THE Gillard government has labelled Barry O’Farrell ”despicable” for deciding to increase the rents of pensioners in public housing so his government can gouge a portion of the pension increases being paid as carbon tax compensation.
The acting Prime Minister, Wayne Swan, told federal NSW Labor MPs in yesterday’s caucus meeting to raise as much of a fuss as possible in a bid to force Mr O’Farrell to back down, as did the Liberal government in Western Australia recently.
As part of the compensation package for the carbon price, single pensioners will receive an extra $338 a year and couples will receive an extra $510.
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The rent increases announced by the NSW government will take from a single pensioner an extra $84 a year.
Queensland and Victoria are considering following suit and the Housing Minister, Brendan O’Connor, urged them ”not to follow this despicable path of the NSW government”.
With the carbon tax to start on July 1, the government is stepping up its counter-assault on Tony Abbott by accusing him of rushing to destroy the government’s parliamentary majority before his ”deceit” on the tax could be exposed.
The Climate Change Minister, Greg Combet, will tell the National Press Club today Mr Abbott’s case against the government’s climate change measures will unravel after the tax begins a week on Sunday.
Mr Swan told caucus July 1 would be a ”game-changer” for the government.
Mr Combet says the opposition will blame the tax for everything from job losses to the price of bananas.
”His strategy appears to have been to destroy the government’s support in the Parliament before he could be called to account for his deceit. It hasn’t worked,” he says. ”That means July 1 will not only be a test of the carbon price – it will also be the beginning of a test of Tony Abbott’s leadership.”