AT PARKS across the country, thousands of people, including at least 10,000 in Sydney, rallied yesterday to support a price on carbon, as part of a national climate change campaign.
Simultaneous rallies were held in most capital cities as part of the second stage of the ''Say Yes'' campaign which was launched last week by the actors Cate Blanchett and Michael Caton.
Blanchett, who was criticised for appearing in the campaign's advertisement, which urges people to back the federal government's proposed carbon emissions tax, was among the crowd at the Sydney rally.
''What people are asking for is an ambitious price [on carbon], an investment in renewable energy,'' Simon Sheik, the organiser of the rally and national director of GetUp!, told the crowd at Prince Alfred Park.
''Today is a big day, because today Australian's will ask their government for a price on carbon,'' he said.
Unsigned letters were given out for people to hand on to their neighbours, arguing the case for climate action and attacking the claim the carbon tax will be directly levied against families.
It argues the carbon tax will affect fewer than 1000 of the biggest polluting companies and that they will have to pay a ''small price'' per tonne of carbon pollution. The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, who attended the rally in Brisbane, said a carbon price would tilt the balance towards investment in renewable energy and forms of power generation that produced lower emissions.
''Treasury modelling shows a carbon price will see gas-fired electricity generation expand by between 150 and 300 per cent over the period to 2050 … dirty energy will become more expensive and clean energy cheaper under a carbon price,'' he said.
''Treasury's modelling shows the renewable electricity sector (other than hydro-electric power) is projected to be six times bigger than it is today … dirty energy will become more expensive and clean energy cheaper.''