Why – oh why – is this not at all surprising? And just who are the “alarmists”? From Stock and Land:
Day after day, week after week, month after month, Tony Abbott’s opening words in parliamentary question time were almost always the same. It was almost invariably a question to put Julia Gillard on the spot on the carbon tax.
“Will the Prime Minister apologise to the people,” it would typically run, “for jeopardising investment and jobs by breaking her solemn pledge that there will be no carbon tax under the government she leads?” Or a variation on the theme.
It was usually delivered with a triumphal air. And it was usually just the first of many opposition questions on the matter for the day. In June, in the run-up to the advent of the tax on July 1, the opposition devoted an average of six questions a day to the subject.
That’s six out of eight or nine opposition questions in a typical question time. It was not a monomaniacal fixation, but it was as close as it gets.
When Parliament resumed in August after the winter recess, the opposition kept up the attack, but its enthusiasm seemed to wane. The daily average number of questions fell to four.
Then, on the last sitting day of August, something changed. Abbott’s first question to Gillard was about mining and he didn’t trouble her about the C word all day. That was August 22.
He hasn’t asked her about it since. True, he hasn’t had many opportunities. After her father’s death, Gillard took leave from Parliament. But even when Abbott had the chance again on Wednesday, he didn’t take it. He asked her about the budget.
And the Coalition as a whole asked the government an average of just one question a day about it in September.
What’s happened? It’s very clear. The carbon tax has been in place for nearly three months now, and Australians are finding that it’s not the fearsome End of Days that the Abbott of Doom had foretold.