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RATE AUSTRALIAN PM JULIA GILLARD'S ANSWERS TO THE PUBLIC ON CLIMATE AND "CARBON" TAX
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July 18, 2012: ICSC is asking for readers' comments about, and grading of, the Prime Minister's statements during her online question and answer session held at Australia's Herald Sun newspaper on July 5. We will select the most interesting remarks that we receive and share them, along with Ms. Gillard’s grades, with the public via our Website. ICSC will also send the most important comments directly to Prime Minister Gillard's office.

Note 1: Australia’s national "carbon" tax came into force on July 1, 2012.

Note 2: If you do not wish to comment, we ask that you at least assign a numerical rating to each of the PM's answers. Rating may be done while you complete your comments as it does not close this form.

Note 3: To successfully submit your comments, every field in the below form must have at least some entry—even “no comment”, “nil” or just a single character will suffice.

SCIENCE QUESTION #1: "Please explain how you can tax something that is essential to life on the planet."

Julia Gillard: "the problem we face isn't the naturally occurring carbon - it's the amount we keep adding to it by the way we live today. Polluters will now pay a price per tonne of carbon they generate and that will give them an incentive to change to lower carbon ways of working."

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SCIENCE QUESTION #2: "I have been told that the carbon tax won't lower global temperatures to any measurably significant amount. Can you clarify for me how much it will lower temperatures?"

Julia Gillard: "by pricing carbon we will cut carbon pollution by at least 160 million tonnes in 2020 - that's the same as taking 45 million cars off the road."

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SCIENCE QUESTION #3: "Why did you decide to end up bringing the carbon tax in?"

Julia Gillard: "I've always believed climate change is real and that it is caused by carbon pollution and we have to reduce the amount we generate. Putting a price on carbon is the cheapest way of reducing that pollution. That's why I decided we should enact the carbon price. It's a fixed price for the first three years - effectively a tax - and then an emissions trading scheme with a cap on carbon pollution."

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SCIENCE QUESTION #4: "Where does the money from Carbon Tax go exactly? How does it help the environment?"

Julia Gillard: "The [money] from carbon pricing goes first to Australians. More than 50 per cent of it pays for the tax cut, pension increases and increased family payments. That money means that 6 million Australian households will either come out square or in front as a result of us pricing carbon. Money also goes to helping businesses transform so they are cleaner. A billion dollars goes to biodiversity and we have created a $10 billion new fund to drive investments in new cleaner technology."

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SCIENCE QUESTION #5: "Has the carbon tax started working since we have started having cold weather since it was introduced?"

Julia Gillard: "it's not as simple as that. We are facing climate change because of what we have done to the planet since the industrial revolution. We need to act, not because such a big problem can be quickly fixed, but because if we don't act then we will be abdicating our responsibility to the planet and ignoring the need to transform our economy for a cleaner future."

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SCIENCE QUESTION #6: "Given the 'purpose' of the Carbon tax in principle is to reduce emissions wouldn't we be better off utilising all funds to assist business's reduce their emissions, protect delicate environments more susceptible to climate change, repair those already damaged and be used to fund greener energy supplies?"

Julia Gillard: "money from carbon pricing is being used to help businesses cut their pollution. It is also financing a biodiversity fund and we are investing $10 billion into clean energy investments."

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POLITICAL QUESTION #1: "You said [in the last election], "There will be no Carbon Tax under the government I lead", Did you lie about the Carbon Tax?"

Julia Gillard: "when I said those words I meant every one of them. During the election campaign I spoke about the need to price carbon and have an emissions trading scheme. And now we are pricing carbon - a fixed price to start with - to be followed in three years time by an emissions trading scheme that caps carbon pollution."

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POLITICAL QUESTION #2: "seeing all the polls throughout Australia and understanding that around 70% of the nation do not want a carbon tax and also knowing that you do not have a mandate to bring in this carbon tax do you not think it is wrong to bring in a law that is against the will of the people?"

Julia Gillard: "I am absolutely certain the right thing to do is to price carbon and seize our nation a clean energy future. Big important changes are often not popular at the time. Floating the dollar wasn't. Reducing tariffs wasn't either. But we wouldn't have today's prosperity if our nation hadn't faced up to those difficult policy changes."

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POLITICAL QUESTION #3: "why are you implementing a tax designed to make us all poorer? Just how many comparative advantages do you think Australia has? Why do you want to destroy our natural advantage of plentiful resources? We don't pay workers $2 an hour to work in sweat shops like other countries."

Julia Gillard: "pricing carbon will cut our nation's carbon pollution - we have to do that. Our economy will continue to grow, jobs will grow and 6 million households will come out square or better off. We do have an advantage in renewable energy. Using renewable energy like solar doesn't destroy our natural advantages or plentiful resources. It harnesses them."

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POLITICAL QUESTION #4: "I am glad you went ahead with the carbon tax, despite the fear mongering and ignorance from other politicians, the media and the public. This is hopefully the start of Australia's greener future, and in later years people will understand why we need this tax. Hopefully it won't take them too long to learn that this tax will not be as bad as they were lead to think."

Julia Gillard: "I couldn't have put it myself. Now every one gets to decide for themselves, not on what they have been told and all the crazy fear mongering, but on the basis of their own experience."

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