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Thursday, 27 February 2020
Page: 1733

Senator McGRATH (QueenslandDeputy Government Whip in the Senate) (17:30): To Holden or not to Holden? That is no longer the question, nor is Holden the answer—and that is sad. General Motors is pulling out of Australia after treating us to an 88-year one-night stand. First as a saddlery manufacturer in South Australia in 1856, Holden has been part of Australia's history on the racetrack, on our roads and in our garages. We've all heard of the Kingswood, the Torana and the Monaro. My first car was a red Camira.

It is difficult to think of a regional centre that does not have, or has not had, a Holden dealership. Holden dealerships have played a huge role in the economies of regional towns and the suburbs of our cities. Here is the rub: the decision of General Motors to retire the Holden brand has left these dealerships completely blindsided. Small and medium, mum-and-dad-sized, businesses across Australia were left blindsided, just like the rest of us. General Motors has the ethics of a granny-smacking purse snatcher. The decision was sneaky, stinking, dirty and how they've gone about it offends so many. Their decision has affected the lives of many Australians—dealership owners, mechanics out the back, sales representatives out the front, car owners and their families.

General Motors may not care about their reputation in Australia but Holden dealers do. They have been supplying their local communities with vehicles for decades—in some cases generations. This needs to be respected. General Motors, stop selling the Holden dealers a clunker and compensate them fairly. General Motors, this is not how you should treat honest, hard-working Australians. You should be ashamed of your shameful, rank, rancid, ethically deficient conduct. General Motors, be better.