‘FOI’ed some documents about what the Government was planning last year when Kevin Rudd was still trying to sell his emissions trading scheme and what is clear is that they were pumped, primed and ready to spend $30 million of taxpayers’ hard earned money on an advertising campaign to convince people that we needed the ETS, a policy that of course they’ve since dumped.
GARY HARDGRAVE: $30 million to address what they call an ‘information gap’ in other words, we’re stupid and they’re going to make us clever!
SIMON BIRMINGHAM: An ‘information gap’ but when you go through the detail of it and the material we got back you can see that it is entirely politically motivated and politically charged. It is a program and campaign where they’ve analysed what people’s attitudes on climate change are whether they’re ‘skeptics’, whether they’re ‘believers’; categorised the Australian population in that sense and intend to push emotive buttons. There’s no information in this campaign. It’s not about telling people what the policies the Government is considering doing are. It is purely a politically based campaign and the real risk is that Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan, who you were talking about before, will just unwrap this campaign and say ‘well, this looks like a good one for our carbon tax’, throw that $30 million or even more at it all to try to, of course, swing people around to a policy that the public are already railing against.
GARY HARDGRAVE: But at the moment we’re just getting ridiculed. Anybody who questions it is just being dumped on from a great height by these elected officials, these people who are meant to work for us.
SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Well… and this approach by the Labor Government I think is really starting to hurt them, Gary, and let’s be honest here, they’re treating the Australian public like fools, they’re condescending in their approach and people will rightly be angry if tens of millions of their taxpayer dollars are spent on an advertising campaign to promote a tax that is, of course, only going to cost them even more in the long run.
GARY HARDGRAVE: Especially when they’re getting a lot of free media. They’re getting a chance to put their case and yet they’ve in fact lost the case by the way they’ve gone about it. They’ve got a chance to actually explain how the climate’s changing, they’ve got a chance to explain how the climate’s warming, they’ve got a chance to explain how a big new tax is going to make a difference and they just seem to muff it every time.
SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Well, Gary, that’s just it. Nobody funds the Opposition to run an advertising campaign against these types of things. Nobody funds, of course, general opponents to a new carbon tax or any other big new tax that this Government dreams up.
GARY HARDGRAVE: No one ever does.
SIMON BIRMINGHAM: If Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan and Greg Combet and the whole team of the Labor Party, with the resources of Government at their disposal, cannot manage to convince people on the merits of the argument for a carbon tax, they shouldn’t be asking taxpayers to fund an advertising campaign to try to con people into it.
GARY HARDGRAVE: Have they got other details? Do they know how much it’s going to cost me on my power bill how much of a subsidy I’m going to get or where the ‘cut out’ is? Do we find people under 50 grand get no subsidy? You know, all these questions need to be answered.
SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Yes, of course it’s the laughable state of the debate at present. You have the Government complaining there’s not enough detail out there. Well, they’re the ones who started this debate it was Julia Gillard standing in the courtyard, the Prime Minister’s courtyard, with Bob Green and the Greens and others, to announce we will have a carbon tax but she chose to announce it without having a price, without knowing what it would apply to, without knowing who would be compensated, without having one iota of detail attached to it. Now she has the gall to complain there’s not enough detail and we need to spend taxpayers’ money on an advertising campaign. Well, she should rule that out and if she doesn’t, I’m sure Australians will greet it with the cynicism and scepticism it deserves.
GARY HARDGRAVE: Alright, Simon, thank you for your time. Simon Birmingham, Shadow Parliamentary for the Environment.