The Liberals have launched an extraordinarily vicious attack on Ford on the day of the Victorian election.
Shadow Industry Minister Senator Kim Carr said the Abbott Government’s vindictiveness shows how out of touch the Liberals are with the concerns of ordinary Australians, particularly in the key automotive state of Victoria, and demonstrates their active opposition to the industries and jobs Victorians need.
“The baseless attack on Ford relying on leaked, confidential and questionable figures published today is nothing short of disgraceful,” Senator Carr said.
“It is part of the Abbott Government’s continued vendetta against the automotive manufacturing industry and the more than 200,000 Australians it employs, directly and indirectly.
“Not content with destroying automotive manufacturing in this country, this petty and vindictive government is doing all it can to force an early closure of the industry, without concern for the disastrous consequences this will have for workers and communities.
“Automotive manufacturing employs almost 100,000 people in Victoria, yet Mr Napthine has little concern for these workers and their future. Denis Napthine couldn’t even be bothered contributing to a recent senate inquiry examining the Abbott Government’s plan to slash $900 million in automotive assistance: a move that will jeopardise any chance these workers and supply chain businesses have of transitioning to a future in advanced manufacturing.
“Victorians going to the polls today should be asking themselves why Tony Abbott and Denis Napthine are so intent on seeing so many workers lose their jobs and why they are sabotaging any opportunity these workers have to retrain and find other employment.
“For our part, Labor will be pursuing how these alleged ‘confidential figures’ came into the public domain. The disclosure of commercial-in-confidence material by the Federal Government would have far-reaching and damaging ramifications. In the case of the Automotive Transformation Scheme, it may constitute a breach of the law.
“This smells rotten, like a vengeful retaliation by the Government against Labor’s determination to block their cuts in the Senate that would lead to early closures.
“Ford has been employing and training Australians since 1925. It does not deserve the appalling treatment being meted out by the Abbott Government.
“Between 2007 and 2012, Ford invested more than $1.9 billion in its Australian product development operations. Labor’s modest co-investment helped secure this enormous local spend and ensure that Ford retains critical research and development operations in Australia once manufacturing ceases.
“Without Labor’s support for the automotive industry in Australia we would have seen hundreds of thousands of people lose their jobs at the height of the Global Financial Crisis.
“Minister Macfarlane is suggesting that Labor should have stood back and allowed the recession and catastrophic unemployment levels experienced in other parts of the world play out in Victoria or South Australia.
“Thankfully for those states, the Federal Labor Government stepped in to ensure those workers, their families and communities were spared such a fate.
“This is a petty and vindictive government that has been attacking the automotive industry since the day it took office. What we saw today was a continuation of the bullying, short-sighted and destructive behaviour that characterises the Abbott Government.”
SATURDAY, 29 NOVEMBER 2014