Just when you thought Malcolm Turnbull could not get any more left-wing, we have now learnt that he has pushed for a Gillard-style proposal that could see the price of cars soar by over $5000. According to information obtained by the Daily Telegraph, the Turnbull government is proposing to implement “emissions penalties to be slapped on car distributors who fail to meet new fuel efficiency targets”.
The program, commencing in 2022, will see an additional surcharge of $100 per every gram carbon per km emitted by cars. According to the Australian Automobile Association, this could mean an extra $5770 for a Hyundai i30, or an extra $3925 on a Toyota Accent.
Due to the resulting political backlash, Turnbull has ruled out the new tax, saying that the paper was “merely a consultation paper designed to hear feedback from industry.”
Car distributors described the new proposal as too “extreme” in comparison to what was proposed during the 18-month consultation carried out by the government. Not only is this extreme, it is also inefficient.
The artificial raising of prices through a sin tax does not achieve anything, and may even end up making things worse. One would expect an apparently anti-Socialist Prime Minister to understand that, yet it looks like he doesn’t.
It is relieving to hear that the Prime Minister has scrapped this new proposal after the backlash from the industry. Yet the problem remains that this “Liberal” Prime Minister is willing to go as far as implementing sin taxes in order to solve climate problems. Does he not market himself as the economically literate alternative to Labor?
Of course, this does not come as a surprise to most voters. It was only yesterday that the Prime Minister re-emphasised his plan to have a centrist Liberal Party, rejecting the fact that it was meant to be a conservative party. He went so far as to say that Robert Menzies never intended the party to be conservative, despite the former Prime Minister’s support for the White Australia Policy and the Monarchy.
It is unclear as to what the future holds for this carbon tax. Malcolm Turnbull has stated that he is “still consulting with industry” and has “a long way to go”, which could mean that a similarly audacious proposal is still possible. It is our wish that the Prime Minister would not sink so low as to propose a Gillard-style carbon policy, even though for Malcolm Turnbull, it may be impossible to sink any further.