I want to make a comparison between two Australian prime ministers and their reactions when confronted by the views of the people.
Billy Hughes (1915-1923) wanted to implement conscription during the first world war. Julia Gillard (2010-soon) wants to implement a carbon dioxide tax after she stabbed her predecessor in the back over a similar plan.
Hughes, a competent and inspiring wartime leader was confronted with dissent by the Australian people over his plan. Gillard, an incompetent and distrustful politician is confronted with dissent over her scheme.
Hughes, chose the democratic path and took conscription to a plebiscite, twice. Gillard ignored the democratic path and dismissed calls by Tony Abbott for a plebiscite. She will not call an election either.
Hughes failed in his bid for conscription and although he continued to advocate it, he accepted the position of the Australian people. Gillard won’t even give us a say, having lied before the election about not introducing a carbon tax. Barring a miracle she will get her way.
I realise that they are two separate issues with different implications. Conscription would have put the lives of thousands of young Australian men at risk. A carbon tax will put the livelihoods of most Australians at risk. Given the magnitude of the move and the community backlash Gillard is already receiving, we should get a say. She has put the Australian economy into the toilet and within a year, will press the full flush button. I think this warrants some kind of input from the stake holders of this decision.