Within weeks, the Australian government is expected to announce a package of measures including a carbon tax to stimulate renewable energy sources and abate carbon emissions. Officials, activists and journalists around the world will hail Australia as a courageous and forward-looking country, ready to take its responsibilities seriously. Some will rebuke their own governments for being less bold. Yet they will ignore an inconvenient detail. According to opinion surveys, at least 60 per cent of Australians strongly oppose the tax. Since it was flagged in February, support for the ruling Labor Party has fallen to its lowest level in 40 years. Only 27 per cent of Australians now nominate Labor as their first preference. Nor did they vote for it. In the lead up to last August’s federal election, both major parties ruled out a carbon tax. Prime Minister Julia Gillard declared, just hours before polling day, that “there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead”. Her job approval rating is 31 per cent.