Vale GMH Elizabeth. Holden, You Served Australia Well.

Today’s Guest Author is the redoubtable Puffy the Magic Dragon. Thank you so much for this – it is, unfortunately, an occasion to be commemorated.

On November 29, 1948 Prime Minister Ben Chifley unveiled the first Holden 48-215, which became affectionately known as the “FX”.

On October 20, 2017, the last Holden was built in Australia.

Think about that a moment.

Today, no Prime Minister witnessed the closure of this proud industry. Where was our Coalition Prime Minister? He was on a Victorian radio station this morning declaring how ‘sad’ he is about it. PM Turnbull assures us the workers have found jobs, are studying or are retired. He has little to say about the effects on workers in related businesses, or the emotions and circumstances of the former workers saying goodbye to an era.

Now General Motors Holden is no longer manufacturing cars in Australia. To be accurate nobody is manufacturing cars in Australia anymore. No more of these will be exported.

The Elizabeth factory is the reason the Town of Elizabeth was built. But it is not just Elizabeth that suffers or South Australia. Our nation is the lesser for this loss. These manufacturing enterprises are as much research centres, trade schools, design hubs and robotics developers as they are car-builders. How dumb do you have to be not to support that? Today I watched with many others from all over Australia. I spoke to one family who flew in to Adelaide just to be here today to say goodbye. Anger at the politics behind this disgrace is high.

So many people including those from allied industries and businesses were employed because we made vehicles.

But a short-sighted union-hating Liberal/National Coalition government brought that to an end. We lose an industry, we lose the expertise, the skills and the manufacturing base because of their ideology. None of it made economic sense.

The last Holden rolled off the line today, and the workers were bussed out to a farewell shindig.

The media cameras recorded the event. Maybe Joe Hockey can run it on loop while he smokes his cigars.

Labor Opposition Leader Bill Shorten hit the nail on the head talking to a group of school children.

“Look over there, kids, at that old Holden. Australia used to be a country that built cars,” Mr Shorten said.

“As of tomorrow, we’re not building cars anymore and the silly old government of the Liberals just couldn’t give a stuff.”

He assured his 20 pupils that manufacturing, engineering, maths and science jobs would still be around into the future. (source SBS http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/10/19/shorten-gives-kids-holden-history-lesson )

Labor says Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s lack of comment on the closure is proof his government does not care. Amen to that.

Finally, let’s pay a tribute to the workers who made the whole thing work. My late husband, with 20 years of service after his immigration from England being one of them. A member of his union, of course, as a Spares Chaser, (he found parts to fill orders from dealers) he enjoyed his work and made a good life on a worker’s wage.

A proud working-class man alongside proud working-class women. Building Australian cars.

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531 thoughts on “Vale GMH Elizabeth. Holden, You Served Australia Well.

  1. What a day.

    Re the Cash saga. What Brandis, with all his chicanery, doesn’t seem to understand is that it’s not the issue of whether Cash retains her position that’s at stake here. It’s the credibility of the Turnbull government. They drag their reputation further and further down the longer they drag this out and quash proper scrutiny into it. They’ve already buggered up the chance they were seeking to hammer unions and Shorten, that’s long gone. Now the spotlight’s turned back onto them they’d be best advised to move Cash on as quickly as possible, because if she stays she’s going to have the same effect on the party as Ley and Bronwyn Bishop did – and Hockey for that matter. A constant reminder that they hit below the belt and bend the rules to suit themselves. They can’t win any elections while the stain remains on the party. Simple as that.

    There’s no advantage to be gained in protecting Cash. Their major worry is the possibility – still alive – that Turnbull could be dragged into it. They’d want to close that avenue off by cutting Cash free.

  2. Big win for former Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson and the rest of Tony Windsor’s legal team, big slap-down for Brandis and the ‘expert’ advice of his choice of SG.

    “The court held that the approach of the amicus (friend of the court) and Mr Windsor must be accepted, as it adheres most closely to the ordinary and natural meaning of the language of s 44 and accords with the views of a majority of Justices in Sykes and Cleary”
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2017/oct/27/politics-live-high-court-citizenship-joyce

  3. Barnaby was never going to retire.

    He will win the by-election, messy personal problems don’t put off National voters. Neither does being absolutely useless.

  4. My gut feeling – this by-election will probably result in a range from 52-48 to Joyce to 51-49 to Windsor. It will be close and bitter, but, the government is roughly 4-5% less popular than it was last year, and then there’s the SFF and One Nation running rampant in country NSW that can leak preferences.

    I’m also curious to see if Labor will put up a candidate, that may be a big factor as well if it’s a contest between Joyce and Windsor.

  5. I’m thinking Malcolm Roberts will stay on. His citizenship problem has been fixed, he’s now eligible to fill the casual vacancy he himself has caused, so don’t be surprised if Hanson announces he’ll be back ASAP.

    • Actually that can’t happen. Roberts was invalidly elected in the first place, so it can’t proceed to a casual vacancy. It’s a recount, where no.3 on One Nation’s ballot would be elected. And it’d be up to him if he wants to resign his spot or not for Roberts to return via casual vacancy.

      If he doesn’t, I expect Hanson would throw a hissy fit as usual and expel him from the party, but he’d still sit as an Independent senator until his term expires in 2019.

    • Hanson’s talking now, she says she’s devastated at losing Roberts, but she seems to have no idea about what the recount will mean. She’s talking about not knowing if it’s a total recount or not, whatever that means.

  6. Was there any validity in the ALP claims that every Parliament vote Joyce participated in while he was there is now illegitimate? I assume that’s technically correct but for all practical purposes unenforceable.

  7. I’m not sure he even is our Prime Minister any more, is he? He’s now the leader of a party that can’t form a majority on the floor.

    • Technically it’s a hung parliament, so he needs the support of enough indies to guarantee supply and confidence. He had that, but there might now be some indies rethinking their support.

  8. The numbers as they are on the floor is essentially 74-74 with the Speaker’s casting vote, so the government still has a “functioning” majority, by the barest amounts.

    Yes it’s “convention” for the speaker to be impartial but we all know that Smith will vote along party lines on everything. And even then, Cathy McGowan’s said that she won’t vote against Turnbull in a no-confidence motion.

    I suppose it’s better her than Mirabella being there but politically there’s probably no difference.

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