In the public debate on the carbon tax, a couple of points seem to be strangely (mostly) absent: first, that the tax's basic aim is environmental - to gradually reduce carbon pollution; and second, that it's an interim measure, a heavily compensated lead-in to a full carbon-trading scheme.
The opposition has no intention of realistically discussing carbon reduction, and the government seems to have given up making the case in environmental terms, preferring to lampoon Tony Abbott's scare tactics, or talk up cash handouts for families. In these circumstances, there is almost no chance of an intelligent public response to the introduction of the tax.
Julia Gillard will forever pay the price of pledging not to introduce a carbon tax. This broken promise has become a symbol of her leadership.
It's a sad day for environmentalism in Australia that this response to climate change - a mild measure, in many ways - has come to be so politicised.