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Selling the carbon tax: Individual versus collective self-interest

Thomas, E.F. (2012) Selling the carbon tax: Individual versus collective self-interest. The Conversation, 16 July .

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July 1 has rolled past and Australia has a carbon tax. As Government Ministers prepare to hit the road to spruik the benefits of the tax, it’s worth shining a spotlight on the kinds of messages they love to tell the Australian electorate in an effort to promote support for their policy. After all, a lot rests on their ability to convince the public that the carbon tax is the best way forward. What are the strategies that the government are using to turn the tide against this unpopular policy?

The carbon tax message: no cost to you

Foremost among these is that the tax will not pose a personal cost or imposition to the individual. The Government has distributed leaflets to Australian households; there are advertisements for the compensation scheme on the television and radio (advertisements which were criticised for not bearing any mention of the carbon tax); and media coverage has been saturated with ministers wielding legs of lamb and visiting the supermarket. In an effort to mitigate political pain, the government are focusing its efforts on promoting the message that the tax will not “cost” or, at least, it won’t cost those who can’t afford to pay.

Item Type: Non-refereed Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Publisher: The Conversation Media Group
Copyright: The Author
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