Prime Minister Julia Gillard's recent cabinet reshuffle is still creating waves, both in government and externally.
The AMWU Vehicle Division issued a press release just prior to Christmas in support of Senator Kim Carr (pictured), formerly minister for innovation and industry, within cabinet — but now demoted to the position of junior minister for manufacturing and defence materiel.
Ian Jones, National Divisional Secretary of the union, was quoted in the press release offering his unambiguous support for the Senator, who has been an indefatigable advocate for the local manufacturing industry.
“Senator Carr has worked tirelessly to promote the automotive industry and secure the 60,000 jobs in it,” Jones was quoted saying in the press release. “The new investment attracted during the Global Financial Crisis was unprecedented in the developed world. A large part of it was due to Senator Carr’s efforts and his judicious use of the Green Car Innovation Fund (GCIF) that the Prime Minister unilaterally abandoned.
“The abolition of the Green Car Innovation Fund (GCIF) was bad policy. It was a betrayal of the workers who made the sacrifices through the GFC and the industry that has invested billions in transforming Australia’s automotive industry.”
While the Senator clearly misses his former status in cabinet, he is still heavily involved in local manufacturing through his new portfolio. As the AMWU sees it, the Senator's visit to Detroit next month will aim to convince GM and Ford that the Australian government still cares about the local manufacturing industry, despite manufacturing — and the Senator himself — being dumped from Cabinet.
“The chickens are coming home to roost from the short sighted decisions about the GCIF and manufacturing,” Jones further commented. “Senator Carr always demonstrated his commitment to Australian manufacturing and Australian high skilled jobs. He is doing so again. He will be doing his best despite a Prime Minister who has shown that she does not understand the industry. It is important that his mission is a success because 60,000 families are relying on it to be a success to put food on the table.”
It's a forthright stance that only a strong union can deliver to its own party in government and the AMWU secretary clearly echoes the views of FCAI President and Holden MD, Mike Devereux, although the Holden boss's views are a little more circumspect. Devereux recently delivered a speech to the National Press Club, outlining the importance of the local manufacturing industry in this country. It was reportedly the first such speech from an incumbent President of the FCAI to the National Press Club in something like 40 years.
Read the latest news and reviews on your mobile, iPhone or PDA at carsales' mobile site...