It was the autumn of 2013 and the Australian car industry was struggling under the weight of currency parity with the US dollar. The quality of the local product had increased dramatically over the previous decade to produce vehicles that had been, before the dramatic upswing in the value of the Australian dollar, finding increased access to international markets around the world including export of the iconic Holden Monaro to the USA. The currency parity with the USD, which commenced in late 2010, threatened the existence of the industry almost overnight and the then Abbott government was under competing pressures to either increase subsidies (as all car manufacturing nations have done when required) to the industry to keep it afloat or pull the pin and watch the industry collapse under the burden of its own cost of production and uncompetitive pricing due to the elevated AUD. The government was yet to commit either way and was hoping a foreshadowed Productivity Commission Report in early 2014 may provide some additional insight and guidance into the future of the industry.
The scene, as I remember it, was a dimly lit, bespoke whisky bar in downtown Hobart replete with some jazz musicians, whose smoky syncopated riffs filled the sandstone room. The bar itself was filled with a whose who of Greens politicians from Sarah Hanson- Young to Larissa Waters to the messiah, Bob Brown himself. A litany of Greens office bearers and aficionados padded out the rest of the crowd. The occasion was the imminent passage of the Tasmanian Forest Peace Deal through the Tasmanian Parliament. At the time I had found myself embedded in the Green movement, involved with local campaigning with grassroots organisations and progressing to larger campaigns including the widely supported campaign against the then proposed Supertrawler MV Magiris. Consequently, I had been invited by an associate to what might now be euphemistically referred to as a bag of mixed lettuce leaves.
Enter stage left, Greens member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt shielded by two butch, chest-beating lesbian-looking types who later identified as his political advisors. As the night progressed different groups splintered into smaller cabals discussing all things pertinent to the world according to deep green ideology. I found myself with Bandt and his aforementioned advisors discussing the state of the Australian car industry. What followed was what could only be described as a vindictive and hate-filled diatribe against the sector that sought to dance on its grave and the graves of all who were employed by it and all the peripheral industry that it spawned and supported. Why? Well from what I could ascertain through the incoherent logic that was presented before me – the car represented the gravest manifestation of human ingenuity, and if it didn’t come replete with a noxious, volatile and finite lithium battery then it had no right to exist at all. ‘Given that Australia has incontrovertible transport needs that can only be met by vehicles, surely it is better they be manufactured here than imported vast distances with huge associated energy footprints and without any of the local benefit’ I protested. Absolutely not, apparently. Australia should do all that it can to rid itself entirely of the motor vehicle and seek to rely entirely on bicycle transport and trains I was informed. ‘How, for instance, would ambulance services transport critical patients’ vast distances to hospital in such a world?’ I queried. Too bad – it wasn’t their concern – there was a planet to ‘save’ was the angry response. The following day, Bandt and his entourage hopped on a plane and flew back to Melbourne.
Within weeks the value of the AUD collapsed in relation to the USD and the Australian car industry once again had a fighting chance to be globally competitive again, but it was too late and the tide had turned on the industry thanks to the constant carping by the likes of Bandt
So why retell this story now? Well with Adam Bandt now ensconced as the leader of the Greens it gives a small insight into the utterly reckless sanctimony and ungrounded rationale of this would be totalitarian despot, who would happily see elderly freeze to death and critically ill patients left to die at home, and tens of thousands left unemployed at the altar of CO2 demonisation. Adam Bandt is the perfect leader for the contemporary Greens Party in Australia. Firmly planted in the soil of self-righteous innercity uber elites and university politics, Bandt is the ultimate identarian politician who as a biology denier will run hard on such issues as transgender rights. He is about as far away from the average Australian as the origin of the cars they now have no other choice but to drive. For all, but those who worship at the temple of the ABC, and by definition the Green Left, he will be a disaster for the broadening of the Greens appeal as most Australians, who, like myself, will soon see through his shallow sanctimony in the New Green Deal to the ideological weasel that lies beneath.
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