Paul Howes has an op-ed in the AFR today that seems largely sensible.
Australia’s traditional assistance approach to farmers, no matter how deeply cherished by the Nationals, simply cannot continue. Farmers cannot efficiently operate under the implicit guarantee that no matter what happens the government will bail them out.
I understand generous assistance to struggling farms stems from a national culture of helping fellow citizens. But this noble impulse doesn’t help in this case.
It creates a situation where farmers feel they can operate without risk – and that’s a moral hazard plain and simple. It keeps marginal businesses limping along when they should be consolidating.
So now let’s substitute “car manufacturers” for “farmers”. Still agree? Me too. In fact substitute [name industry here] for “farmer” and “Labor” for “Nationals”. I’m not sure that Howes would go that far.
On another note it looks like Howes might have a regular gig at the Fin. I just don’t know why they think people want to pay top dollar to read him and Denniss and the like.