OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott has dismissed the significance of the British Prime Minister's praise of Australia's carbon plan by saying Labor ''now wants to engage in a bit of cultural cringe''.
In a letter commending Julia Gillard's move, David Cameron said that it would add momentum to those in the developed and developing world who were serious about dealing with the urgent climate threat. Ms Gillard will point to the letter when questioned on the climate package in the next few days.
But Mr Abbott, a strong Anglophile, said: ''I have great respect for Britain, but I don't think that everything that's done in Britain should necessarily be slavishly copied here in Australia.''
Mr Abbott said that Britain was a very different country and economy. ''Britain has de-industrialised over the last generation. Britain has exported its emissions to the countries which now do its manufacturing for it.
''We are a resource-intensive economy. We're an economy that produces an abundance of coal and gas. We want to be a manufacturing society.''
Earlier, Climate Minister Greg Combet said Mr Abbott had been running ''one of the most deceitful, unprincipled, opportunistic campaigns that I think I've ever seen in politics''.
Mr Abbott was a ''charlatan'' … ''engaging in widespread deceit and he's going to be increasingly found out for it,'' Mr Combet said. ''What's Tony Abbott's alternative? He doesn't have one … He runs around misleading the community.''