The Gillard government’s announcement of its plan to spend 12 million taxpayer dollars on an advertising campaign to sell the carbon tax beggars belief.
The carbon tax is by no means a done deal. The multi party committee on climate change may not arrive at a consensus. The proposed carbon tax may not progress to the legislative process. The Independents without whom Gillard cannot function are enraged, both by the proposed advertising campaign, and the presumption of their compliance upon which it is based.
Informing these key players just one hour prior to making the plan public would seem to be yet another unwisely arrogant move. While in itself it will probably not affect the Independents’ committment to the negotiations, the move does imply a degree of government contempt for the process, and an assumption that the decision is already in the bag.
Perhaps one of the motives behind this bizarre campaign to sell something that does not yet exist, is a hope that if the public can somehow be convinced by the mere announcement of this campaign that it’s a certainty, the multi party committee will be forced by public opinion to reach the consensus the government wants. Independent Tony Windsor said the advertising decision bordered ”on asking us to endorse publicly funded propaganda”.
This type of tortured magical thinking is quite characteristic of the Gillard government, from the day twelve months ago when it became the Gillard government up until now. Think the East Timor solution, the Malaysia solution, and the carbon tax Gillard was never going to introduce till she changed her mind about it.
Gillard’s assumption that the carbon tax outcome is so certain that the government can already commit 12 million dollars to explaining it is mind-boggling, anyway you look at it, and everyone is scrabbling to find a rational explanation for the move.
Gillard has acquired a reputation for putting the cart before the horse. She did not consult with East Timor before assuming their willingness to take our cast off refugees. The Malaysian solution was announced way before those negotiations were settled, indeed they are on going, and we have no idea what that outcome will be. Now she wants to sell a carbon tax that does not yet exist. Isn’t that false advertising?
Although Gillard appears outwardly calm and in control, her consistently premature and inappropriate announcements reveal an underlying profound anxiety and lack of control. She continues to indulge in premature enunciations that leave everyone embarrassed and unsatisfied.
Gillard may not believe in God, but she seems to believe in some kind of supernatural force, because from day one, her government appears to have operated on a type of blind faith in itself that has no connection with reality. The arrogant assumptions as to the outcome of the multi party climate change committee negotiations is yet one more example of this excess of self belief, now looking increasingly more desperate in spite of Gillard’s outward efforts to appear calm while the boat lurches sickeningly yet again.
In circumstances such as this, Gillard’s much remarked inability to express appropriate affect becomes a positive advantage.
Magical thinking was intrinsic in the overthrow of Kevin Rudd: who else but those with their heads in fairyland would have believed for one moment that Rudd would just go away? Instead he’s been a fierce and constant thorn in their side, and will continue to be so, publicly undermining, destabilizing and dividing just by his very existence.
Polls reveal he is considered a better contender for PM than is the woman who deposed him. Anybody could have seen that coming, but not, it appears, those who chucked him out. Actions have consequences, and frequently they aren’t the consequences you hope for. Any first year psychology student could have predicted the consequences of that coup.
“I have taken control” Gillard brayed 12 months ago when she ousted Rudd, claiming that the government under his control had “lost its way.”
If this is an example of taking control, if this is a government that’s now found its way, beam me up Scotty.
The government’s motives in announcing this ad campaign are unfathomable. The use of public money to fund a campaign about something that does not yet exist is nothing more than a cynical exercise in propaganda. It will backfire, as has much else this government has done so far.
- $12m budget for carbon tax campaign draws fire (theage.com.au)
- Gillard’s polling trend worse than Rudd’s (news.theage.com.au)
- Australia’s Gillard Slumps in Poll (online.wsj.com)