Carbon Sunday: a good day for Julia Gillard


It has taken 4 years, and the political scalps of a Prime Minister and an Opposition Leader, but finally we have the deal for a price on carbon.

Yes it may not be the best package in the world but to be frank at least it is something. And when it comes to stopping pollution, doing something is better than nothing.

Yesterday was a good day for Julia Gillard.  It was the first good day she has had for a long time.

She was strong, decisive and she was doing something really important.  She looked like her old self.  She was sure of what she was doing.

For the first time for many people, she really looked and spoke like the Prime Minister.   She barely even glanced down at her notes because she knew what she wanted to say backwards.

As one girl friend said to me, ‘today she really looks like the Prime Minister because she has actually done something’.  And how good was that blue suit.

It is true that parts of the deal could be better.  But the fact is that putting a price on carbon is a deadly political football that has been kicked back and forth for too many years.  It has claimed political scalps in traumatic circumstances and it will probably continue to do so around the world.

Just ask Kevin Rudd or Malcolm Turnbull.

When I heard Julia say yesterday that we will be getting the equivalent of 45 million cars off the road by 2020 I was sold.

That is a good enough deal for me and I am prepared to pay for it. I would be prepared to pay for it at double the cost and for half as good a result.

If we took the alternative and did nothing now, then we would just keep going around in circles in another pointless political debate and continue doing nothing for another eternity.


I for one cannot agree to that.  I know I owe it to my kids to do better than that.

We have to try and this announcement gives us that chance.

It is also gives Julia Gillard a very big chance. A chance to show the Australian people that she can lead in her own right. That she can be trusted to deliver one of the biggest reforms in Australia’s economic history. That she cares and understands what people are going through and that she can explain why this is so important for them.  That she can relate to them and their families.

It is not enough to rely on selling those messages through the media. They are messages that have to be delivered directly to people on the streets from our politicians.  Where their message cannot be broken down or altered.

The Government has a chance now to turn their fortunes around. It won’t be easy but the opportunity is there to be taken.

There was one other important thing that happened yesterday for Julia Gillard.

No matter what else happens now, she has changed her legacy.  It is no longer about getting rid of a sitting Prime Minister. It is about trying to change the way our country deals with carbon pollution.

The PM said yesterday “we will get this done”.

Well thank god for that, because none of the political parties in Australia could handle more of the brutal blows that putting a price on carbon has caused them.

And more importantly the Australian people couldn’t handle another failed attempt to get this policy in action.

Fiona was Press Secretary to Kevin Rudd for four years. She is 29 and lives in Queensland with her two children.