Said the opposition's campaign had escalated from "the absurd to the deranged" ... Climate Change Minister Greg Combet. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
A CLEAR majority of voters believes the carbon tax has made no difference to their lives but the same majority still agrees the tax should be abolished.
The federal government has labelled the Nationals Senate leader, Barnaby Joyce, ''deranged'' after he persisted with his claim on Sunday that the carbon price would drive the cost of the Sunday roast over $100 and added that the cost to abattoirs of a single cow or sheep would be $575,000.
The latest Herald/Nielsen poll finds public opinion towards the price on carbon has continued to soften, four months since its introduction on July 1.
The poll of 1400 voters, taken from Thursday night to Saturday night, finds 56 per cent oppose a price on carbon, which is down from 59 per cent two months ago and 62 per cent in June, just before its introduction.
It also finds 39 per cent support the policy, a 2-point increase in two months but a 6-point increase since June.
The government has argued opinions would change once the tax was introduced and people could sort the reality from the scare campaign.
The poll continues to support this theory, finding 56 per cent say the carbon tax and its associated compensation makes no difference to them, which is up 2 points since September and up 19 points since June.
Conversely, 38 per cent say they are worse off, which is unchanged since September but down 13 points since June. Another 3 per cent say they are better off, meaning 59 per cent feel the tax and compensation package either makes no difference or is beneficial to them.
Despite this, 56 per cent still believe the policy should be repealed, which Tony Abbott has promised to do if elected. Mr Abbott has promised a double dissolution election if he wins government and the Senate stops him abolishing the policy.
The poll finds 39 per cent oppose repealing the tax.
The Climate Change Minster, Greg Combet, who recently described Mr Abbott's carbon price claims as ''complete bullshit'', said on Sunday the opposition's campaign had escalated from ''the absurd to the deranged''.
He reacted after Senator Joyce told the Ten Network's Meet the Press program that the impact of the policy meant abattoirs would have to pay $575,000 for a single beast.
''So it's costing you vastly more than a $100 roast, that one,'' Senator Joyce said.
Mr Combet said the actual impact of the carbon price on meat price was 0.4 per cent, which would add 10¢ to a $25 leg of lamb, and has already been factored in to the assistance given to low- and middle-income households.
''Furthermore, abattoirs can reduce emissions and carbon price liability through measures such as covering their waste settlement ponds and flaring the methane or using it to generate electricity,'' he said.
''In these cases the liability may be reduced to zero, meaning the carbon price is doing exactly what it was intended to do: creating an incentive for investments that reduce carbon pollution.''