The Coalition government's newfound war on electric cars is very strange

(The Guardian, 9 Apr 2019) Rusted-on conservative seats are experiencing a boom thanks to demand for batteries, but where are their MPs?

The Coalition government’s recent 180-degree handbrake turn on electric vehicles is hard to comprehend on a number of levels.

It isn’t only that this position is the polar opposite of its position 12 months before, nor that it flies in the face of conservative policy priorities like fuel security that Senator Jim Molan has thundered about in recent years. By far and away the strangest thing about the Liberal and National parties’ newfound war on electric cars is that it runs contrary to a longstanding tradition of localism and representing the interests of regional seats’ commercial and employment interests.

Some of the most rusted-on conservative seats in Australia are experiencing a boom in mining, attributable largely to the demand for batteries and the materials that go into them. Kalgoorlie is well known for its gold production but is also becoming a centre of lithium production as well as finding new battery demand for its nickel mines.

Projects in production include Bald Hill and Mount Cattlin, as well as development projects owned by numerous others and account for more than 1,000 jobs today and no doubt many thousands more as electric vehicles grow as a share of the auto market.

You would never guess this was happening from the commentary or lack thereof from its member for the O’Connor, Rick Wilson, who appears to have gone silent on the matter, unlike the extremely vocal Queensland Nationals who have threatened to blow up the government over Adani approvals.

While the Adani issue has been batted back and forth for a decade and failed to get funding, Galaxy Resources and Alliance Minerals have borrowed at credit card rates, got mines built, generated jobs and got zero recognition or support from the LNP and their local member.

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The Guardian, 9 Apr 2019: The Coalition government's newfound war on electric cars is very strange