Home' Greymouth Star : December 12th 2013 Contents Greymouth Star
Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 7
Australia's entire car manufacturing
industry could be on the brink of
collapse following Holden's decision
to quit local production.
General Motors says Holden will
cease building cars in Australia by
the end of 2017, with the loss of
2900 jobs at its assembly operations
in Adelaide and its engine and
engineering plants in Melbourne.
e decision follows Ford's move
to end local production by 2016
and could force a similar exit by
Toyota, which says there is now
"unprecedented" pressure on its own
It will also a ect component
suppliers and other support
industries across the country, with
the potential to result in the loss of
40,000 jobs or more.
Holden boss Mike Devereux
told workers in Adelaide of the
company's plans yesterday, following
days of speculation and denial.
He said the decision was made
by senior GM o cials on Tuesday
afternoon, hours after his appearance
at the Productivity Commission at
which he said no decision had been
He insisted that he told the truth
at the commission.
"Make no mistake, we have looked
at every possible option to build our
next generation cars here in this
country," he told reporters at the
Elizabeth plant in Adelaide.
"No matter which way we apply
the numbers, our long-term business
case to make and assemble cars and
engines in this country is simply not
Mr Devereux declined to answer
directly questions over the federal
government's role in GM's decision
or if extra funding, at any level,
would have convinced the company
to stay on.
" is is a General Motors decision.
We have all the information we need
to make a conclusion in relativity to
the other economies where we can
make cars," he said.
"It is more viable to do that in
other places than in Australia."
General Motors chief executive
Dan Akerson said the strong
Australian dollar was one of the
factors contributing to the "perfect
storm of negative in uences the
automotive industry faces in the
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said
there was no way he could gloss over
the fact this was "a sad, bad day" for
Holden workers, their families and
e government will in coming
days release a "considered package" of
measures to rebuild con dence in the
long-term future of manufacturing
and the regions of Adelaide and
Melbourne where Holden operates,
he told parliament yesterday.
"I don't want to pretend to the
parliament that this is anything
other than a dark day for Australian
manufacturing," Mr Abbott said.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten
said Labor was appalled by
the government's handling of
the crisis, which he likened to
a high stakes game of poker.
"A major company who has been
building motor cars in this country
since after the Second World War
has e ectively been goaded to give
up on this country," the Labor leader
In recent days, the federal
government had ratcheted up
pressure on the company to make a
decision on its future, rst declaring
there was no more money available
and then writing to Holden
demanding it reveal its hand.
e Commonwealth said Holden's
future was ultimately in its own
hands but unions and the South
Australian government have laid the
blame for its closure directly at the
"Tony Abbott and his coalition
government have turned their backs
on this industry and the people in
it," SA Premier Jay Weatherill said.
"By cutting funding and, in the
past week, by attacking Holden,
Tony Abbott and the coalition have
forced Holden out of Australia."
Australian Manufacturing Workers
Union state secretary Dave Smith
said the federal government knew
exactly what was required to keep
Holden and the automotive industry
" e blame for this lies squarely at
the foot of the Abbott government,"
"It's been the federal government
that has made a decision that 50,000
people should be put out of work."
Mr Devereux said Holdens would
continue to be sold and serviced in
Australia from 2018.
All cars imported into Australia
would continue to be badged as
Holdens and he was con dent the
brand would not be damaged.
"We remain committed to being a
great part of the automotive culture
in this country with the Holden
brand, through our dealers, for many,
many years to come," he said.
Toyota said it would have to
determine whether it could
continue operating in Australia.
Holden exit imperils entire
Time magazine has named Pope
Francis its person of the year, saying
that in nine months in o ce the
head of the Catholic Church
had become a new voice of
"For pulling the papacy out of
the palace and into the streets, for
committing the world's largest
church to confronting its deepest
needs and for balancing judgment
with mercy, Pope Francis is Time's
2013 Person of the Year," wrote
managing editor Nancy Gibbs.
"Rarely has a new player on the
world stage captured so much
attention so quickly --- young and
old, faithful and cynical --- as Pope
"In his nine months in o ce, he
has placed himself at the very centre
of the central conversations of our
time: about wealth and poverty,
fairness and justice, transparency,
modernity, globalisation, the role of
women, the nature of marriage, the
temptations of power."
e runner-up for the accolade
was NSA whistleblower Edward
Snowden, who has been granted
asylum in Russia and with whom
Time published an exclusive
interview conducted over e-mail.
Time magazine names Pope
Francis 'Person of the Year'
Pope Francis on the cover of Time Magazine.
A controversial baby bouncer that
comes with an iPad holder so infants can
watch baby apps will not be available in
Australia, its manufacturer says.
Toy company Fisher-Price describes
its Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity Seat
for iPad as "another way to stimulate
and engage baby".
e company says parents can
download its free apps for babies
featuring "soft, soothing sounds and
nature scenes, black-and-white images
and high-contrast patterns that help
develop eye-tracking skills".
But it has come under re from
children's advocates in the UnitedStates
who say babies need "laps, not
But Boston-based Campaign for
a Commercial-Free Childhood has
started an on-line petition campaign
urging Fisher-Price to recall the
product, describing the toy as the "worst
Fisher-Price says the product will not
be available in Australia.
" e item has not been selected for the
Fisher-Price range in Australia and New
Zealand," Fisher-Price spokeswoman
Kathleen Alfano told AAP.
"We know the Apptivity Seat isn't for
everyone," she said.
e CCFC described the product
as "the ultimate babysitter", saying it
blocked a baby's view of the world.
"Because screens can be mesmerising
and babies are strapped down and
'safely' restrained, it encourages parents
to leave infants all alone with an iPad,"
it said on its website.
Ms Alfano said the iPad feature was
designed "for those times when parents
want to use this option as another way
to stimulate and engage their baby.
"If parents don't want to use the iPad,
they can remove the device and a mirror
will be overhead or they can remove the
" e choice is theirs," she said.
Baby bouncer with iPad 'not for everyone'
A man who appeared
to provide sign language
interpretation on stage for
Nelson Mandela's memorial
service, attended by scores of
heads of state, was a 'fake', the
national director of the Deaf
Federation of South Africa
e scandal over the
interpreter is another indication
of bad organisation of the
historic memorial service
at a huge soccer stadium
yesterday. Other di culties
included public transportation
breakdowns which hindered
mourners from getting to the
event and a faulty audio system
that prevented many of the tens
of thousands in the stadium
from hearing the leaders'
speeches. In an apparent security
failure, police did not search the
rst wave of crowds arriving at
e unidenti ed man seen
around the world on television
next to leaders including United
States President Barack Obama
"was moving his hands around
but there was no meaning in
what he used his hands for,"
Bruno Druchen, the federation's
national director, said.
Collins Chabane, one of
South Africa's two presidency
ministers, said the government
is investigating the matter but
has not nished yet because it
has been overwhelmed with
work organising public viewing
of Mandela's body in the South
African capital Pretoria and
his funeral on Sunday in his
hometown of Qunu. He added
the "government will report
publicly on any information it
Four sign language experts,
including Druchen, said the
man was not signing in South
African or American sign
languages and could not have
been signing in any other known
sign language because there
was no structure to his arm and
hand movements. South African
sign language covers all of the
country's 11 o cial languages,
according to the federation.
Ingrid Parkin, principal of
the Saint Vincent School for
the Deaf in Johannesburg, said
she has received complaints
from the deaf community
from Canada to China about
the man on stage and that
his movements look "like he's
signing gibberish." He also used
no facial expression to convey
the emotions of the leaders, a
key element of sign language
" is man himself knows he
cannot sign and he had the guts
to stand on an international
stage and do that," Parkin said.
Nicole Du Toit, an o cial sign
language interpreter who also
watched the broadcast, said in
a telephone interview that the
man on stage purporting to sign
was an embarrassment.
"It was horrible, an absolute
circus, really, really bad," she said.
"Only he can understand those
e man also did sign
interpretation at an event last
year that was attended by
South African President Jacob
Zuma, Druchen said. At that
appearance, a deaf person in the
audience videotaped the event
and gave it to the federation
for the deaf, which analysed
the video, prepared a report
about it and a submitted a
formal complaint to the ANC,
In their complaint, the
federation suggested that the
man should take the ve years
of training needed to become
a quali ed sign language
interpreter in South Africa.
But the ANC never responded,
Druchen said a fresh
complaint will be led to the
ANC about the interpreter he
called a "fake" with a demand for
an urgent meeting.
Bogus sign language
interpreters are a problem
in South Africa, because
people who know a few signs
try to pass themselves o as
interpreters, said Parkin, the
principal of the school for the
deaf. And those hiring them
usually do not sign, so they have
no idea that the people they are
hiring cannot do the job, she
" ey advertise themselves as
interpreters because they know
10 signs and they can make
some quick money," said Parkin.
"It is plain and simple abuse of
the deaf community, they are
taking advantage of the deaf
community to make money."
Mandela service sign language
interpreter a fake
PICTURE: Getty Images
A man, right, motions with his hands as United States President Barack Obama speaks during the o cial memorial ser vice for
former South African President Nelson Mandela.
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