Julia Gillard must not dust off plans to use taxpayers’ money as part of a carbon tax sales pitch, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment Simon Birmingham said today.
It follows revelations, under Freedom of Information legislation, of the Labor Government’s plans for a multi-million dollar taxpayer funded political ad blitz in early 2010 on climate change and its then proposed emissions trading scheme or so-called ‘Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme’ (CPRS).
The campaign, costing taxpayers up to $30 million, was to have run for three months from January 2010, timed to follow the December 2009 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.
The draft campaign strategy released under FOI includes plans to distribute a 6-8 page booklet to every Australian household and a $20 million media buy.
It also features a proposed CPRS-specific campaign included the overarching message “The CPRS is the only way to effectively reduce Australia’s carbon footprint.”
“Not only is this a blatantly political message for a planned taxpayer-funded campaign, but it further highlights the hypocrisy in Labor’s push now for a Carbon Tax that even it doesn’t believe will effectively reduce our carbon footprint,” Senator Birmingham said today.
The strategy document categorises Australians, depending on their views, as ‘climate change skeptics’, ‘apathetic’, ‘doubtful but doing’, ‘tell me more’ and ‘movers and shakers’.
“This was a patronising campaign designed to treat Australians like fools. It had nothing to do with informing them about the proposed emissions trading scheme and everything to do with easing the political pain Labor was feeling.
“It is clear that were it not for the fiasco at Copenhagen the Labor Government was ready to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on a blatantly political climate change campaign. 
“Julia Gillard should rule out dusting off this campaign or wasting more money on a new one.
“Nothing could be more underhanded than dipping into taxpayers’ pockets to fund a campaign in support of a new tax that will dig even further into those same taxpayer pockets.
“If Labor can’t sell the supposed merits of their Carbon Tax on their own they shouldn’t be expecting taxpayers to help them do so.”