"Labor will tax you, Liberal will encourage you". said the Liberal Party's campaign slogan from the 1980's. They didn't anticipate the new mode of taxing: calling it a price. I've been listening to the Labor Ministers chanting the word "price" as they try to sell the new impost. I think it's to help Julia argue that she didn't breach her promise to not introduce a carbon tax.
A price, dear Julia, is what you pay for something you choose to do or receive. Where statutory coercion is involved, it's a tax. Taxes are also known as levies, duties, excises, imposts, charges, fees. These terms all carry connotations of compulsion and properly admit to being what they are; the state taking away your property without your consent.
I've got all the carbon I need and I don't want to buy more at any "price".
I heard Barry Cassidy on Insiders on Sunday last offering a lame apologia for this rip-off and arguing that popular animosity will subside. He used the GST as the analogous model for this. Barry, you're dead wrong. The only connection is what happened to the Australian Democrats because of it. The GST we have today is not the GST of 1985 (aka Consumption Tax aka Option C) proposed by Paul Keating. Nor is it the GST of John Hewson which was famously denounced at the 1993 election. It's not even the GST Howard and Costello took to the 1998 election. It's a hybridised, Coalition/Democrat GST. The Democrats moderated the impact of the GST and gave themselves a gold star and an elephant stamp for being such constructive negotiators. The only problem was that their constituents didn't vote for it. They didn't care about the moderation of it. They didn't want it in any way, shape or form. This betrayal of their constituency to kiss Coalition arse was the doom of the Democrats. It was the second step, after the defection of Cheryl Kernot to Labor, on the path to oblivion. In the subsequent elections, the Democrats disappeared from the Australian political map.
It's the lying that does it, Barry. We won't forget and we won't forgive.