What I learned about Saab from the recent Australian election

I’ve been racking my brain for most of today and trying to link our federal election, held just this past weekend, with Saab somehow. But I’m struggling. It was such a momentus occasion, though, that I feel compelled to say something.

A brief picture.

The conservative parties, a coalition of the ironically named Liberal Party and the National Party, was swept out of office after eleven years in government. They went from a 15 seat majority in the 150-seat parliament to what could be a minority of up to 28 seats once the voting is finalised.

What’s more, the Prime Minister, John Howard, became only the second Prime Minister in Australia to lose his own seat. Several of his cabinet ministers also lost their seats. The blow to the coalition is absolutely devastating and has even led to one political commentator speculating that the coalition of two conservative parties may not exist at the next election in three years or so – that is, they likely cannot survive as two individual parties with such a devastating loss of experience.

In the wash of this incredible defeat, his power-aspiring deputy Peter Costello has jumped ship and declared that he will pursue a career in the private sector rather then lead what will now be a decimated opposition. The former leader of the National Party, Mark Vaile, has also stepped aside.

None of this will mean much to you internationals, but between Howard, Costello and Vaile, that’s the three most senior elected representatives in Australia gone. Virtually gone from politics all together. And there may be more as at least one other former senior minister considers his future.

Up until last weekend there was no greater exhibition of public hubris, arrogance and confidence than watching a government MP in action. Now, with their power and their numbers stripped it’s been an exercise in trying to salvage dignity and in some cases, a deliberate distancing of themselves from the policies that they clung to so dearly just last week.

The men who knew it all and who declared they had delivered so much were now neutered and struggling to rebuild after a devastating blow. A blow delivered in reasonably good economic times, too.

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So how can I relate this to Saab?

I wouldn’t pose Saab as being the government itself, but rather a ministry within that government. And I’d suggest that some of the people running the government (i.e. GM) are glad that they’re not elected by their constituents (i.e. buyers).

I’d suggest that if Saab were operated according to the will of the people then the model lineup would look somewhat different to how it does now. As would the marketing.

I’d suggest that some of the people who have run Saab in the recent past did so with objectives in their minds that were not always consistent with the proper development of a Swedish car brand.

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Yeah, it’s a pretty weak parallel, but this has been a totally consuming event here in the last few days and in the absence of any hard news about Saab, it’s been very difficult to escape. Sorry if the ride bored you a little.

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6 Comments

  1. Maybe you can ask your coming Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to help you with Swedish/English translation issues. I heard that he speaks fluent Swedish after a number of years on the Australian embassy in Stockholm during the eighties.

  2. Maybe, though the specialty he’s using to sell his diplomatic credentials is his fluency in Mandarin. I think his Swedish may be a little rusty by now. Maybe he retained a soft spot for Saabs, though. Maybe he even checks in here…..

  3. I think there was probably more than the usual amount of attention (in international circles) paid to your federal election this time around as Dubyuh (“thanks to your ‘Austrian troops’!”)is fast losing friends among his former allies. Nice job Australia! Now if we could give our own PM Harper a little nudge out of office, we’ll be set fine as well.

  4. I can’t say I follow Australian politics that closely, but I think there is huge significance for Saab from the Australian election.

    From what I understand, the new Government will want to get tough on CO2. I can’t say I follow British politics that closely either, but CO2 tax/regulation in Britain has been a boon to Saab, hasn’t it?

    So, if the Australian Government follows the British, shouldn’t we expect a jump in Saab sales in Australia?

  5. Another victory for us pinko tree-hugging art fag liberals! Wooo! Hillary in ’08!

    :p

    (I’m not actually for Hillary, I’m still clinging to my false hope that John Edwards will rally and get the nomination).

  6. I agree that climate and carbon likely played a big role, and if Saab were smart they would be playing up their green credentials (and shoring them up where needed also).

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