Papa Rudd Gives us the Keys to the Camry


The planet, apparently, is near kaput. Mother Earth, to borrow the parlance of an activist I once considered slapping, is dying. It seems that even the puffer fish of the right are agreed: the world will shortly claim us all as ingredients and bubble into a bouillabaisse fired by our own myopia.

Everything’s broken. And I don’t mind.

Please excuse my abominable candour. I’m jetlagged, broke and currently unable to squeeze into my favourite plaid trousers. When this month’s cheque clears and my bloat subsides, I may feel differently. For the present, however: carve out the abysm and bring on the carnage. We’ve had it too good for too long in the West and meteorological vengeance seems like the only proper thing.

Frankly, if I’m not consumed by hellfire soon I don’t think I’ll be able to manage the guilt.

We all deserve it. I mean REALLY: does no individual or policy-maker actually give a shit? I woke on Tuesday morning to news of Kev’s current efforts in Japan. In a bold challenge to both (a) our dwindling domestic automotive industry, and (b) the certainty that we’re all about to sink into a lake of boiling pitch Dante style, Papa Rudd may be giving us the keys to the Camry. It seems probable that Rudd’s green car fund will subsidise the cost of the hybrid sedan’s production.

This will provide much needed relief for Australia’s automotive workers and those Working Families struggling to coax life from the pump or, indeed, the dried up teat of capital. Around two-and-a half hybrid Camrys will be produced at Toyota’s Altona plant each decade.

Actually, the number is set at 10,000 fuel efficient units annually. "I want to see an Australian hybrid car as soon as possible," said Rudd. This is mildly good news for everyone save for les ultra chics who bought a Prius when the model functioned culturally as a luxury vehicle and was marshalled solely by the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio. Or Susan Smug Sarandon. Or Kevin Bacon. Evincing a remarkable grasp of cosmology, Bacon answered when asked about his vehicular choice, "We only have one planet." Kevin, of course, only has one career. Like the planet, this is also in a parlous state.

Call me a bloated enviro-Grinch, but this niche hybrid business strikes me as a little too little far too late. Radical action was needed long ago. I’ve long been an advocate of actually killing urban owners of Toorak Tractors and other inefficient vehicles. Or, at the very least, interning their spoiled children for extended periods in places called things like Edna Falls or Ebola Springs Estate where they are forced to wear flammable Kmart tracksuits, take on names like Sharlee or Haydin and work tirelessly in honest meth labs that subsidise the mortgage payments of the exurban poor.

It seems only fair. Given that we Only Have One Planet and that Planet is Dying.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.