The Government Can’t Decide Whether It Hates Electric Cars Or Not

The Australian government and conservative media have spent the last week or so absolutely losing it over a plan from the Labor Party that would aim for half of all new cars to be electric by 2030.

It’s funny and dumb as hell, but funnier and even dumber is the fact that many of the well-paid Coalition representatives who are now decrying the promise of electric cars and of Labor’s policy… were actually really into them literally a few months ago.

It’s almost like the government realises its facing a defeat in the federal election and is desperately clawing at any opportunity to create divide or attack the opposition, even if that opportunity comes in the form of something that isn’t all that different to what it plans to do.

That’s right: the Morrison government’s climate policy modelling makes the assumption that electric vehicles will make up 25%-50% of car sales by 2030.

Scott Morrison put his foot deeper in the mud over the weekend when he tried to reject Bill Shorten’s claims that electric cars could be charged in 8-10 minutes.

“He wants to say ‘see you later’ to the SUV,” said Morrison. “Thinking he could charge an electric vehicle with today’s technology and what’s available in 8-10 minutes.”

Then Energy Minister Angus Taylor went on Sky News to say Australians “wouldn’t get it in any way that’s affordable or accessible for Australians,” which is weird considering six months ago Taylor was releasing media statements about the ultra-rapid charging networks along major driving routes between Brisbane and Adelaide.

He also said electric cars would “lower transport costs, enhance fuel security, and increasingly create more sustainable cities with less pollution and better health outcomes.”

Buddy, you’re not wrong!

Later, the Electric Vehicle Council CEO Behyad Jafari said Shorten’s comments weren’t completely wrong, confirming that the latest technology could charge a car for 400kms of runtime in 15 minutes.

Taylor has tried to defend his and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg‘s past endorsement of electric vehicles saying if technology is good you don’t have to be forced to engage with it. “I love technology I’m a big fan of technology,” he said holding up his iPhone, “…and governments forcing it is all wrong.”

This is the kind of shit that happens when the government realises it can’t rely on its usual election tactics of race-baiting and immigration scaremongering (there’s still plenty of time though!)

One thing we can do is look back at how Energy Minister Angus Taylor, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg used to think of those scary, weirdly silent electric cars.

Receipts exist, bitch. The internet is forever.

It’s not like this research is all that hard – the Coalition have handed Labor reps like Anthony Albanese and Sam Crosby the easiest of slam dunks. Crosby has a viral Twitter thread just listing the confused electric car reverse thinking the Libs have engaged in recently.

Just some of the highlights: there’s Josh Frydenberg posing with a bunch of electric cars outside Parliament House in May 2017, there’s Josh Frydenberg writing an opinion piece calling electric cars a “global revolution” and later there’s Josh Frydenberg saying those who ridicule buying electric cars will end up buying them (bad news for the cast of Sky News!)

There’s Greg Hunt hanging out in front of electric busses; there’s Michael McCormack clapping the NRMA for putting electric car chargers everywhere; and there’s Angus Taylor deleting tweets that link to the government’s National Strategy for Electric Vehicles.

Angus Taylor even shared a weird-ass broken electric car meme on his Twitter account that Malcolm Roberts (of One Nation fame) put on his Facebook a week ago. When you’re taking shitposting classes from Malcolm Roberts there’s probably need for a bit of self-reflection imo.

All of this is to say that the government is happily trying to bend a policy not too dissimilar to its own in an attempt to rile up older voters who probably aren’t as Extremely Online as everyone else who can – in the space of five minutes – find plenty of evidence that the scare campaign is exactly that.

But that’s politics, right? The next few weeks is going to be so, so, stupid.