Holden on for no reason

Ron Edgar writes: Re. “One handout too many: General Motors should go back to Detroit” (yesterday). Just an idea, but wouldn’t it be better if subsidies/grants/development funds/whatever provided to any company were on the basis of the Commonwealth (people of Australia) holding a share/caveat over the production facilities funded? Australia would, at least, own the brand and the factories when GM and Ford exit.

There is a declining number of people who even want their product — not a shortage of people buying cars. I don’t drive an Australian-made ca,r but I admire Toyota for having the chutzpah to include Australia in its global product development and manufacturing strategy. It is a matter of finding a niche to develop.

Maybe the government could call for expression of interests from all automotive manufacturers allowing proposals for actually maintaining a sustainable industry that provides employment and development of skills. Who really cares whether “Holden” is made by Hyundai, Mercedes, Volkswagen or Fiat, as long as it is made here for Australians and for export? Maybe develop an actual industry!

Glen Frost writes: When auto CEOs discuss wages and productivity, a picture appears in my mind of the Chicago-based auto CEOs at a US Senate hearing into bailouts and soft loans from the US government to said car makers. The clincher is when a senator asks how the CEOs got to Washington, and all replied that they took their own private jets. The senator gave the CEOs a quick lesson in cost-cutting and jet-sharing.

I’d be interested to know the usual travel arrangements for GM and Ford’s Australian CEOs. Perhaps an insider can enlighten us?

Eyes on the prize

Alan Corbett writes: Re. “Cash v cachet: the wacky world of journalism prizes“. To many ordinary folk the journalistic profession is not one that engenders warm and fuzzy feelings. Distrust and disdain is more like it. So when a journalist does connect with the audience and establishes a bond of trust and respect, it is an event worth acknowledging and celebrating.

I can think of three journalists that have created that rare type of bond with me. They were the late ABC journalists — Andrew Olle, Paul Lyneham and Paul Lockyer, and as a result of their ethical and professional efforts, I felt part of the ABC family and I, like so many others, grieved when each one of them died.

So it was with a clear and positive intention to be helpful to the profession that I wrote to the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance in August last year, with a offer to sponsor a new category of the Qld Clarion Awards. The new award would, I hope, acknowledge a journalist whose behaviour both bridged the “trust” gap between the profession and the public and also left in the public mind a positive and enduring sense of respect for the journalist concerned.

A month later, I was told by the person responsible for the organisation of the awards that my offer would need to be tabled before a committee that would meet later in the year. That was in September 2012 and despite further emails requesting information, it was the last I heard from the MEAA.

As the journalist’s union and professional body, the behaviour of all involved did not reflect well on the profession. Nevertheless, my offer of sponsorship still stands and my offer has no preconditions attached.


Stephen Mayne writes: Re. “Mayne: Barnaby and Albo hug hides division on local govt” (yesterday). Apologies to Peter Reith for claiming he had no local government experience yesterday. Reith was a volunteer local politician in Phillip Island from 1977 until 1982, including a stint as shire president in 1980-81. Also, yesterday’s piece should have said that Simon Crean procrastinated for two years over the referendum issue, rather than prevaricated.