Queensland MP Bob Katter has dressed up as the Grim Reaper outside Parliament House in Canberra to protest against the demise of Australia’s car industry.
Clad in black gown, the federal member for Kennedy held up a scythe and signs that read “Free Market = Aust’s car crash” and “Holden on to Aussie jobs” on Thursday morning as a parade of classic Holdens drove past.
His unusual protest came hours before he introduced a motion in the House of Representatives on Thursday calling for support for a revitalised car manufacturing industry with a majority Australian shareholding – and to ensure that all cars bought by the federal government are locally made.
“In the next 12 months, no matter what happens, the government will buy 40,000 cars… when this started off it was unthinkable a government would buy a car from overseas,” Mr Katter said.
“If you want to double the value of the dollar we can all go and buy cheaper lollipops but it doubled the value of a Holden compared with a car from overseas.
“We’ve got to do some reaping here.”
Mr Katter’s motion later failed after the Coalition used its numbers in the House to vote it down.
Mr Katter said the government controlled which industries survived and which didn’t – and if every government car was Australian built, Holden “would be in a very different position today”.
In February, Holden’s parent company General Motors said it would shut the brand by the end of 2020. The move is likely to cost about 600 jobs and followed GM’s decision to close Holden’s Australian manufacturing operations in 2017.