Should Australia protect its industries?

In November 2011 I was asked to give a presentation on the topic of manufacturing and industry protection. I posted my slides at the time, but given the topic is newsworthy given the exit of Toyota here they are again.

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25 Responses to Should Australia protect its industries?

  1. C.L.

    Should Australia protect its industries?

    In one sense, yes.

    Recent events show and prove that entitlement unionism kills industry.

  2. Infidel Tiger

    Should Australia protect its industries?

    Hell no.

  3. JC

    Recent events show and prove that entitlement unionism kills industry.

    ‘sactly

  4. Winston Smith

    Anyone care to list the industries the Unions have killed/are killing, in this country?
    I’ll start:
    1. The abattoirs,
    2. Vehicle manufacturing,
    3. Iron Foundries,
    4. Smelters,
    5. Fruit canning.
    The list is almost endless.

  5. Anne

    CL

    Recent events show and prove that entitlement unionism kills industry.

    Add to that the burdens imposed by Government in the past six years.

  6. Jim Rose

    protect from what? the scourge of lower prices

  7. A Lurker

    I think assistance (within reason) should be given only to our farming and fishery industries. After all, I’d much rather eat Aussie grown, than trust my luck and my health with so many (dodgy) imports. I also don’t like the idea of selling off our prime agricultural and grazing land – I know it is impossible to up and take the land out of Australia, but all the same, something just doesn’t sit right with me about selling it – I’d much rather we leased it instead.

    That being said, land that in the past has been practical to graze or to plant crops, over time and due to drought/climate variability/erosion/soil degradation etc, and now has become marginal land, may be better used for other purposes. Those who are continuing to try and farm on now marginal/water-poor land, and year after year after year are failing to do so, might have to accept that what worked once, can no longer work, and may need Gov’t assistance to relocate into a more productive area where their farming know-how can still be utilised.

    p.s. I’m not a member of the Nats, I just believe our drought stricken farmers are the ones who truly need a hand. Imagine the billions that has been spent on the Union…sorry, the car industry, could have instead been used to buy feed and replacement stock.

  8. Token

    Should Australia protect its industries?

    Hell no.

    I disagree.

    We should protect our industries against the destruction wrought by trade unions & green-filth over regulation.

    Fisk Doctrine NOW!

  9. Leo G

    ” I don’t think the Abbott Government ever fought for a manufacturing job in their life” – Shorty today

    Labor fought for manufacturing jobs in a way that guaranteed their loss in the long run and is causing such losses in the present. The Abbott government is only 5 months old- still in nappies really- but is fighting for an economic framework to secure manufacturing industry long term.
    Bill’s had 3 years in government but wets himself worrying that voters might consider a non-Labor Government as industry’s best chance.
    Who really wants a leader who prays for failure?

  10. Empire Strikes Back

    Who really wants a leader who prays for failure?

    Slightly less than half.

  11. Fred Lenin

    Many years ago the AMWU was about 400.000 strong under Laurie Short a very sensible Labour man of the ilk of the men who founded the unio movement.time passed and somehow the BlatantSoviet Communist halfpenny ,heeffectively increased membership to under 100.000 ,a socialist “increase ” of 75 per caent if you beleive socialists .the Communist Fascist alp unionists and their Mafia style mates have cot this country dearly,it is time they were Punished.just sawShortass tellingus about the jobs he hassaved Lying Hound,likekevin krap and jooliar giliard ,theycant help Lying can they?wash their mouths out with carbolis soap,mongerels

  12. Habib

    Unfortunately, the only likely outcome is that even more major defence contracts will go to the rust belt, entrenching union dominance and featherbedding, and eventually equipping our forces with shit quality, over-priced platforms and equipment that don’t go near capability requirements.

  13. Walter Plinge

    Fred Lenin: all your base are belong to us, eh?

  14. JohnA

    Walter Plinge #1186025, posted on February 11, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Fred Lenin: all your base are belong to us, eh?

    It seems what we need is a scheme to get at low prices (with thanks to the Lord Chancellor).

  15. MT Isa Miner

    I don’t want to go to the drum.
    I’m think you are saying that we shouldn’t subsidise even if a foreign competitor does. But what is the alternative? Get out of the market altogether? What if it is a good market for us on all the other reasons. Wait them out? I mean assume that eventually their government runs out of cash. How long can we hold onto the market? The foreign government may well NEVER change?

    I suppose if we were flexible enough we could maybe switch to another similar thing. But tooling up takes time and skills and if we are constantly having to shift about and bear those costs as leftist competitors do us over it seems a bit rugged.

    Yeah, I know. Lifes not fair. Are we left with suck it up? How do we take the fight to them? I don’t need to hear ” Small, flexible, market driven companioes and smart “differently educated “people.

    Yes anti-dumping laws are make work for lawyers.

  16. crocodile

    Yes, by helping to address a decade and a half of falling productivity growth

  17. wreckage

    The point is that “protection” doesn’t work. It’s like giving someone painkillers and telling them it’s cured their brain cancer. No; the headache has gone away, temporarily, and the longer you put off fixing the actual problem, the more harm the problem does.

    If a company can’t make a profit in the open market, it has a problem. Maybe it’s a shitty company. Maybe it is labouring under shitty regulations, or it has a shitty workforce. “Protection” expends wads of taxpayer’s funds – which, in this country, could be treating sick children, or improving schools – to avoid fixing the problem. Either we are paying useless CEOs to be useless, or we are paying slack workers to chuck sickies, or we are paying to cover up the fact that moronic laws and malformed taxes are killing entire industries.

    So no. No support, no tariffs, no anti-dumping laws, nothing. Temporary assistance for natural disasters, if and when they can’t be insured against, nothing more. Everything else is just paying to protect arseholes, be they corporate bludgers, soft-arse workers or fucking worthless politicians.

  18. I think assistance (within reason) should be given only to our farming and fishery industries.

    Perhaps more than them, but certainly these, and I agree with the rest of what you’ve written.

    An island nation that cannot feed itself is fucked unless it has (or can regain) freedom of the high seas in the event of war.

    Because that “unless” isn’t us, and likely never will be (IMO we cannot currently rely on the US), it is vital that Australia have the capacity to feed its own population a rich and balanced diet on its own land.

  19. Tel

    An island nation that cannot feed itself is fucked unless it has (or can regain) freedom of the high seas in the event of war.

    Australia already has that problem, and throwing money at farmers won’t change anything.

    Where’s the diesel going to come from?

  20. Tel

    The Abbott government is only 5 months old- still in nappies really- but is fighting for an economic framework to secure manufacturing industry long term.

    No they aren’t, not can they. There’s no framework Abbott can put together that can’t be undermined by a future government. Unless the investor intends to cover costs within 5 years, they are back to the same problem.

  21. There’s no framework Abbott can put together that can’t be undermined by a future government.

    Of course there is a framework. It just requires that we get over our experiment with democracy.

  22. john montgomery

    Your slides are great, thanks Professor. The only help that might be justified is for infant industries, but only for a short time.

    As for the mining boom being over I am not so sure. It looks to me that we had an investment strike owing to the Mining and Carbon Taxes. Projects can be restarted but it takes time to open a mine. China still has a large demand for minerals, but they are now investing in Africa and South America.
    It will get more competetive for Australia but we should be in a good position to open up new production. As long as the ALP and the unions are kept out of it…

  23. john montgomery

    We should also stop or reduce transfer payments as these are simply transactions of decline. Better for regions like SA or Tasmania to develop trade with other states and cities and overseas where possible. They need to be exporting goods and services.

  24. Alamo

    We do not need to protect industries from foreign competition, but we DO need to protect our industries from destruction by the unions and stifling over-regulation and taxation.

    Where the current government has totally lost me is in doing nothing to tackle the unions and put in place a framework that makes business viable in Australia. It has just thrown its hands up and accepted that we are losing everything that made us an industrialised first world nation. I didn’t vote for a government that would stand to the side and watch while the unions beat business into oblivion, I thought I was voting for someone who would step in and stand up to these bullies.

    If nobody is brave enough to take the necessary steps to give Australian businesses a fighting chance then we actually do need tariffs back, or else we’ll just lose everything, as is happening now.

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