Carbon tax gaffe: Greg Hunt's office swiftly amended the offending press release. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Typo or Freudian slip?
Environment Minister Greg Hunt's office went into damage control on Wednesday morning when its spin doctors spun the wrong way.
In a media release to accompany the latest greenhouse gas emission figures for Australia, Mr Hunt was quoted in the opening line as saying: "Emissions figures released today show the Carbon Tax is still inflicting plenty of gain, with no environmental pain".
Within four minutes, the release was speedily amended to swap the offending nouns, to say that the tax was in fact "still inflicting plenty of pain, with no environmental gain".
A spokesman for Mr Hunt wanted to be clear "it was my typo, not the Minister's".
The correction, though, did not go unnoticed on social media:
Agree heartily with Greg Hunt's original press release - "the Carbon Tax is still inflicting plenty of gain, with no environmental pain".— Jeremy Sear (@jeremysear) February 5, 2014
Agree heartily with Greg Hunt's original press release - "the Carbon Tax is still inflicting plenty of gain, with no environmental pain".
And here, from Martin Pakula, a Victorian Labor MP and shadow attorney general:
Nor did the gaffe go unnoticed in Canberra.
"Hooray, at last the truth on carbon pricing from Greg Hunt," said Greens leader Christine Milne.
"Typos can happen to anyone. It's a pity it takes one for the Environment Minister to get it right when it comes to global warming."
Labor, too, couldn't avoid a poke.
"Two senior Liberal figures have thrown their support behind Labor's Clean Energy Act this week," said a media adviser for Mark Butler, the opposition's environment spokesman. "We appreciate their support."
The other figure was Bob Baldwin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, who on Tuesday sent out a media release congratulating Drayton's Family Wines for installing a 200 kilowatt solar power unit in the Hunter Valley.
The greenhouse gas emissions themselves were not without a bit of spin. The government claims a modest drop in the year to September despite the carbon tax showing emissions are falling.
However, the part of the economy most directly affected by the carbon price, the power sector, has seen a drop of about 7.6 per cent in emissions since July 2012. Analysts say the tax is one reason for the reduction, along with weaker demand from consumers and manufacturers.