Amazing scenes in The Gong–and I missed them

Yes, I know it could be ironic that it was too cold to go downtown yesterday….

MERCURY, NEWS, CARBON TAX RALLY. Senators Barnaby Joyce and Concetta Ferravanti-Wells having an anti-carbon tax rally in the Wollongong City Mall. Photo taken on 13th of July 2011. Picture taken by ORLANDO CHIODO. Story by Ben Langford.Angry scenes were sparked in Crown St Mall yesterday when an anti-carbon tax rally by Coalition firebrands Barnaby Joyce and Concetta Fierravanti-Wells was outnumbered by supporters of the carbon price.  With hecklers, placards and two of the Coalition’s most unpredictable figures, a quiet lunchtime became a theatre of old-fashioned political argy-bargy, with few of the players lacking the voice to make themselves heard.

Before the visitors even made it to the amphitheatre stage, they were bailed up by South Coast Labour Council secretary Arthur Rorris, who told Senator Joyce he should face workers at Port Kembla and tell them why he won’t back Labor’s $300 million steel industry assistance plan.

Once they took the stage, Sen Joyce, a Queenslander, and Sen Fierravanti-Wells, from Port Kembla, were drowned out by anti-Coalition protesters and Greens activists telling them to go home.

Sen Fierravanti-Wells gave it back to the crowd, shouting "you should be ashamed of yourselves" and telling unionists to oppose the tax.

Sen Joyce had asked supporters to bring placards to the rally, but the handful of Coalition posters and about 30 supporters were no match for almost double that against him…

After the speeches, Sen Joyce held an impromptu media conference but would not answer questions about the steel assistance plan, or whether BlueScope may actually be better off after it receives 60 per cent of the $180 million.

A second story in today’s  Mercury:

iris

HALF of all Illawarra residents would be happy to fork out for higher power bills, if it helped slow climate change, the latest IRIS Research survey has found.  In a poll of 500 people concluded last week, IRIS asked those surveyed if they would pay more for energy sources, such as petrol, electricity and gas, if it slowed climate change. Just over half said they would be in favour of doing so, despite predictions of massive job losses in the region at the hands of a carbon tax. The result is the biggest indication yet the Gillard government may be winning over the Illawarra in its bid to sell the carbon tax to "Carbon Central". Only last week British newspaper The Guardian dubbed the Illawarra Carbon Central, thanks to our two economic pillars of coal mining and steelmaking.

IRIS executive director Simon Pomfret said the figures showed a strong willingness to absorb some of the costs associated with tackling climate change…

The IRIS survey results came on the same day as Coalition agitators Barnaby Joyce and Concetta Fierravanti-Wells rolled into Crown St Mall to spruik their anti-carbon tax message at a rally.

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