An Australian Owned Electric Vehicle Manufacturing Industry Will Have Wide Support
Written by: Ned K. on 6 January 2022
General Motors and other multinational car manufacturers destroyed the vehicle manufacturing industry in Australia by transferring production to other countries to make more profits. The only politician in Australia who ever came out strongly in favour of a nationalised car industry was former Whitlam Government Minister Mick Young who said "Nationalise GMH".
Many years later in 2022 the former General Motors Holden plant at Elizabeth in South Australia is still there, an empty shell waiting to produce something, with hundreds of unemployed or semi-employed young people in surrounding suburbs looking for a secure job to build a life for themselves and their young families.
ALP leader Albanese promises a Very Fast Train will be built under a Labor Government. It will have widespread support if is largely designed and manufactured in Australia at places like the old General Motors plant at Elizabeth, alongside design and manufacture of electric vehicles designed for Australian conditions.
Australia has the engineering skills to design and manufacture electric vehicles here. What is needed is political will to do it.
The two biggest economic powers, USA and China, despite their intensifying political rivalry on a global scale, also collude when it comes to economics.
This is the case with electric vehicle manufacturing.
For example, Tesla Inc designs and manufactures electric cars, battery energy storage from home to grid scale, solar panels and roof tiles. Tesla was started by a group of engineers in 2003 committed to making profits from electric vehicle design and manufacture as they could see the writing on the wall for a fossil-fuelled economy.
Now the company has revenue of $31.5 billion from the productive work of USA workers AND Chinese workers. Tesla, despite the rivalry between USA and China, has a gigafactory in Shanghai which produces electric vehicles at the rate of 450,000 per year. It has another gigafactory in Austin Texas which is about to commence production.
Tesla also has a small outlet in South Australia at the advanced design and manufacturing hub at the former Mitsubishi vehicle manufacturing plant at Tonsley Park in Adelaide.
A couple of days ago Tesla announced it has opened an electric vehicle store in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China!
This has occurred despite the political "air war" between Biden and Xi Jinping about US allegations of mass murder of Uyghurs. The set-up of the new Tesla store in the Autonomous Region of China comes at a time when Biden beats his chest about the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.
If a US multinational company like Tesla can set up a huge production plant for electric vehicle manufacture in the US's supposed "enemy number one", then workers in Australia have every right to demand that the promises by Labor about a new Very Fast Train be extended to guarantee government support for an Australian owned electric vehicle design and manufacturing industry.
Such a demand will test whether Labor is willing to commit to break (in a small way) Australia's dependence on big imperialist powers for the people's basic needs, which include industries based on renewable energy, one of which is electric vehicles. However, as a party of capitalism and a cheerleader for US imperialism and neo-liberalism, it is unlikely that Labor will deliver on even this small step.
It all points to the need for the Australian working class to fight for anti-imperialist independence and to seize the authority in, and become master of, a new state which introduces socialism. This is the only real guarantee that common-sense decisions like Australian production of electric vehicles will be introduced and supported.
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