Dumped minister hits out at carbon tax

Sacked cabinet minister Robert McClelland has criticised the carbon tax proposed by Labor, the party that dumped him, as a burning issue that needs resolution.

Former Labor premier Peter Beattie has also attacked the party’s policy, saying the carbon price is too high.

The unrest in government ranks comes a day after a Nielsen poll which put Federal Labor’s primary vote at just 27% – the same level that resulted in Queensland’s Labor government wipeout in the state election nine days ago.

But Prime Minister Julia Gillard has told reporters today she had made the right decision on the carbon tax “in the nation’s interest”.

“It will enable us to better support families with tax cuts, family payment increases and pension increases and we will see … clean and renewable energy for the future,” Gillard said.

McClelland was sacked from cabinet after acting as the most senior advocate for former foreign minister Kevin Rudd’s bid to regain his position as prime minister.

McClelland said the carbon tax was a “burning issue” for voters that needed resolution, according to AAP.

“It does affect a sense of legitimacy and there is no doubt that it is an issue,” he said.

“I think Australians are crying out to see their [MPs] being decent people, talking to them ­sincerely.”

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