No car industry, so what?

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(Image by John Graham /

SO THERE’S NOT going to be a car industry in Australia after 2017. So what?

I’m not bothered, not one little bit.

We Australians have always been resilient and we will adapt to this just as we have to other big structural changes, like shorter surfboards and the breathalyser.

Tony Abbott said "Australia is open for business" and I, for one, agree with him. Just think of the potential this new non-car economy will create for a whole range of new businesses.

Here are a just a few of the ideas I came up in a couple of minutes. Now that might make me sound like I’m big noting myself, but I’m not — I just really get Tony’s vision for the future.

First of all, you have to think ahead of the curve — get in early before all the good opportunities have gone. Secondly, you have to think big, not small.

My first two ideas are based on successful business models I’ve seen operating overseas, in other countries with no car industry … to speak of. 

The first cashes in on the tourist boom and I have seen it operating very profitably in places like Tijuana in Mexico. You get a burro (or mule) and you dye it’s hair so that it looks like a zebra. Then you go out and you buy some Mexican sombreros and take them all down to the beach with a camera and take you pictures of tourists standing next to the burro.

They’ll be queuing up.

No, wait!

Even better, get a kangaroo and dye it’s hair to look like a zebra! The queue will go right around the block.

Now you’re probably thinking:

“I thought he said ‘think big’, but that’s a small-scale idea."

That’s because it’s not finished yet … wait for it … we get the CSIRO to start breeding burros and kangaroos with stripes! That’s a whole new industry in itself. Get in while you still can.

My second idea does not rely on tourism, just in case it goes into decline. It’s aimed more at the domestic market.

You see, as manufacturing declines and a higher proportion of our nation’s wealth goes to already wealthy bankers and financiers, they will have much more cash sloshing around in their pockets. But they’ll also have less time to spare, due to longer business lunches, etc.

This opens an opportunity to provide them with certain time consuming services and the one I have in mind is a proven overseas, success story — shoe-shining!

Think about it. Low start-up cost means ease of entry and there’ll be huge pool of unemployed labourers chomping at the bit to get in. But that’s not the big-thinking part. The real money will be in the manufacture and marketing of shoe-shine boxes and shoe polish, not to mention the franchising potential. Mark my words: shoe-shining — the next big thing.

The last one – and don’t ask me how I keep thinking of these – is a fair dinkum license to print money.

 Ask yourself:

“What product will all the super rich people in our new, super-lean economy be clamouring for?”

Answer: caviar!

All rich people love caviar – why, I don’t know – but anyway, your next question should be:

“Where will they get all this caviar?”

Well, if you’re quick, from you and your highly trained team of door-to-door caviar salesmen and women. Of course, you won’t be peddling fish eggs around the western suburbs — you’ll be too smart for that. You’ll focus on Sydney’s eastern and northern suburbs, and the CBD of course.

Imagine the lunchtime sales potential around the stock exchange alone!

Anyway, that’s just a few of my great ideas, but I think they demonstrate that the end of the car industry doesn’t have to mean the end of business in Australia. In fact, it’s only the beginning.

As Tony says: “We’re open for business” so come on down and have a picture taken of yourself next to a striped kangaroo.

The originals of John Graham's art, featured in this piece as well as throughout IA, are available for purchase by emailing You can see a gallery of John's political art on his Cartoons and Caricatures Facebook page.

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