Why Abbott doesn’t understand

Centrelink OfficeIt’s not hard to imagine the scene. Tony Abbott’s team are working on the press conference where they will make an announcement about the measly so-called government support for Holden workers who have found themselves out of a job thanks to their not-open-for-business government. ‘Let’s turn this into a positive’ someone suggests (probably Credlin or Textor). ‘Let’s remind the Holden workers that they don’t need that scummy job in a factory anymore, because now they are free to take up the myriad of new opportunities available to them. Free of their unionised workplace. Free of the constraints of the job they’ve been in since they were teenagers’. Textor probably clapped. Abbott smarmed. And Credlin preened. A short silence follows while they reflect on the beauty of their idea. In unison, they all say ‘liberated. Liberated to get on with the rest of their lives’. Bingo.

After the press conference, Abbott and his team feel satisfied. They feel they have atoned. Yes, they might have totally and completely stuffed up the Holden negotiations, putting off a decision, then making a decision, then daring Holden to make a decision, then standing back deer-in-the-headlights as Holden announced they were pulling out after Joe Hockey yelled at them. But they came up with a plan. Not just a pamphlet. An actual plan. And they believed it was perfect. But the obvious flaw in their plan was that it was completely offensive to Holden workers. The use of the word ‘liberated’, and their attempt at turning their Holden stuff-up into a positive, completely blew up in their face. And it would appear that neither Abbott nor his staff has any clue as to why and how they got it so wrong. Nor do they care.

The reaction on Twitter to Abbott’s ‘liberated’ remarks were eloquently summed up by Van Badham, who wrote personally about her father’s experience of being unemployed when she was a child. She explained that…

“We were working-class people, and so were my parents’ friends. When you’re a working-class person who loses a job, there’s no liquid capital on hand to buy your way into retraining or consider a business opportunity. There’s no powerful network of privileged mates who can offer you a consultancy, a designed position, a sinecure, or maybe offer up a $300k a year job just because they like you.”

I myself felt the loss of Holden acutely because I am South Australian. I know how important the car manufacturing industry is to my State’s community and economy, and I understand that it is now gone forever thanks to Abbott and his team’s incompetence. But to say I know how the Holden workers feel would be wrong, because I don’t. You see, my upbringing was far closer to the experience of Abbott’s than the lives of most of the people who will find themselves unemployed once Holden leaves Australia. And what I know about this background makes me well placed to be absolutely certain of Abbott’s ineligibility to make decisions on behalf of all Australians. Because I grew up with the safe comfort of privilege, as did Abbott.

I grew up in a world where everyone went to university. If they didn’t, it was because they already had a career mapped out for them with the confidence of someone who has been told from a young age that they have the connections and the social networks to do whatever they want with their lives. I grew up in a world where unemployment often meant international backpacking to ‘find yourself’ and returning from overseas broke, but with a large family home to fall back on and parents to lend you money, and a few career options to choose from, including a job at your dad’s mate’s company.

Luckily for me, I also grew up with parents who taught me from a young age that a society is more important than an economy, and that your contribution to your community is judged by the value you add to it, not the riches you can squeeze out of it. But most of the people I grew up with, like Abbott, have zero understanding or concern for the lives of people in their community who they are neither related to nor dependant on for something that betters their comfortable lives. Everyone outside of their privileged bubble is completely irrelevant to them. And these people for the most part vote Liberal.

Before the trolls start to attack, can I make it clear that I don’t think Abbott needed to have ever physically worked in a car assembly line to understand the situation Holden workers are in. And no, visiting with a pack of cameras to decry the carbon price doesn’t count as ‘working’. Nor was it necessary for Abbott to have lived through the childhood of someone like Van Badham who remembers the anxiety of her family’s breadwinner being out of work, when the weekly pay-cheque was all the family had to make ends meet. All Abbott needed is something he is obviously lacking, and incapable of acquiring through an obvious absence of emotional intelligence. It’s called empathy. And the staff and colleagues Abbott surrounds himself with are no help to him on this front, because they too just don’t get it either.

Using my empathy, I can guess that Holden workers are scared, anxious, disappointed and angry about their company leaving Australia. I would suspect that they will have trouble enjoying Christmas, with the worry about their futures and the knowledge that their careers are now uncertain, and possibly over. I can imagine that looking at job ads on the internet fills them with fear, possibly depression, knowing that they’re not qualified for just about every job being advertised. They might be thinking about options for retraining, but also worrying about the cost and time needed to retrain while they still have their jobs. They might be regretting their decision to go into automotive manufacturing in the first place, and blaming themselves for making a career decision that has damaged their family’s future. They will be thinking of their wives, their husbands and their children and hoping and wishing that something goes right for them soon. While Abbott and his family fly off to Europe to visit his daughter this Christmas, many Holden workers’ families will be wondering if the money they are spending on Christmas lunch should be saved for a day in the future when they’ll need it more.

I might come from a privileged background, and be lucky enough to have always enjoyed the safety net that comes with such an upbringing. But I know enough about life to know that the last thing Holden workers will be feeling is the wonderful emotion of ‘liberation’. If Abbott honestly believes these workers are better off without their jobs, he’s the last person who should be making decisions affecting the future of all Australians. From his narrow, un-empathetic, self-interested glass tower of privilege, he is therefore unqualified for the job of Prime Minister.


  1. Abbott will only have one term (if his lucky) and Holden shuts shop in approx 4 years.I think the new Labor Govt will compromise with Holden.Abbott has made a mess of things.(as usual).

    • AbbottAbbottAbbottAbbottAbbottAbbott

      All you people bleating and blaming Abbott for problems caused by this country’s trade unions should go out and buy a bloody Commodore if you want Holden to continue in this country.

      I work in an industry that must adapt and if we don’t I have to go get another job … not look for a bloody handout. Incredible. It’s not rocket science. Poor little GMH workers. With the conditions they are on, they’ll all get $100K in redundancies anyway. Unbelievable that you can blame a PM in the job for months.

      “Abbott has made a mess of things” Well, at least he hasn’t caused deaths. Off the top of my head, I can think of 2 policies the last mob introduced that did.

      Anyway, I for one would rather my tax contributions to go towards re-skilling workers in outdated industries for something they can do without sucking on the Govt. teat. You lot truly live in an bubble. Get out and talk to people in industries that stand on their own feet.

      Oh and have a great xmas.

  2. This Abbott government is the most treasonous in Australia’s history.
    The LNP have irreversibly sold their soul (and our sovereignty) to global corporate supremacists.
    How long will it take complacently ignorant, but truly conservative electors and supporters to wake up to the fact they have been sold out and ratted on?
    The corporate fascists have taken over the LNP – both “liberal” and “national” are just a veil to fool the thoughtlessly gullible.

      • Start here:

        “To my mind, there is no doubt that we, as a nation, have been betrayed. Those many ‘national interest’ policies: the NBN, Gonski, NDIS, ETS, Environmental Protection, and National Parks, that are in the national interest, and coupled with a now recognized ‘non-emergency with the budget’, are at risk, and indeed in some cases will be dismantled for no other reason than to satisfy vested or financial interests, not solely out of a twisted ideology, but out of insatiable greed. ”

        AdAstra at TPS puts it more eloquently than I :
        “What is it if it is not treason for the Coalition to risk the future of our children and future generations by refusing to take effective action to reduce emissions, slow the rise of global temperatures, and thereby reduce the disastrous consequences of uncontrolled global warming?

        What is it if it is not treason to repeal the only effective measure this nation has to reduce emissions, one that is already working, and substitute for it a Direct Action Plan that no one understands, that has never been properly explained, and that has not been endorsed by climate scientists or economists? What is it if not treason to renege on carbon reduction targets previously agreed to, and to limit expenditure on its own DAP?

        What is it if not treason to ignore the climate data accumulated over many years by thousands of climate scientists, and instead go along with the utterances of non-climate scientists, skeptics, deniers and nutters? What is it if not treason to prefer coal-mining to action to combat global warming?

        What is it if not treason to sack the one government body that was appointed to inform citizens and government about global warming, the Climate Commission?

        What is it if not treason for our national broadsheet to publish countless articles by poorly qualified climate skeptics and deniers, spuriously claiming this is in pursuit of balance, that outnumber those written by recognized and reputable climate scientists?

        Call it what you like, but the actions of the Coalition and elements of the Fourth Estate that threaten the safety of our nation, its people, its agriculture, indeed its capacity to exist on this dry continent, now subject to more and more extreme weather events: more frequent bushfires and floods, more prolonged droughts, more extreme cyclones that wreak more and more devastation, seems to me as treasonous as the actions of those who join the enemy in warfare. Global warming IS the enemy, yet by denying it, by refusing to take effective action to combat it, by destroying the few measures in place that might do so, these elements of our society are JOINING THE ENEMY and threatening the future, the safety, and the wellbeing of us all. That looks like treason to me. ”
        Ad astra

      • Come on Bob. This is no place for reality.

        “The corporate fascists … veil to fool the thoughtlessly gullible”

        Ah John, you are genuinely hilarious but I think the correct expression is “fascist bullyboys” you poor oppressed fellow.

        I’m just one of the gullible millions in this country that want a govt that spends our money (that’s right it’s ours) wisely and carefully for the benefit of all. Not just a protected few. I’ve had it with governments of all hues propping up corporate loses. Like flogging a dead horse.

    • Your long copy/paste reply circled mostly around the definition of treason. Seemingly disagreeing with the groupthink about climate change is now treason. the climate change has failed to produce any warming in the last 15 years, and the change that could (if it exists) possibly be assisted by nuclear power. I don’t recall labor doing much to push nuclear as a viable alternative to our coal power plants, or getting any serious alternative power schemes to market.

      I’d have thought a better mark of treason would be the abject failure of labor to control our borders and who enters our country. to celebrate the unravelling of a policy setting that had allowed us to take our refugee intake from the UN camps rather than the self selecting group coming by boat and bankrolling criminal syndicates.

      The grim determination of the labor party to introduce controls on the media and free speech seems far more damaging to the wellbeing of our country than the useless gesturing of the ETS. I’m sorry the people you cite don’t understand the direct action scheme. Seemingly the basic use of google is beyond them as Greg Hunt explained in plain words how it works on the first page of google results:

      “We will use a reverse auction to buy the lowest cost per tonne abatement. Contrary to what the ALP says, we are source neutral. The lowest cost abatement may be a mix of energy efficiency, cleaning up waste coal mine gas, cleaning up power stations and landfill gas. It may be reafforestation of marginal lands or revegetation or improvement of soil carbon. ”

      If you can get more carbon out of the environment for a cheaper price, why not take it up? Better than shipping money overseas for the likely frauds that we’ll pay for. Nigerian scammers must have been salivating at the thought of all the carbon offsets they could dream up for the ETS when it linked to an international scheme.

      As for NDIS, it might well be fantastic, but it plainly wasn’t top of the priorities for labor to introduce, and is largely uncosted.
      Gonski centralises power in education to canberra. the LNP are keeping the same dollar value from the federals (from recollection) for the forward estimates period. How the states distribute it should be up to them, as education isn’t a federal responsibility.

      • Bob & PeterG,
        Your posts are straight from the LNP trollsters script-sheet.

        it’s pointless to respond to misinformation in your posts with any countering facts, as identifying truth is not what trolls are about.
        Regular contributors to this site are intelligent politically aware citizens – and are not fooled by your ridiculous baits and claims.

        Have a nice Christmas and enjoy your children – they may one day ask why you didn’t protect Earth’s life support ecosystem when success was still possible – will you tell them the truth?

        I do not intend to waste any further effort responding to your mischievous misleading posts.

  3. Keep up the good work Vic, I reckon if Bob Menzies was alive today the first thing he would do is to have Abbott and Co sacked on the spot and Bob would employ some kindergarten children to take these woeful village idiots places in governing Australia.

    Unfortunately the Labor has had a couple of idiot players dealing from the bottom of the deck as well with the fortunes of our vehicle industry. Namely Gough Whitlam reduced the tariff protection down to 33% while the Frazer Government increased the tariffs back to 75% in 1978 and of course that Senator Button who in 1984 said he was providing protectionism to the vehicle industry by allowing an orderly transition to completely open market. Import tariffs were to be reduced from 57% in 1984 to 15% in year 2000 AD.

    I remember those years well as I worked at Fords. But what gets me in 1974 there were about 7,000 vehicle workers in production at the Geelong plant while now there is estimated of about 140 VBU workers at the Geelong plant. So they say. Yes these workers have been replaced by computerised robotic mechanisms stitching the car together with multiples robotic spot welding arms systematically, thus replacing 100’s of production line workers. Same with the assembly line at Broadmedows adding to the combine VUB.

    Heaps of politicians from both sides of the augment have said time and time again. The vehicle industry has to become smart. Like how smart is this with a reduction of 90% of the Fords production workforce. Like Fords has had this automated computerised Komoto press that the sheet steel goes in one end and out the other side comes a completed body side panel complete with A, B and C pillars rear fenders and front crumpling support front fender including roof outer member and floor pan outer member. Like one complete pressing done in minutes. This has taken again at least 30 workers jobs away.

    I like to know how they determine the wage cost factor when 19% of the workforce wages has gone from the balance sheet.

    Fords Geelong plant ran 24 hours a day 7 days a week 52 weeks in the year and that went on for 20 years or more.

    So who has stuffed it all up. The Button Car Plan.

    Oh those Government retraining programs how many bits of paper I have to say I have completed this course or that course and no there was no job at the end of it all and I am still piss off.

  4. I am so angry it should say I would like to know how they determine the wage cost factor when 90% of the past workforce has gone from the balance sheet compared with todays costs of 140 production workers at Fords Geelong. Hell I hate Tony Abbott.

  5. Oh dear Victoria
    how wrong headed this piece is at so many levels.
    In the first instance you mistakenly blame the current government for the demise of Holden manufacturing cars in Australia. It has been a decision in the making for years, I would suggest that this matter is rather like a brain dead patient that has been on life support for many years. You would blame the person who turns off the ventilator for their death rather than the injury that has put them in the ICU in the first place. Simply put Holden can not sell enough cars that they make here, either domestically or by exporting them for the Australian branch to make a profit and with out a profit no business can continue to trade.
    Secondly your piece does not even consider the very generous redundancy payouts that the workers will be receiving or the fact that there will be several more years of continuing manufacturing before the plants actually close. That is good notice by any measure and plenty of time for the affected workers to make new plans for the rest of their lives.

    Finally there is the matter of the cost to the public purse to keep propping up manufacturing. It is not chump change and thanks to the Labor party mismanagement of the nation’s purse strings there is not any money in the kitty available to bribe GM into forestalling the decion that has been pending for years. How long would you have the government keep subsidising Holden?
    How much tax payer money would be too much in your view?
    Where should these funds come from and what other programs should be cut to pay for propping up Holden?

    While its fine to emphasise with those workers who will lose their jobs their plight is not the entire story and any government is obliged to look to the bigger picture, something you seem incapable of seeing, especially when that bigger picture has hard realities to consider.

    • There are lots of reasons to why Fords and General Motors are pulling out of Australia and the reduction of zero tariffs is the main cause of the problem while to many vehicle builders is the other. The other is the fact that far too many imports are costing jobs in Australia.

      This is what Obama said last year. What’s happening in Detroit can happen in other industries. It can happen in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Raleigh. We can’t bring every job back that’s left our shore. But right now, it’s getting more expensive to do business in places like China. Meanwhile, America is more productive. A few weeks ago, the CEO of Master Lock told be that it now makes business sense for him to bring jobs back home. Today, for the first time in 5 years, Master Lock’s unionised plant in Milwaukee is running a full capacity.

      From me this is what I have found out by just reading some facts. Fords is investing billions into new modern plants and factories in the USA while GM America is still having problems with the black cloud of bankrupticy. Obama told GM when he first bailed them out that GM had to wind back their overseas production and bring those jobs back to America for Americans. If the outside world wants our cars then they can import them from us. Now does this make sense to why GM and Fords are winding up shop here in Australia. For there is no level playing field when it comes to Asia and especially China.

      So who is pulling the wool over the Australian public over the last 6 years or so regarding the auto industry here in Australia. Fords has been selling off their prime land holdings. Bunnings is now where Product engineering was for more than 70 years in Geelong.

      Abbot has put the last nail in the coffin when he advised the world that there is not a penny more and actually had cut back on the amount promised to the auto industry at large. I will never refer to Abbott is the Prime Minister of Australia. For if it was good enough for those drongos to lamblasted Julia for the same thing. So why should I. So if that cap fits those who did, then jam it up ya if it fits.

      I feel sorry for those who will never have the chance to work in this magnificent industryand those who about to become members of the scrape heap.

  6. My dreaded keyboard & crankiness at the sanctimonious troll that is Iain Hall led me to make a a couple of typos “old” & just “now’.

    • Joy
      Despite having a chronic pain condition for which I am on Morphine patches I do my “job” of caring, nurturing and educating my children. I do the best I can with the cards that life has dealt me.

      You actually have a Holden? I am amazed because most of those who have been whining about the end of car manufacturing here by GM are either bicycle riding socialists or owners of Asian made wheels.
      So as a supplementary question what model Holden do you own and how old is it?

      • How old our Holden is & what model it is none of your business. No, it isn’t an old clunker, it is a modern car.

      • Why so coy about your ride Joy?
        Is it actually an Australian made Holden, or is it one of their compacts made in Europe or Korea? If it is the former then your ownership has, for the sake of this argument, virtue. But if it is the later then you driving a Holden made overseas has contributed to the decline of car manufacturing here.

        I ask the question to see if you are being a car consumer of enough virtue to be helping Holden continue manufacturing here.
        Will you buy another Holden in the next few years then?
        Or would you consider their Commodore to be too

        That said claiming yours is a “modern car” is meaningless, every car was once “modern” even my 1946 Morris Eight was Modern the day it rolled of the production line.

      • I notice that inane is still using that old excuse of chronic back pain and morphine patches to actually not get a job, if his master the Abbott has his way he will no longer be on a disability pension

      • Thanks Ex-redundent. Fordie, Same to you too. Iain Hall is just a bludging-off-the-taxpayer RWNJ troll who has a superiority complex & thinks that he is brilliant. He is best ignored but sometimes this is difficult to do so, especially when he assumes to know things he hasn’t a clue about. Witness that nonsense about what is “modern” plus the fact he thinks we have a Commodore. He knows nothing about anything. .

      • Joy

        Thanks Ex-redundent. Fordie, Same to you too. Iain Hall is just a bludging-off-the-taxpayer RWNJ troll who has a superiority complex & thinks that he is brilliant.

        I a modest man at heart Joy. However you should not believe the claims of my detractors about my personal circumstances, such claims are entirely spurious.

        He is best ignored but sometimes this is difficult to do so, especially when he assumes to know things he hasn’t a clue about.

        On the contrary I only talk about subjects about which I have a good working knowledge.

        Witness that nonsense about what is “modern” plus the fact he thinks we have a Commodore.

        I see subtle points elude you. When any design is new it is by definition “modern” thus when my Morris was new it was “modern” QED. I asked the question about your Holden but I have never suggested that you own a Commodore. The amusing thing is that your comment makes it clear that you don’t own an Australian made Holden at all! So much for you trying to imply that you do!

        He knows nothing about anything. .

        Clearly I know enough about cars to understand the difference between a Holden made here and an imported model sold as a Holden! 😉

      • Don’t be so hard on Iain. I just took a look at his blog and it appears to be dying, seems it has been for some time. Nobody is interested in his bollocks any more. Even the handful of muppets who comment there regularly seem to be evaporating. Never mind Iain, just take out another morphine patch and look at some porn instead.

      • Actually inane. I have noticed you saying that other people should be driving a commodore, what do you actually drive, that silly noddy car, your British Morris or a Japanese bike, just what do you own Inane, you have asked other people, now you answer????

      • When are going to learn to read properly Paul?
        I am not suggesting that anyone should be obliged to drive Commodores even though I do make the entirely valid point that those making the most fuss about of Holden ceasing making cars here don’t drive Holden cars themselves. As it happens I have owned Holdens in the past and I detail them here( http://iainhall.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/memories-of-my-holdens/ )
        I bet you don’t drive a Holden either, you strike me as Hyundai driver.

      • How nice of you to support the Australian car industry by driving a Nissan Inane, saying people should support the Aussie industry, I’m laughing at you.

      • Inane, you critiquing other people not for driving a Holden and supporting the Aussie car industry, when you yourself drive a Nissan.

        I bet you don’t drive a Holden either, you strike me as Hyundai driver.

        thinking you know me inane, you will never know inane, you truly are pathetic.

      • Paul
        I know you better than you are willing to admit, and certainly better than I care to, even so, as an act of charity I hope that your Christmas is better than I imagine its going to be.

  7. Sorry Victoria, got carried away by that idiot troll Hall & have neglected to thank you for yet another wonderful blog post.

    Your upbringing was special as many in your social strata weren’t so mindful of instilling empathy for others into their children. Thus we now have the Abbotts, Pynes, Bishops, Bernardis, Hockeys of our political world & look at what they are doing to this great country. Trashing it to suit their own self-serving ideologies

  8. It’s a spot on article. I would also like to add that there is ageism in the workforce. Not just by employers, but by human resources and the Job Network Providers. So anyone over the age of fifty looking down the barrel of loosing their job is going to face an uphill battle to find employment.

    The ageist attitude of bosses is an undeniable problem. But researchers at the Brotherhood of St Laurence are finding bosses aren’t the only culprit. “A key issue we’ve identified is the age profile of people working in HR (human resources) and in the government-funded employment agencies,” said Dr Michael McGann, a University of Melbourne academic. “The people in HR doing the hiring are in their 20s and 30s and they’re more likely than older people to discriminate against older people.”

    Dr McGann is in the midst of a research project for the Brotherhood into unemployment among people aged 45 to mid 70s. In his interviews with dozens of people what’s struck him is their sense of having so much to give: “They feel they have so much vigour and experience; they feel completely wasted.” What’s also emerged is what he calls the “white collar support gap.” Many mature-age unemployed people, have degrees. They’ve had successful careers. But they’re being sent to government-funded job agencies for help. (For Newstart recipients attendance is compulsory). “These services are targeted at getting unskilled youngsters into work,” Dr McGann said. “They teach resume writing and how to dress for a job interview, and the people I’m talking about have had a 30-year career in a senior position. We need new thinking about ways to support people from white collar backgrounds into work.”

    And the productivity commission has suggested raising the pension age to 70.

    If you want to read more about what it’s like to be over 50 and trying to get work, then read this article by Adel Horin and the readers comments. http://adelehorin.com.au/2013/12/16/work-till-70-tell-that-to-the-unemployed/#comments

    Particularly interesting was a comment by Lucy Donoghue who had written to Kevin Andrews- the minister for social services. Read his response. It personifies everything that Victoria has written about above.

  9. If the union and the hopeless IR departments at the car companies hadn’t screwed the industry it may have survived.
    Console yourself Alison that for every year of service the workers will get 4 weeks pay up to a max of 100 weeks. As a comparison my building company employees of over 4 yrs standing receive a maximum of 8 weeks. That is a typical reason why I’ll still be in business in 5 yrs and Holden, Ford, Toyota employees won’t be.
    Another example, job interviews the company undertakes must have a union representative present. WTF!
    Sunday work is double time and a half. WTF!
    Rates of pay far exceed other first world countries car manufacturers.
    Simple fact is the industry has been sucking up tax payer dollars to line the pockets of unions, workers and management. They are about to get what they have engineered, their demise.

    Mordy Bromberg put another nail in Toyota worker’s coffin last week. That crusading lefty judge is a joke. I see the Appeals Court just tossed out his recent CFMEU favoured decision.

    • Time and half for the first 2 hours and double time there after has been part of the working hours for almost all people especially the vehicle building industry for 60 years so get you facts clear on that Pal. Thus during those 60 years of production Australia had produced huge profits for the owners of Fords and GM Holden. In the 1970’s and 1980’s Fords and GM Holden were working 24/7 and 7 days a week and employed 30,000 production workers. I haven’t included the white collar workers and the design people within this number. If Australia Auto industry was vibrant then, my question is why isn’t profitable now is the biggest question I have. 4 weeks annual leave has been in for 40 years too. The 38 hour week has been in for 40 odd years, Oh the flexy rostered day a month has also been in for more than 40 years or so.

      So my questions are why has the vehicle industry failed. Too much competition from imported vehicles has killed it and the loss of the export market to the USA for Holden. Australia is a huge land mass stuck out in the Southern Ocean and will always have to depend on sea transportation for all its imported manufactured products. It is far too dangerous to lose our manufacturing capabilities and if we do it will cost Australia dearly in the future.

      • Well said Ex-redundant Ford. Penalty rates of time & 1/2 for working hours outside of 6pm – 7am & Saturday with double time on Sunday & public holidays, as well as overtime, had been part of my normal pay & conditions dating back to (gulp) the 1950s. Malcolm Fraser’s government in the late 70s introduced 6 weeks annual leave for shift workers to compensate for the ungodly hours they worked. This seems to have now been dropped back to 5 weeks.

  10. Excellent article Victoria. Keep upnthe good work. ‘One term Tony’ is my adopted mantra. He is such an inadequate person

  11. How do you guys always find a way to insult the enemy. Where was the blog when ford closed up shop under labour? What happened to independent thinking? Leave that to the cats…

    • Get your facts right Ken. Ford’s hasn’t actually closed up shop from where I sit and look at it daily. Fords has only announced it has planed to close down operations in Australia when the Falcon time line for that particular model runs out in late 2016.

  12. Could any industry maintain manufacturing if they were as ham-strung by union restrictions as the car industry have? Frankly, the unions have strangled the goose that could have laid the golden egg for many more years. And why exactly should the taxpayer subsidise the car industry to the tune of $50k/year/worker? If the industry isn’t profitable due to the conditions they have to work under, then let natural selection relegate it to the history books.

    • So you are blaming the Unions for all this. Goes to show you only listen to Abbott and Co. No it is not the Unions fault as all those hard earned hours and annual leave have been in vogue for more than 40 years. Out of the last 60 years of vehicle production in Australia. It has only been the last 10 years that the industry is failing. Why because there is no such thing as a level playing field with this free trade crap. The industry was booming with profits during the 1970’s-80’s and 1990’s. Huge profits for Fords and GM Holden so get your facts right and by the sounds of it you have never belonged to any union in your life.

      • Ex redundent Ford Worker from the 1980’s

        The problem is clearly that it has become unprofitable to make cars here combined with the fact that the Australian made models are no longer what Aussie customers want to buy. even if they were competitively priced, which they aren’t. Further the way that workers are remunerated has contributed to both Ford and Holden being uncompetitive.

        Now as sweet as it has been for workers to get penalty rates we no longer live in a 9 to 5 world where almost everyone does not work on weekends or at night.
        The thing is we live in a different world to the seventies and eighties that you so eulogise and as such industry has to change or die. Unions insisting on keeping penalty rates has certainly been a factor here but so to has our small market size and the high value of our dollar.

      • So we should also compare plumbers, carpenters, bricklayers. What about teachers, nurses. ambos, The lets get into the rough and include lawyers, doctors and why not include Politicians too. So if you think it is only the vehicle builders who work just as hard as those from the past do not deserve their income to survive in Australia and buy a house. No houses are out of reach from the average worker these days because of the high costs involved with those generous Negative Gearing tax breaks paid through the nose from the Tax Payer funded government subsiders so these entrepreneurs can buy more houses to be included in their business portfolio.

        So lets look at the average vehicle builder level 1 which is $645 per week, If a vehicle builder reaches level 4 the highest you can go under the award system is $708 per week. Now we will compare plumbers on the lowest of all wages which is $730 per week who have just finished their trade and for those who are highly skilled plumbers receiving as much as $1711 per week.

        So both Ian Hall and this Bob fellow wouldn’t have a clue. At least I have been there and done that where I would say by what you two fellows write is that you haven’t got of the couch from watching Abbott the Rabbott on TV.

      • Ignore Iain Wanker Hall, Ex redundant Ford. He sits at his computer whacked out on the morphine he’s addicted to & waffles on with his pretend arguments. Wait till Kevin Andrews takes his benefits off him then he’ll be screaming. He hasn’t worked a day in his life so what would he know. Yes, I am making the same assumptions about him as he does about everybody else. When he says he KNOWS ALL about you it is part of his troll way of trying to frighten people but of course he is, also, a known vindictive stalker.

        As for Bob & his visceral incomprehensible hatred of the union movement, it is beyond laughable. The Holden workers have been named, by their bosses, as some of the most productive at GM & have been on a wage freeze for some time now. Stop spouting News Corpse crap.

      • compare the conditions that the car workers enjoy to the average worker, and tell me with a straight face that they aren’t feather-bedded to the hilt.

        What i know of unions is that in workplaces with strong unions, productivity is lower, there is less cooperation with making the company more efficient. unions do have a role to play in the industrial relations marketplace, but they have for far too long driven a wedge between the workers and the bosses. and i know this from observing workplaces in the same industry (and even within the same company) that are either unionised or with a lower union presence.

      • Having been in the Car industry does not really matter when it comes to the meta issues. Ex redundant Ford Worker from the 1980′s what matters is that the commercial environment has changed and that we can not go on pretending that we are back in the halcyon days when you made Falcons (do I blame you for the faults in the falcons that I have owned?) We live in a globalised world and as much as I agree with you that we would be better off making more stuff here it is way past the point where we can stop the trend and governments can not be expected to endlessly subsidise the car industry.

      • Joy
        Why are you so lacking the spirit of the season?
        My medication has absolutely no euphoric effects, sometimes I wish otherwise but mostly I just wish that it was more effective at addressing the reason I take the medication.

        You seem to be very angry and bitter at me which makes me think that our paths have crossed before, where would that have been I wonder?

      • No, Hall, I believe you are a complete & utter joke & waste of space. This little black duck has never been bitter in her life so why would I waste such on a troll. As for anger I save that for true injustices. Either would mean I have some feelings about you which do not exist. You are a nonentity.

      • Joy
        Your own words betray you for the very bitter and angry person you so clearly are. There is simply no other reason for you to address me the way that you do and for your continued personal attacks.

  13. Yes the high cost of the Australian dollar is more to blame as well. I know that.

    Like all manufactured exports these days, it is the cost of those exports derived from the high wages so some economics say. But is this really true of false. Then these assumptions seems a bit silly, when Australia is sending millions of tons of rock and dirt in the name of mining overseas per day at the same high costs for labour and transportation to the ports and loading those mega ships, must also be considered in the cost factor. It is more than likely to say those few mining magnets who are reaping billions profits per year and are shirking their tax obligations are at fault too. Ah!!!! and the bottom line is, that they are going to make more billions when they go into overdrive with their computerised mining methods without the use of human workers. Yes they are going computerised robotization with their heavy vehicles, yes without drivers at the wheel and these vehicles are loaded the same way and emptied by the same system by the touch of one person sitting behind a desk with his hands on the keyboard. The same sort of system has also been running to this extent for years in the vehicle industry but not as sophisticated as the trial mining industry test mine in West Australia.

    So where is your logic to say it is the vehicle builders fault for the collapse of the exports markets from their high cost of wages without including the high cost of the Australian dollar. The there is the reduction of the pay load by 90% compared to the cost of those good old days. No you pair haven’t done your homework have you.

    • You answer your own question here Ex redundant Ford Worker from the 1980′s the cost of making something is always in the sights of every business owner and they will endlessly seek ways to minimise those costs in the search for profit. and on top of that we live in an interrelated economy where every thing influences every other part of the economy.

    • I have read your just about most of your criticisms on many a post Mr Hall and you always fail to base your actuations on facts. Assumptions are not facts. So by looking at the facts and analyse what has changed, we know that from the world economy crashing in the overseas markets in 2008 that was caused by failures within capitalism and greed like Lehman Brothers and Merril Lynch from Wall Street Bankers and the likes had been playing at. The world economies of scale had suffered dearly. The world has far to many vehicle manufactures fighting for the limited demand in the market due to job losses world wide. These manufactures who are exporting their subsidise vehicles into Australia have caused a lot of the problem here in Australia. It is NOT the car workers fault.

      Not one of you have stated just how much they the Vehicle Builders Union members actual earn per week. Have you. No you don’t know how to compare either. Like it is not that hard to find out, is it. Teachers and nurses are paid more than these workers. So check them out and get your facts right. The only thing that has changed economically is the cost of electricity and imported materials like steel. Over the last the main running costs which has risen 70% over the last 8 years is electricity due to the fact of privatisation and not the Carbon Tax which was set at 10%. It is those gold plated wires and poles were are paying for. Having included a couple of the other external forces driving the cost of production up and up here in Australia along with the very high Australian Dollar to boot with. I have come to the conclusion you two haven’t check anything out at all. What I have stated are facts and not hypothetical assumptions which you base your augments on. You assumptions are based on those one liners by you idol Abbott and Co.

      • Ex redundant Ford

        I have read your just about most of your criticisms on many a post Mr Hall and you always fail to base your actuations on facts. Assumptions are not facts.

        When facts are necessary I produce them but we are chatting on a blog so the currency is opinion .

        So by looking at the facts and analyse what has changed, we know that from the world economy crashing in the overseas markets in 2008 that was caused by failures within capitalism and greed like Lehman Brothers and Merril Lynch from Wall Street Bankers and the likes had been playing at.

        Surely it is within the nature of capitalism that there will be successes and failures of individual enterprises no matter how big they are? That said I am no fan of the Greed is good mentality of big business and I think that most most fo the stock-market is just a sophisticated from of gambling and I instinctively dislike gambling.

        The world economies of scale had suffered dearly. The world has far too many vehicle manufactures fighting for the limited demand in the market due to job losses world wide. These manufactures who are exporting their subsidise vehicles into Australia have caused a lot of the problem here in Australia. It is NOT the car workers fault.

        Largely agree with that But attributing blame does not lessen the problem now does it? Further given that circumstance is there any chance that the Aussie government would be able to stop the inevitable?

        Not one of you have stated just how much they the Vehicle Builders Union members actual earn per week. Have you. No you don’t know how to compare either. Like it is not that hard to find out, is it. Teachers and nurses are paid more than these workers.

        Why would knowing the precise amount paid to care workers make any difference to the argument? The pertinent fact is that Aussie car workers are being paid many times the rate paid to workers doing the same job overseas. As for the money paid for teachers and nurses that is not a valid comparison because they are not in industries that are expected to make a product or a profit.

        So check them out and get your facts right. The only thing that has changed economically is the cost of electricity and imported materials like steel. Over the last the main running costs which has risen 70% over the last 8 years is electricity due to the fact of privatisation and not the Carbon Tax which was set at 10%.

        Perhaps you need to get your argument straight Ex redundant Ford. I agree that materials and energy costs have gone up substantially over the last eight years, its all part of the equation that includes the cost of wages so you can’t suggets that this undisputed fact lets the cost of wages off the hook.

        It is those gold plated wires and poles were are paying for. Having included a couple of the other external forces driving the cost of production up and up here in Australia along with the very high Australian Dollar to boot with. I have come to the conclusion you two haven’t check anything out at all. What I have stated are facts and not hypothetical assumptions which you base your augments on. You assumptions are based on those one liners by you idol Abbott and Co.

        I don’t Idolise any Pollie even though I do rate Abbott as currently the best option for the PM job. You seem to have the mistaken idea that you can blame shift the demise of Holden entirely onto energy costs and the High Aussie dollar, both of which are factors in play here but so to is the the high wages that you want to deny have played a part in the matter.

  14. Were not just chatting here you silly person. Were are in serious trouble here in Australia while you Abbott lovers couldn’t care less. End of story, move on to somewhere else, like into the children’s domain even they would find your wisdom hard to take.

    • Ex redundent Ford Worker from the 1980’s

      Of course we are just chatting here this is not the parliament where our discussions would make a real difference we are here on a blog shooting the breeze.
      And you are wrong to think that I don’t care, I care a great deal but I have the humility to understand that there are many things that I just can’t change and that ist equally pointless to get upset by that fact.

      • I noticed that inane is not answering the questions given to him again, avoiding the argument, and inane, you do not know me, but everyone knows about you.

      • Inane, if 50 percent of the population thinks the way you think we would be up shit creek, with a shit government leading this country, hang on we do have a shit government and they have only been in for just over 3 months, it is going to be a long 3 years of piss-ants like you that we have to listen to, and this lying government hiding behind Credlin’s skirt.

  15. You’re so interesting! I don’t suppose I’ve truly read through a single thing like that before.
    So good to find somebody with some unique thoughts on this subject matter.
    Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is something that’s needed on the web, someone with a little originality!

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