Just when you thought the government’s mind-blowingly ridiculous reaction to the Labor Party’s electric vehicle plan1,2 couldn’t get any worse, Senator Michaelia Cash has momentarily stepped out from behind her whiteboard to add to the idiocy. She was reported as saying: “50 per cent of these apprentices will be driving an electric vehicle under Bill Shorten … we are going to stand by our tradies and we are going to save their utes”3.
She also tweeted on April 9: “Out and about in Central Coast NSW talking with tradies this morning – Labor need to explain to Australia’s tradies why they want to ban their favourite utes and force them to pay more.” This was accompanied by the hashtag #SaveOurTradiesUtes4. This seems to be yet another deliberate misrepresentation of what Shorten said. It is only 50% of NEW car sales which will be an electric target by 2030. Unless all tradies change their vehicles every year it will not affect even close to 50% of them. Furthermore, mass-market electric utilities and SUVs are being produced already and will soon hit the market5. One of the current ute models developed in the US, the Rivian R1T, is expected to be on sale next year. It is expected to be available in three different versions, 105kWh, 135kWh and 180kWh, which will deliver a range of between 370 km and 650 km. While its payload is only 800 kg, it can tow 5 tonnes6. Tesla is also developing an electric ute7.
I suspect coming out from behind the whiteboard might have been a mistake for Senator Cash, and for the Liberal Party.