The iron ore town of Whyalla on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula is one of the places most threatened by Labor’s Carbon Tax – the tax that Gillard promised before the last Federal election she would never introduce, and which came into effect last Sunday:
BHP Billiton and other major mining companies have already forecast scaling back, postponement or even cancellation of several multi-billion-dollar ventures in South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland, in the wake of both the Carbon Tax and the so-called Mining Profits “Super Tax”. And while off-the-cuff claims of some politicians that Whyalla itself is months or years away from becoming a ghost town are clearly an exaggeration, the portents, under any regime that taxes carbon dioxide, are anything but rosy. Whyalla’s residents have ample reason to be very, very nervous.
So what on God’s green earth possessed Federal Trade Minister Craig Emerson yesterday to mock the concerns of Whyalla’s population—largely unionized and Labor-voting, although it has since 1993 been a Liberal stronghold—and in such a ridiculous fashion? Quite unbecoming for a Federal politician, and a bad advertisement for our country—it makes us all look like idiots to an overseas audience. Down here we refer to something like Emerson’s performance as a brain fart, which is about the kindest construction I can put upon it. The video clip at the top has gone viral, and has been described as the most embarrassing thing ever.
For those not familiar with 1970s Australian pop music, the song being butchered by the soon-to-be unemployed ex-politician is Skyhooks’ 1975 hit Horror Movie, of which as a teenager I was a big fan:
How much lower can Labor go? Emerson himself represents the Queensland electorate of Rankin, which at the 2010 election he won with a margin of 11%. According to the latest Newspoll, Labor’s primary vote in Queensland has shrunk to just 22%, or 35% on a two-party preferred basis. Not only is this swing large enough to unseat every Queensland Federal Labor MHR, including Emerson, Treasurer Wayne Swan and former PM Kevin Rudd, but the losses in Queensland are of a magnitude that would be sufficient to sweep Labor from office at the next election, even were they to hold on to every other current seat nationally—something even Labor strategists admit is impossible.
The Australian electorate does not like being lied to, or taken for fools. And contrary to what Gillard and her courtiers believe, we have a long memory.