Senate debates

Monday, 9 December 2013

Matters of Public Importance

Automotive Industry

5:05 pm

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (Victoria, Liberal Party, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education) Share this | Hansard source

And before you open your mouth, Senator Farrell, I say this because I saw it in my own family. I say this because I saw my father lose his job when the first phase of the automotive industry went in the John Button car plan, when truck manufacturing closed down in Australia. Thousands of people—blue-collar workers—lost their jobs, never to get meaningful employment again. I saw that in my own family.

So before people assume that there is a motive or a lack of compassion in this, I urge them to consider the experiences that people all around this building may have, despite the legitimate disagreements.

This is a very important debate, but it is not a debate that can be based on deceitful statistics. This was covered in Senate estimates in great detail. To say there are 200,000 jobs dependent on automotive manufacturing in Australia is wrong—absolutely and utterly wrong, admitted by the Department of Industry in Senate estimates and admitted by the industry when it is put to them. There are just under 50,000 people who work in the automotive assembling, manufacturing and components industry in Australia. The difference between those two numbers is explained when you consider the entire automotive sector, which includes people that sell and service a Mazda or a VW or another imported vehicle. It is not fair to somehow count their jobs in the Australian—


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