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Turnbull killed off the best campaign issue for the Coalition — the carbon tax

It was no accident that Turnbull turned out to be a lousy campaigner. He stood for things the people didn’t want, so he couldn’t mention his “successes” nor point at Labor’s big failures.

Andrew Bolt wonders why Turnbull didn’t run the carbon tax scare, which worked so well for Tony Abbott:

If only Turnbull had followed another critical tip from the shrewd Hunt, to hit Labor with an attack on his planned electricity tax – a new carbon tax. As Labor’s Mediscare has proved, the electorate is highly sensitive to threats to the household budget after several years now of living standards not rising. An attack on Labor’s electricity tax could have been decisive, but that was one more piece of good advice Turnbull ignored.

It was not about good advice. Turnbull couldn’t run the carbon tax scare — because he and Greg Hunt had bought a carbon tax in themselves  — the hypocrites would be exposed. Worse, it would remind the electorate of what they voted for so emphatically in 2013 — a mandate to get rid of a carbon tax.

The last time the Coalition could campaign on getting rid of that great big carbon tax was May 23rd when Christopher Pyne was asked about differences between the two big parties on Q and A, but that was only because he hadn’t read the Alan Kohler article that came out the next day. (It shows how secret this CapNTrade scheme was that even the head honcho’s of the team driving the legislation don’t realize what they’ve legislated.)

Christopher Pyne, May 23rd, Q and A:

“I can tell you with a number of different measures… I believe we will meet our [emissions] target without doing what Labor wants to do, which is bring back a job-destroying carbon tax.”

After May 24th, that option was dead. The Labor party were not afraid of “the carbon tax” scare. Turnbull had killed off the key issue, the blood oath that won the Abbott Coalition 90 seats in 2013.

Turnbull couldn’t mention the carbon tax — either as a success or a failure

Turnbull had achieved something two Labor leaders had bet their careers on and suffered legendary losses over. He managed to get the carbon tax and trade legislation through Parliament that had been sought after by Greens, Banks, Bankers and Financial cheats for years. This extraordinary achievement ought to be something he could sell as his own success. (Rudd, Gillard and Shorten certainly would have). But since the public don’t want a carbon tax, Turnbull had to hide his one really significant  “achievement” from his nine dismal months in office.

The new version of the carbon tax was buried in legislation on the last day of Parliament before Christmas. The SneakTax was hidden under something called the “SafeGuard Mechanism”. It is a shapeshifting piece of legislation that could be everything or nothing, depending on how it is used. Greg Hunt can tell conservatives that the Caps are set so high that it will hardly have an impact, and he can tell the wets that the caps can be screwed down to meet all the targets. It was the perfect legislation that could be all things to all people — the only drawback was that it would be electoral death. The new carbon tax legislation is such a potentially big monster, it could affect 150 of our largest companies who emit half our emissions. In the wrong hands, that’s half our economy.

With no carbon tax the Coalition won 90 seats: with a carbon tax, the Coalition may lose government.

Turnbull pandered to the very green-left activists that Abbott opposed and people wonder why he campaigned so badly?

UPDATE: As Peter C points out in comments, the main instigator of this was Greg Hunt and from before Turnbull was appointed leader. The Regulations in Draft. The enabling “Regulation Rule” was officially created by Greg Hunt on September 2, 2015, nearly two weeks before the coup to remove Abbott. The plans were already in place. It stated:  This instrument commences on 1 July 2016.  But Turnbull as leader made the choice to stick with it, to not use the carbon tax in the election campaign, and to not make any guarantees or promises to the many in the Liberal base who do not want carbon trading. If Turnbull loses, Shorten will have his carbon tax already. He can use this legislation, shrink the caps, and bring in the money and it was not even an election issue.

h/t MV

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