The prime minister expects Australians will pay little attention to the start of the carbon tax tomorrow and will finally be able to judge for themselves what carbon pricing means.
But Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has reiterated his pledge to repeal the tax if he wins office, and says the next federal election will be a referendum on the issue and "prime ministers who tell lies".
The nation's 500 biggest polluters will start paying a $23-a-tonne carbon price from July 1.
The government introduced the tax despite going to the last federal election vowing not to bring it in.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said people would simply go about their normal business and be able to judge the effect of the carbon tax for themselves.
"People will wake up tomorrow around the country and they will go about their normal Sunday doing what they do - catching up with family and friends, watching a bit of sport on TV, many people having to go to work," she told reporters in Melbourne on Saturday.
"People will go about their ordinary, everyday business but they will be in a position tomorrow to judge for themselves the claims that have been made to see what carbon pricing really does mean."
Mr Abbott told the party's federal council on Saturday the tax would raise every family's cost of living and make every job less secure.
"From tomorrow, every problem we face will get worse under the carbon tax, which is designed to go up and up and up," he told delegates at the meeting in Melbourne.
"But it won't help the environment because Australia's domestic emissions will be eight per cent higher - yes higher - by 2020 despite a carbon tax of $37-a-tonne."
Mr Abbott said the Australian people would soon pass judgment on the "bad tax based on a lie", and people could trust him "100 per cent" when he said he would repeal it.
"On day one of a new (coalition) government, the carbon tax repeal process will begin," he said, to rapturous applause from the party faithful.
Mr Abbott said despite losing income from the carbon tax, a coalition government would still be able to cut personal income tax.