Labor’s Electric Car Plan Won’t Help Ordinary Australians

Labor’s Electric Car Plan Won’t Help Ordinary Australians

What do Bill Shorten and Mike from Married At First Sight have in common?

They are both gaslighting the entire nation.

Gaslighting is when someone tells you a story so contradictory of known facts that you come to doubt your sense of reality.

Mike has become notorious for trying to confuse his television bride Heidi by blatantly denying that he has said or done things that have been witnessed by millions of viewers.

Under a Labor government, all light vehicles, such as your family car or your work ute, will be subjected to tighter carbon emissions standards. The new standards will push up the price of light vehicles by $1500. But that is just the start of the costs we will have to endure.

Shorten’s radical package includes a target for 50 per cent of new cars to be electric vehicles by 2030.

Car retailers will be set a standard of average emissions per vehicle, needing to offset the sale of high-emissions vehicles with the sale of low-emissions vehicles.

In practice, the cost of vehicles will rise as retailers are forced to hold expensive electric vehicle stock and offset reduced sales by increasing the cost of better-selling, higher-emissions vehicles.

This is a trade-off not just between cars but between people.

The smiles of inner-city greenies come at the expense of outer-suburban workers. Forty per cent of new car sales are SUVs. The highest selling car in Australia is the Toyota Hilux. There is currently no electric ute on the market.

Tradies will have to absorb this extra cost or pass it on to their customers. Either by reducing their earnings or reducing demand for their products, Labor is stiffing one of its traditional blue-collar constituencies.

Alternatively, Labor might massively subsidise electric vehicles, imposing the cost on all taxpayers. Reduced activity caused by this cost will affect related businesses, from suppliers to retailers, damaging the whole economy.

And we know from experience what happens when the government makes cars more expensive. In the past, when Australia had a protected car market, we had more old cars on the road. Older cars are less efficient and less safe.

The costs quickly pile up.

To service the new electric vehicles, a Shorten Labor government will insist that all new roads and housing and office developments include charging facilities. The cost of your car will rise, and so too will the cost of your house, your office, and the road between them.

While moving half the nation’s vehicles onto the electricity grid, Labor also intends to make electricity more expensive and less reliable.

Shorten is committed to a 50 per cent renewables target for electricity generation, meaning more wind and solar — already the reason for the price of electricity doubling in the past decade.

But don’t worry, Bill — or should we say “Mike” — Shorten is sure that his policies will “reduce costs” and make cars “more affordable”. Supposedly, all these costs will be offset by fuel savings and somehow, exact mechanism unstated, by the creation of new jobs.

And of course, we get to feel good about saving the planet, notwithstanding that light vehicles make up just 10 per cent of Australia’s human emissions, which make up just 1.3 per cent of global human emissions, which make up just 3 per cent of total global emissions.

If a few plumbers in Penrith find themselves on the breadlines, that is a small price to pay.

We are way behind: NRMA backs electric car targets

Shorten is committed to a 50 per cent renewables target for electricity generation, meaning more wind and solar — already the reason for the price of electricity doubling in the past decade.

But don’t worry, Bill — or should we say “Mike” — Shorten is sure that his policies will “reduce costs” and make cars “more affordable”. Supposedly, all these costs will be offset by fuel savings and somehow, exact mechanism unstated, by the creation of new jobs.

And of course, we get to feel good about saving the planet, notwithstanding that light vehicles make up just 10 per cent of Australia’s human emissions, which make up just 1.3 per cent of global human emissions, which make up just 3 per cent of total global emissions.

If a few plumbers in Penrith find themselves on the breadlines, that is a small price to pay.

In other words, Heidi is overreacting again.

The point of gaslighting is not so much the lie as the doubt that it creates.

When you doubt your own mind, you are at the mercy of those in power.

No one really believes that these policies can be realised, will work as promised, or really achieve anything for the environment.

But the people pushing them see an opportunity to take control of the economy, raise your cost of living, and increase your dependence on government subsidies.

You are being manipulated. To be fair, Mike has the excuse that others have edited his comments. But Shorten is deliberately selling a bill of goods as fake as reality TV. The only thing that is real is the cost — and the possibility that under Labor, gaslight is the only artificial light we will have left.

Andrew Bushnell is a research fellow at the Institute of Public AffairsC

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