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An Open Letter to Holden MD, Mike Devereux

Dear Mike Devereux,

I am writing you this open letter as a concerned South Australian. Please don’t shut down your Holden manufacturing business in Australia. I know you are working hard with the big wigs at General Motors in the US, and I know Australia’s most incompetent Prime Minister of all time is making your job really difficult. But I just hope you don’t let Abbott’s stupidity destroy the car manufacturing industry in Australia forever.

I must admit I’m as confused as you are about Abbott’s recent statements regarding government funding to car manufacturers. Before the election it was almost impossible to hold him down to an actual policy, and even when he did provide some detail, the mainstream media didn’t bother to scrutinise any of it. But I did find this reference from August, to something Abbott apparently said:

“If the motor manufacturers want to come to us after the election, obviously they can and we will sit down and we will have an adult discussion with them about trying to ensure that those ­industries have a strong future, because that’s what all of us want.”

Note the word ‘adult’. I guess that sort of statement put lots of uninformed voters at ease. But what’s not putting anyone at ease now is the realisation that the words Abbott used to describe his potential behavior as Prime Minister appear to be the opposite of how he actually intended to behave. Calm. Mature. Adult. More like rabble. Chaos. Childish. Joke.

In fact, Abbott’s government is turning out not just to be a comedic joke, but is actually becoming depressingly dangerous. And their shenanigans in their negotiations with your business could be their most damaging legacy. I’m guessing you, like me, are beside yourself with rage that Abbott would be so flippant about a decision that is going to destroy the lives of thousands of Australian workers and their families. I know you know all these facts, but I’m reminding you again to show just how serious this situation is. In Adelaide, Holden’s decision to leave Australia could cost 30,000 jobs when you include all the component and parts manufacturers becoming unviable after Holden leaves. Anyone with the ability to count can easily understand the economic equation in favour of providing government funding to Holden to enable you to keep producing cars in Australia. Quite simply it will cost the country far less in monetary and social costs to give Holden government funding to stay, rather than paying possibly generations of jobless members of our community a lifetime of unemployment assistance once their industry disappears.

All us rational thinkers understand why every car producing country in the world provides government assistance to car manufacturers. The benefits of keeping a manufacturing industry alive instead of crushing communities through endemic unemployment are impossible to quantify in monetary terms only. But the problem we’re facing is that the man who is in charge of the decision to provide the government assistance your company needs to justify making cars in Australia, is too incompetent to make the right decision. You see Mike, as I’m sure you’re finding, this is all a big game to Abbott. He thinks he’s playing chess with you, but the problem is, he doesn’t even know how to set up a chessboard. He’s currently bouncing sideways like a broken ping pong ball, reiterating that the government won’t give any more funding to car manufacturers, whilst also contradicting himself by putting off an official announcement until after the Productivity Commission delivers their report, whilst also ignoring your very clear deadline of Christmas this year. And now he’s saying he wants Holden to clarify your position, after his government colleagues have been leaking to the press about your apparent plans to shut down, which no one at Holden can confirm as fact. This is beyond chaos. This is farcical.

Holden's Mike Devereux (image from

Holden’s Mike Devereux (image from

We just need you to hold on Mike, and don’t let Abbott put you off Australia. I’m really sorry about his behaviour. I’m sorry this country was fooled by three word slogans. I’m sorry so much of the business community got behind Abbott too. To think, Abbott claims his government is open for business. But apparently, Mike, no one read the fine print on this slogan. You see, Abbott is only open for business if you are open to helping him, personally. He doesn’t care about Holden workers’ jobs. He only cares about him and his mates. Like Gina Rinehart who is set to reap great returns from her investment into Abbott’s campaign, with Abbott currently working to remove the Mining Tax just for her and her fellow fat cats. And in doing this, he’s getting rid of tax revenue which could easily be used to fund the very affordable assistance to car manufacturers to keep you employing Australian workers. I can’t understand why even the most disengaged voters can’t see that this whole situation is blatantly ridiculous.

And that’s the other thing that upsets me about Abbott’s stupidity. Rinehart’s mining industry, which gets various types of government tax-breaks and subsidies, employs only around one seventh of the number of South Australians employed in manufacturing in this state. And Rinehart can’t take her business elsewhere because the dirt she needs is here. If she is forced to pay a super-profits tax on her already outrageous profits, that’s no disincentive for her to run her business here, because she can only make the money here. This is how her father set her up for a million consecutive lifetimes of fortune. But Holden cars can be made anywhere. Anywhere a government values employment and productivity growth. Anywhere a government understands the multiplier effect of investing in an industry to support the economy. This is simple economic theory. Again, I know you know this, but I’m just trying to show you that I feel your pain.

I implore you Mike. Don’t let Australia’s village idiot of a Prime Minister ruin this great country through sheer ideological fundamentalism and intellectual inadequacy. And please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help keep Holden here.

Yours Sincerely
Victoria Rollison



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  1. whatismore

    You’ve nailed it again Victoria, thanks.

  2. lawrencewinder

    V. R. lovely job.
    Pity we don’t have Impeachment clauses in our Constitution.

  3. Rob

    Pardon, rest of the world. Australia is experiencing technical difficulties. Best to kick us out for a while until we can sort out our bozos and get back to you with some people who are able to comprehend science, economics and have a soul. Our top nob can’t even read an electricity bill so it may take either a long while if his condition is contagious or a short while if he chokes on his shoes. Carry on with the good work, we’ll meet you at the top of the bell curve.

    The Readers.

  4. Paul Scahill

    Victoria, you always know exactly how I feel and you put my thoughts into words so well. Thanks!

  5. rossleighbrisbane

    Interesting how their mantra has gone from a Bob the Builder, “Can we fix it? Yes we can!” to “nothing to do with us”!
    In fact, it’s hard to think of a single POSITIVE initiative that this government has introduced in its first three months.

  6. Nana N Pa Moran

    Well Put Victoria!!!!.

    As a person who Worked for GMH for 14 years in the 60s through to the 80s & have a son who currently works in the auto component industry & a grandson who wants to complete An Apprenticeship at GMH Elizabeth. I am seriously concerned what these Village Idiots in Canberra and their State Counterparts Are doing to the Vehicle Industry it amazes me that some village Idiot in Canberra leaks to The ABC (of All Media Players) and suddenly the crisis turns on Holden and despite clear denials they are the villains not the village idiots who created the uncertainty. Still running a country require more than three word slogans and a book full of motherhood statements

  7. Ricardo29

    When Labor finally regains power with a chastened and serious membership and hopefully sooner rather than later, perhaps in rewriting the constitution they can include a recall clause which would allow us to get rid of any government as bad as this one is. Meanwhile Victoria, keep up the good work.

  8. Joe Banks

    Victoria, this is a masterpiece. I hope Mike Devereux will read it and send copies to everyone involved in the decision about Holden’s future in Australia. After all, Holden are probably very confused about what the ‘adults’ in charge of Australia will do next. Your line, “…Abbott’s government is turning out not just to be a comedic joke, but is actually becoming depressingly dangerous…” is 100% correct. Deceptive phrases and slogans got Tony Abbott and his cowboys into government but it takes much more to run a country. Regarding the so called ‘adults’ – my wife exploded this morning and said, “You can’t become an ‘adult’ just by putting a bit of lipstick on and pretending you’re grown up”.
    Victoria, you really must consider a future in politics. You are badly needed on the front bench.

  9. John Fraser


    It would appear that government subsidies to "Holden" are costing Australians about the price of a cup of coffee a day ( apparently it is all coffee … not just latte).

    "Slick" Abbott has stated that his government will NOT "chase companies down the road waving a blank cheque".

    But "Slick" Abbott's government is "open for business" when it comes to 80,000 Australians chasing him down the road trying to get a dole cheque.

    Rough figures mean that those unemployed Australians will cost the government approximately $3 billion a year.

    But what price unemployment ?

    ps : the ABC costs every Australian between 10 cents and 14 cents a day.

    priceless !

  10. Dan Rowden

    All us rational thinkers understand why every car producing country in the world provides government assistance to car manufacturers.

    Ah, nice piece of well poisoning.

  11. kts350

    well said totally agree

  12. randalstella

    We could be subsidising a public transport industry; and propping that up to survive. Its employment and skills-enhancement prospects are far wider; particularly as it would work with environmental and energy-efficiency programmes, and new technologies. It has an economic future; in the real sense of “economic”. It could allow the nation some wriggle room from the domination of forward planning by foreign corporations.

    The Freedom Machine is the oxymoron with global priority. It is complicit in U.S. foreign policy; the devastating wars on Iraq; the continual turmoil in the Middle East. The car is murdering the planet.

  13. Cookie

    Victoria, I’m impressed. You’ve clarified my thoughts [which are normally more confused than the muddle-headed wombat] and given me ammunition when debating the Abbott-loving bogans I often surf with. [I can’t really blame them….They read the Telecrap and listen to Hadley]. I’m referring more and more people to this website hoping they may “see the light”.

  14. Mike

    Dear oh dear………… what you fail to realise is that even if Holden didn’t close their doors next year, they would do it within five years…. in fact, I doubt ANY cars, ANYWHERE in the world will be manuvactured beyond the next five to ten years.

    The happy motoring era is as good as over. NO FUEL…….

  15. Paul Raymond Scahill

    Viictoria Rollinson, Alan Austin, John Lord, etc., you all know who you are, you all describe “The Village Idiot” so well. May I just say to you all that my wife and I wish you all the very best for the festive season and post haste we rid this country of Abbott and has adults, (including that ludicrous speaker) and get a real government in charge. At this stage even Christine Milne looks a better alternative than the “Mad Monk”. Anyhow keep up the good work, this present situation can not last forever.

  16. Anomander

    And if you decide to stay Mike, can you please have a look at the market and start making cars that are in demand? Smaller, more efficient hybrid or electric cars instead of thumping great V6’s and V8’s, both of which are relics from an age of bogan excess?

  17. bjkelly1958

    Well put, Victoria. The debate could well be out of Mike Devereux’s hands, though. Mike Moore, remember him?, just posted a piece explaining that the US government is selling its 60% share in General Motors, at a US$10 billion loss. Left to its own devices and the activities of the open market, Holden’s parent company will not survive for long. They can’t compete with Asian car manufacturers, neither can we.

    It is time for a responsible Australian government (so that excludes the present one) to invest in other areas of manufacture, at a level sustainable by our population and for which there is a tangible market.

    It would also help if we didn’t sign up to dangerous agreements like the TPP.

  18. diannaart

    I do know I want Australia to be more about manufacturing, I also know manufacturing petrol guzzling cars is not the way of the future.

    All that GMH has done is suck up taxpayer dollars – with nothing to show for it. For this reason I don’t think I really want Mike Devereux to further leach off Australia.

    I admit I am no economist – however, I do not understand why our governments (of any side) do not invest in sustainable industry for the future. I know that sounds really simplistic, because such investment would really piss-off all those stock brokers, mining moguls, bank execs and other parasites – and they understand money now don’t they?

  19. The Real News News (@oz_house)

    Appealing to capitalist snakes? Priceless fail AIMN! The snakes just want to leech what they can and then they will leave for the greener slave pastures later. Australia is a mature market. A nice way of saying ‘it’s over’. Capitalism has finished expansion here. The cappo’s are looking for wild growth elsewhere, they have no interest in hanging around mature markets with pitiful growth.

    If we give Holden money – we should be buying into the company, the decision making and the profits.

    Ideally, If they want to leave, we should say good riddance, unions should push for the company to be re-opened as a worker co-op the next day and go on the attack. But I wouldn’t expect Australian unions to be left wing. AWU bossman has a regular column in the Australian Financial Review. You know your union has been co-opted by the right wing when the boss has a regular column in a capitalists rag. I personally call that a fn conflict of interest… who’s side is he on mate??? He claims to represent workers yet the corporate capitalists are the ones publishing his drivel.

    America’s most prominent Marxist economist Professor Richard D. Wolff – talking about a new strategy for unions and the left instead of the standard take wage cuts and pay company to stay… which is simply slowing down the inevitable and making people hate unions – because they are always losing ground to capitalist snakes.

    Worker Coops and a New Strategy for Labor

    This appeal to a capitalist snake also reeks of ‘everything is Abbott’s fault’… as if the ALP never adopted Milton Friedman’s economics and went all right wing privatizing everything, locking up asylum seekers, smashing unions from within, helping the capitalists to suppress wages etc. IF the ALP did so well, why are we even having this discussion?

    I feel like I need to come over there, slap Mike Devereux dick out of AIMN’s mouth and explain who’s side you are on.

    My two cents.

  20. Pingback: Automobile deathwatch | Damn the Matrix

  21. Mike

    @The Real News……

    SPOT ON.

    Spot on too diannaart…… we should encourage Holden to close their doors, and reopen them to build wind turbines while we still have some oil left to do it with……

  22. diannaart


    ….or leave the production line in place and construct electric cars from the recycled parts of unsold Holdens.


  23. Pingback: The consequences of Holden leaving Australia | Tim Haslett's Blog

  24. David Lawrence (@nurlutta)

    Might look better if you had a photo of Holden employees fitting the dash panel into the car and not Toyota employees.

  25. Roswell

    But it’s a Holden car.

  26. mikestasse

    diannaart…… I find it so ironic that the company that owns Holden is going broke partly due to their electric car….. Nearly two years after the introduction of the path-breaking plug-in hybrid, GM is still losing as much as $49,000 on each Volt it builds, according to estimates provided to Reuters by industry analysts and manufacturing experts. More about electric cars at that link.

    Electric cars will NEVER replace what we have now. For starters, you STILL need oil to make them, not least mining the Lithium which is almost exclusively extracted from a salt lake in Bolivia….. the Saudi Arabia of Lithium.

    As demand for Lithium skyrockets for electricity storage in the future electric grid and EVs, the cost of Lithium will escalate, just like the cost of oil has.

    Even if we did do a big switch to EVs we would only postpone the inevitable end of happy motoring for ten years at most…..

  27. Kaye Lee

    mikestasse, I understand your concern but I don’t see the point of doom and gloom without positive suggestions. Raise awareness by all means, but if you are just suggesting that we give up and spend our last few days rocking in a corner waiting for the end, then I’m not sure I can join you.

  28. mikestasse

    Kaye Lee……….. NEVER do I suggest “giving up”

    What I am on about is that EVERYTHING we do is about to change. We have to change our living arrangements. Change as great as the Industrial Revolution is on our door step. It will be the De-Instrial Revolution. There are NO ‘solutions’ to keeping business as usual going, only change.

    We need an economy that does not rely on debt and jobs. Otherwise Climate Change for one will kill us all. I’m hoping it’s not too late……

  29. diannaart


    1. I am aware we still require derivatives from oil for manufacture. I guess I appear ignorant – will, therefore, disabuse you of that appearance.

    2. Electric cars are merely a part of a raft of alternative transport in the future.

    a) My brother-in-law has moved from designing electrical gizmo’s for high performance cars into designing electrical gizmo’s for electric cars – he now derives the bulk of his work from working in engineering electrical cars.

    3. Please note I also recommended recycling in the production of E-cars – a bit facetious on the unsold Holdens, I admit – but I thought I was making a point that instead of scrunching unwanted cars into blocks, we can do better at recycling the plastics, metals and other components.

    4. GM lost $ on their E-cars – does not prove that E-cars are a failure, rather GM failed.

    5. Yes, Lithium is expensive, that is why one of the most researched is an alternative. Like gas is for transitional energy, lithium is a transition towards long-life batteries. R&D into long life batteries is moving along very nicely, thank you.

    Finally, Mike, you can always be relied upon to be negative – this is not the same as playing devil’s advocate – your posts are doom and gloom – I can understand why, because our ‘leaders’ are so ignorant that sometimes I think they were all cloned in some kind of vat controlled by star-chambers such as the IPA or Heartland institute.

    However, giving up is not the answer. Using the abandoned factories as some corporations jump the good ship Australia is part of the answer. So is recycling as much as possible to conserve our remaining fossil fuels.

  30. mikestasse

    I refute being “domm and Gloom”. I advocate changing before change itself kills us.

    All this stuff about building EVs merely adds to greenhouse emissions. You can pretend it isn’t so, but it won’t go away. I believe Climate Change is getting so dire, right now, that if we don’t pull the plug on manufacturing ANYTHING….. we could be heading for Near Term Extinction.

    So what would you prefer? A future for your kids and grand kids, or an electric car in the garage? because frankly, we are fast running out of time. Watch THIS:
    Arctic Death Spiral and the Methane Time Bomb

    Cars are simply NOT WORTH IT……..

  31. Joe Banks

    The car industry in this country employs a lot of people, directly and indirectly. They are ‘workers’ who necessarily ‘spend’ their wages to survive and support their families (they don’t just horde it away or play the stock market). So by supporting the car industry we are supporting the economy… That is why Labor’s stimulus package worked so well. They gave people cash and they went out and spent it. Simple!

  32. diannaart


    “…I refute being “domm (sic) and Gloom…” Well I never saw THAT coming (sarcasm).

    “…I advocate changing before change itself kills us…”

    – so do I.

    “So what would you prefer? A future for your kids and grand kids, or an electric car in the garage?”

    Strawman argument so full of it as to be inflammable.

    I regularly discuss alternatives to the business-as-usual stupidity of capitalism – you haven’t noticed? Or, are you simply trying to imply I am mentally deficient? I am beginning to think it is the latter.

    Moving towards sustainable technology does not mean an instant transition to all transport being public (which still requires fossil resources BTW, or do you believe people will just stay home?) – we can’t just switch back to horse and carts – I see you are not even offering ways to realistically transition – private transport has been with us for over a century now – we are not going to wean ourselves off overnight (except in your dreams).

    There is no magic solution, there are realistic steps we can take. Will we be too late? – I think we might be – nevertheless, to reiterate, we cannot just give up.

  33. Donald Johnson

    We’ve been propping up the Mike Devereux retirement fund for too long. He should fell the pain and fall on his own sword. Bloody yank!

  34. 730reportland

    Vicki, you ignore the `core` facts of the `global`auto situation.

    Govts in teh-west were continually extorted for `welfare`handouts so they would provide `jobs`.


    China extorts the corporations for 50% shareholding/profit for the corporation to have `access` to their market and slave-labor.

    China has always had a much smarter Govt than we could ever muster.

  35. 730reportland

    l notice the Lefty`s are/seem to be wanting to continue to allow auto corporations to continue extorting us for our tax-$, but for how long.? Just how long, and how much tax-$ should be thrown on this bonfire.? This cash could be used better else-where.

  36. Marcus

    Oh dear, 730reportland, spoken like a typical Right Wing, Abbott adoring troll. Whilst morons like you are happy to whinge about a mere $200 million per annum in subsidies to keep manufacturing alive, you’re more than happy to let the mining industry rip us off to the tune of more than $4 *billion* per annum in direct & indirect subsidies. You also seem quite content with the PHI industry getting an indirect subsidy of $3 billion per annum. I do love the rampant hypocrisy of the Lunar Right.

  37. The Village Idiot (Reformed)

    Where were you when low paid workers at Darrell Lea, Heinz etc closed. SILENT. These overpaid bludgers on $80,000 pa deserve what they will get in 2017. Their ABC constantly plays a video grab of a guy fitting wheel nuts to a tyre. Is he worth that amount of money. Let him get a real job at Tyrepower on $50k. Anyway – they’re all bludging unionists who vote ALP/Greens.

    That fool Weatherill who talks about “Holdens” instead of Holden didn’t get upset when Carbon Tax Juliar only offered $15 to Ford workers. Did you bitch back then – of course not you bloody hypocrite.

    Anyway, it wont cost the government anything when these bludgers leave. They can’t get the dole given their tax free redundancies will exclude them. Its a win win for the government.

  38. Eddie

    Nasty, nasty personal diatribe Victoria that offers nothing substantial to public debate

  39. PeterTB

    Oh dear, the “adults back in charge” jibe has really struck a nerve, hasn’t it?

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