It has been interesting following the political events in Australia this week with Julia Gillard pushing ahead with the carbon tax she promised the Australian electorate she wouldn't implement and polls indicating the Australian public are overwhelmingly against the proposal and ready to dump the Australian Labor Party for breaking its election promises.
The reaction to this political intransigence contrasts with our experience in New Zealand where the National Government last year pushed ahead with its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) against earlier promises, a betrayal that New Zealanders accepted with barely a whimper.
Australians have figured out that a carbon tax is a hugely expensive exercise in futility. They know that any carbon emissions savings that result from the significant increases in energy prices (and the cost of pretty much every other product and service in the economy) will be offset 100-fold by China's increase in emissions over the same period. Unlike Australians, New Zealanders seem to be too stupid to make the connection between the direct impact of the ETS on energy prices and the consequential price increases of almost everything in the economy.
Australians are smart enough to know that the science is far from settled and that actually global temperatures are not consistently tracking upwards with atmospheric carbon dioxide levels but rather have been static for the last ten years.
They are smart enough or brave enough to respond to Gillard's carbon tax proposals with, "Piss off, Mate, we're not having a bar of it!" (or words to that effect).
Australians are smart enough to know that if they don't dig minerals out of ground and sell those minerals to anyone who wants them, the only people who will suffer are Australians - unlike New Zealanders. And they are smart enough to know they need to reduce taxes to generate economic growth and create jobs - unlike New Zealanders.
The New Zealand National Government has given up on its goal of catching Australia in wages and living standards. Perhaps they have conceded that we're not smart enough or brave enough to get there.