Malcolm Turncoat's imploding act

 
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

The Australian is reporting this morning that Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull are the two most-disliked and least trusted leaders in the 40-year history of the poll. Political editor Denis Shanahan reports that:

Dissatisfaction, dislike and voter indecision are the highest jointly for the leaders since 1987 and that includes Paul Keating and John Hewson, John Howard and Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard and Rudd and Abbott at the last election.

The two parties need to ask themselves why they're both so badly on the nose with the public.
And not just these guys, but the Greens as well (particularly in NSW):  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-20/duffy-inside-the-secret-civil-war-of-the-nsw-greens/7525874

Then again, at least it's not as bad as Italy where a cult-like party won big at last weekend's mayoral elections: http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/06/beppe-grillos-m5s-is-a-scientology-style-cult/
Carnot
I would take with a pinch of salt any political comments made by the Murdoch press. Much of the discontent has been stirred up by the Dirty Digger and his grubby news papers. Now they find themselves in a real bind with the possibility of Shorten winning, so to appear balanced, lets attack both sides. Evidence please that Shorten and Turnbull are so unpopular. None, I thought so, but don't let the facts get in the way of one of their grubby stories.

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  Carnot Chief Commissioner

The Australian is reporting this morning that Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull are the two most-disliked and least trusted leaders in the 40-year history of the poll. Political editor Denis Shanahan reports that:

Dissatisfaction, dislike and voter indecision are the highest jointly for the leaders since 1987 and that includes Paul Keating and John Hewson, John Howard and Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard and Rudd and Abbott at the last election.

The two parties need to ask themselves why they're both so badly on the nose with the public.
And not just these guys, but the Greens as well (particularly in NSW):  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-20/duffy-inside-the-secret-civil-war-of-the-nsw-greens/7525874

Then again, at least it's not as bad as Italy where a cult-like party won big at last weekend's mayoral elections: http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/06/beppe-grillos-m5s-is-a-scientology-style-cult/
I would take with a pinch of salt any political comments made by the Murdoch press. Much of the discontent has been stirred up by the Dirty Digger and his grubby news papers. Now they find themselves in a real bind with the possibility of Shorten winning, so to appear balanced, lets attack both sides. Evidence please that Shorten and Turnbull are so unpopular. None, I thought so, but don't let the facts get in the way of one of their grubby stories.
nswtrains
We need the Murdoch press to counter-balance the Socialist propaganda pumped out by the Fairfax press and much of the ABC.
  Groundrelay Chief Commissioner

Location: Surrounded by Trolls!
...We need the Murdoch press to counter-balance the Socialist propaganda pumped out by the Fairfax press and much of the ABC.
Carnot
When all else fails conjure up the ghost of Joe Stalin Rolling Eyes
Hackneyed use of loaded comparisons seems just plain lazy.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
We need the Murdoch press to counter-balance the Socialist propaganda pumped out by the Fairfax press and much of the ABC.
Carnot
You obviously don't read the Australian Financial Review.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Evidence please that Shorten and Turnbull are so unpopular...
nswtrains
Newspoll in The Australian. If you ever need to know what Rupert is thinking then all you have to do is flick through it; perhaps he's just as fed up with them as the rest of us.
We need the Murdoch press to counter-balance the Socialist propaganda pumped out by the Fairfax press and much of the ABC.
Carnot
Is that you Andrew Bolt!
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
For those who are interested, there's been a lot of gossip in the media today about the "tradie" in the Liberal Party advert. For a start, his name is name is Andrew McCrae and he (apparently) rents a modest brick house in Lane Cove NSW and he's been instructed not to talk to the media under any circumstances... but of course they went and asked his friends and neighbours about him instead.

He's the owner of Teamwork Maintenance in Sydney and therefore an employer - apparently his watch is a TAG Heuer and they're about $7000 new so he's not short of a quid. Personally I'm astonished that they actually used an actual man who works with his hands instead of an actor from central casting.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
What tradie wears a railways Hi-Vis on a standard suburban building site?
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
And not just these guys, but the Greens as well (particularly in NSW):
Carnot
I have voted Green in the past because I actually chatted to the local Greens candidate and found him really well informed and intelligent.

I don't think I would vote Green again - I just think as far as the federal sphere goes they just don't have a handle on what the issues as a nation are and their stance on refugees is just too unrealistic. We can't accept huge numbers of refugees like they do in Europe, it's hard enough for Aussies living in poverty in our big cities as it is without competing with even more poor people from abroad for scarce resources.
Then again, at least it's not as bad as Italy where a cult-like party won big at last weekend's mayoral elections
Carnot
Interesting read, thanks for posting. Italian politics has always been crazy but apparently it just keeps getting worse! Something for our own political system to aspire to I guess...
  doridori Chief Commissioner

The two realistic options for this election make Mark Latham appear a viable option!
  georges Train Controller

Georges: Thanks for an informative dissertation. I don't think anyone could argue that the EEC and American agricultural subsidies were a good thing so it's certainly wonderful that we got agreement some years ago to progressively wind those back. However my concerns about free-trade agreements extend beyond whether or not they're fair or not and I do wonder what might happen further down the track once we've made the transition to the wonderful world of post-FTA structural adjustment. We keep getting told it's going to increase jobs in our country but I can see with my own eyes that the poverty and joblessness are actually increasing around me - for which apparently the defence contract will fill the holes. I really felt as a resident of South Australia that we were supposed to be grateful for those crumbs from the table after years of systematic stripping of jobs - and is Malcolm really serious when he talks about the "multipliers, supply chains" for the submarines? It's extremely specialised, and not a mass-produced consumer item and I really doubt that it will have multipliers though the economy in the same way that the car industry did... anyway...

My other concern is the lack of strategic reserves of things that we're completely reliant on like car parts, consumer goods etc that will leave us really vulnerable if there's an interruption to global trade... dunno, I just don't believe the story we've been sold about FTA's in general. But we're all entitled to our opinions.
don_dunstan
The decline in the share of manufacturing in Australia’s GDP is consistent with the experience of other countries as their GDP grows. In Australia manufacturing has fallen from over 60% in 1960 to about 7% today. Much of this decline occurred before the coming of FTAs. Services represented over 70% of Australia’s in 2015 (http://media.ibisworld.com.au/2015/03/16/industry-perspective/). The decline in manufacturing has coincided more recently with economic reform in China and elsewhere in Asia, and the consequent expansion in manufacturing industry in those countries. China has a substantial advantage in manufacturing. It has had, until recently, unlimited supplies of underemployed rural workers willing to work in factories for low wages. We should not forget the environmental costs that the country has so far been willing to bear, to the great detriment of many of its citizens, without passing those costs on to anybody, whether firms or customers. The rise of South Korea as an auto maker has disrupted car manufacturing in many countries as well as Australia.

Prices of many low-value-added manufactured goods are so cheap that no sustainable level of protection could have hoped to prevent almost any country, including Australia, from importing them. Nor should it have attempted. Access to these goods has enabled Australians to obtain inexpensively priced products. We and our fellow citizens can spend more of our incomes on other products which add to our standard of living. It so happens that the latter products have mainly been services, almost all of which are produced in Australia by Australians.  Australia’s isolated geographic position in the South Pacific and its small domestic market make it almost impossible to have a strong manufacturing sector, except for high-value-added products such as medical devices where the cost of transportation is a small proportion of the selling price. Despite the decline in auto manufacturing in Australia, Holden remains one of GM’s nine global design centres, responsible for vehicles such as the Holden Commodore and Chevrolet Camaro, as well as a string of global concept cars (http://media.gm.com/media/au/en/holden/company.html) - another example of our our ability to compete very effectively in services, along with education and tourism.

Adjustments faced by declining firms and industries are usually painful. When declining industries are concentrated in a single geographic area the effect on employment and local communities is very great. Governments should provide assistance for labour to retrain and move, if necessary. For many years manufacturing in South Australia was sustained by government intervention in the form of high tariffs, and subsidies and concessions by the State government. The existence of vehicle manufacturing in more than one State under these circumstances has, in retrospect, made this arrangement even more vulnerable to changes in external conditions. Strategies to offset the decline include more government intervention in the form of the highly subsidised Australian Submarine Corporation. Establishing and sustaining this relatively new entity that produces a very hi-tech product has not been without its own difficulties. The ASC has its own multipliers but it cannot absorb all (most?) staff made redundant from cessation of vehicle manufacturing.

Australia now imports just about all its petroleum based fuels. Petroleum products are certainly strategic. The virtual cessation of refining in Australia owes nothing to freer trade but to technological developments - the economies of scale from larger refineries have become so great that our sub-economic refineries were not worth replacing because of our limited domestic market. Our fuel stocks represent less than two months’ consumption, lower than international standards, apparently. Car parts and consumer goods are not as important. Many could probably be produced here at fairly short notice in the event of international calamity. Parts are not always available for some products even now.

At a time when disruptive systems and technologies have become so common, we - governments and businesses -, along with the rest of the world, must, like the Scouts, Be (Very) Prepared.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
For those who are interested, there's been a lot of gossip in the media today about the "tradie" in the Liberal Party advert. For a start, his name is name is Andrew McCrae and he (apparently) rents a modest brick house in Lane Cove NSW and he's been instructed not to talk to the media under any circumstances... but of course they went and asked his friends and neighbours about him instead.

He's the owner of Teamwork Maintenance in Sydney and therefore an employer - apparently his watch is a TAG Heuer and they're about $7000 new so he's not short of a quid. Personally I'm astonished that they actually used an actual man who works with his hands instead of an actor from central casting.
don_dunstan
Living in Lane Cove needs some reasonable income.

Owner of a buisness does not make you an "un-tradie" as probably a fair chunk of all Tradie's own their business, often with just two employees, them and the Mrs who does the books and therefore draws a salary and hence enables a reduced tax overall. I used to camp with a number of Tradies, all self employeed and I had the cheapest and oldest 4x4 out of the lot of us and my and wife and I earned $200k combined.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Georges: You're spelling out a future that (like the Liberal and Labor parties) brushes over a very glaring reality: That living standards for all of us are going to plummet dramatically.

The example of Holden's design plant staying here while the entire manufacturing operation relocates off-shore is a perfect representation of what's wrong here - a few dozen people in some easily off-shored office in Port Melbourne when the whole operation and its support industries used to employ tens of thousands: There's no way something like that can possibly provide the jobs needed in the future. There's ample evidence that people retrenched from manufacturing on the whole don't ever find worthwhile jobs again (Google Flinders University Mitsubishi jobs study). Even if you viewed the car industry merely as an employment program it at least served a purpose in keeping many thousands employed productively while substituting imported product. And things like retraining, relocation assistance - how is that going to be of any use to any of the Holden workers who are 45+ and have few skills to offer prospective employers? And to relocate where exactly - Sydney or Melbourne where the cost of living is astronomical and there's barely any jobs outside of the construction industry as it is? There's no future for many of these people except in endless Job Network busy-work courses and Work-for-the-dole.

It the completely pathetic response to our industrial collapse that really gets up my goat. Shorten is even more dishonest than Turnbull in my opinion because he seems to think that we can simply spend our way out of the doldrums when the reality is that it's exactly what the Liberal Party have been trying to do in the last three years anyway ($50 billion submarines anyone?) and it simply hasn't been working. There's an absolute limit to how much Keynesian economics can keep this place going and I think it's already approaching the cliff as we speak with the immanent loss of the governments (and therefore the banks) AAA credit rating regardless of who is in power after the election. Politicians need to start telling us the truth - that subsistence jobs, generational poverty, welfare and unemployment are going to become the norm for middle Australia in the future - there's no getting around it - UNLESS we resurrect the tariff wall.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
The two realistic options for this election make Mark Latham appear a viable option!
"doridori"
Oh hell! Are we that desperate?
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
The decline in the share of manufacturing in Australia’s GDP is consistent with the experience of other countries as their GDP grows. In Australia manufacturing has fallen from over 60% in 1960 to about 7% today. Much of this decline occurred before the coming of FTAs. Services represented over 70% of Australia’s in 2015 (http://media.ibisworld.com.au/2015/03/16/industry-perspective/). The decline in manufacturing has coincided more recently with economic reform in China and elsewhere in Asia, and the consequent expansion in manufacturing industry in those countries. China has a substantial advantage in manufacturing. It has had, until recently, unlimited supplies of underemployed rural workers willing to work in factories for low wages. We should not forget the environmental costs that the country has so far been willing to bear, to the great detriment of many of its citizens, without passing those costs on to anybody, whether firms or customers. The rise of South Korea as an auto maker has disrupted car manufacturing in many countries as well as Australia.

Prices of many low-value-added manufactured goods are so cheap that no sustainable level of protection could have hoped to prevent almost any country, including Australia, from importing them. Nor should it have attempted. Access to these goods has enabled Australians to obtain inexpensively priced products. We and our fellow citizens can spend more of our incomes on other products which add to our standard of living. It so happens that the latter products have mainly been services, almost all of which are produced in Australia by Australians.  Australia’s isolated geographic position in the South Pacific and its small domestic market make it almost impossible to have a strong manufacturing sector, except for high-value-added products such as medical devices where the cost of transportation is a small proportion of the selling price. Despite the decline in auto manufacturing in Australia, Holden remains one of GM’s nine global design centres, responsible for vehicles such as the Holden Commodore and Chevrolet Camaro, as well as a string of global concept cars (http://media.gm.com/media/au/en/holden/company.html) - another example of our our ability to compete very effectively in services, along with education and tourism.

Adjustments faced by declining firms and industries are usually painful. When declining industries are concentrated in a single geographic area the effect on employment and local communities is very great. Governments should provide assistance for labour to retrain and move, if necessary. For many years manufacturing in South Australia was sustained by government intervention in the form of high tariffs, and subsidies and concessions by the State government. The existence of vehicle manufacturing in more than one State under these circumstances has, in retrospect, made this arrangement even more vulnerable to changes in external conditions. Strategies to offset the decline include more government intervention in the form of the highly subsidised Australian Submarine Corporation. Establishing and sustaining this relatively new entity that produces a very hi-tech product has not been without its own difficulties. The ASC has its own multipliers but it cannot absorb all (most?) staff made redundant from cessation of vehicle manufacturing.

Australia now imports just about all its petroleum based fuels. Petroleum products are certainly strategic. The virtual cessation of refining in Australia owes nothing to freer trade but to technological developments - the economies of scale from larger refineries have become so great that our sub-economic refineries were not worth replacing because of our limited domestic market. Our fuel stocks represent less than two months’ consumption, lower than international standards, apparently. Car parts and consumer goods are not as important. Many could probably be produced here at fairly short notice in the event of international calamity. Parts are not always available for some products even now.

At a time when disruptive systems and technologies have become so common, we - governments and businesses -, along with the rest of the world, must, like the Scouts, Be (Very) Prepared.
georges

Well said, note Toyota also (partly?) designed and tested the Forturer 2 in Oz and Ford Australia Quality team are supervising (part?) Asian manufacturing.

Personally I find it sad they we cannot make cars here anymore, there is some loss I think culturally. I also am deeply concerned about the loss of steel, aluminium, copper and other industries, especially when we dig the stuff out the ground here. However I agree, our economy is small and we need to export to get the volumes of scale up and distance and wages cost and govt regulation is not our side. Protectionism doesn't work, but we shouldn't just roll over to illegal dumping and unfair free trade. Every time one industry or factory closes, it makes it harder for others to survive and limits the employment options in that industry.

Two weeks back I was on business in india. I went to a refectory business, making less than 100,000t pa products. Thats botu US$2.5M, the owners live a very high standard life and beautiful house, well travelled and children educated OS in HK and USA. Meanwhile they have 900 employees no less! They have to make spare parts and even print their own bags because of the logistics and reliability issues of moving stuff across India.

Meanwhile in Oz we have people fighting for conditions that include unskilled labour on building sites earning well over $100k.

We often talk about the future here is wipping bums of old people. This will be the reality if we don't change some of the mindset and govt approach.

I think people see one factory or industry closing down as a complete loss to the country, but in many cases its maybe simply because we have outgrown that industry. If the jobs lost from every factory that had every closed and never been replaced we'd have 60% unemployement and clearly this isn't the case, nor are the jobs that replaced them "bum wipping" jobs otherwise our average income wouldn't be as high as it is on the world scale. Depending on which GDP per capita you use we are in the top 9-15 with countries above that are usually small, with the specialised and often questional income and some with a slave/low paid workforce from other countries. ie GCC states, Luxemburg, Liechenstein, Macau, Swiss etc. Many of these countries have overtaken us in the last 20 years for various reasons that is nothing to do with Australia, often unethical and really we shouldn't be compared with.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Protectionism doesn't work...
RTT_Rules
Rubbish. It worked perfectly for nearly 100 years.
If the jobs lost from every factory that had every closed and never been replaced we'd have 60% unemployement and clearly this isn't the case...
RTT_Rules
It's because the unemployment rate doesn't necessarily reflect the decline in living standards for the bulk of the population. Real wages are growing at their slowest for 70 years - that's a sure-fire indicator that people are moving into lower paid, unstable, casual work just like Johnny Howard wanted with WorkChoices.
  doridori Chief Commissioner

The two realistic options for this election make Mark Latham appear a viable option!
Oh hell! Are we that desperate?
Valvegear
With the leaders of both parties returning popularity ratings at the lowest they've ever been recorded in the entirety of the polls being conducted, perhaps so!
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
...another example of our our ability to compete very effectively in services, along with education and tourism.
georges
I'd like to see exactly how well our leading multi-billion dollar 'export' services industry - education - would do WITHOUT the artificial incentive of residency at the end of the courses they offer. It would probably earn a tiny fraction of the money it does at the moment.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Andrew Bolt has now decided on his blog that Bill Shorten will win up to 10 seats in the election but will fall short of forming government. Personally I still think a hung parliament is the likely outcome... Incidentally I'm going to try and vote today to avoid the insanity of election day. Did anyone see Shaun Micallef last night? I'm totally with the ninety year old lady - why bother walking up the hill on July 2nd!
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Liberal adverts are getting ridiculous; not sure what they are running interstate but here in SA they're using a Liberal-aligned business group to run an advert telling us the submarines will be sunk unless we vote Liberal. Really? That's even MORE incentive not to vote for them and their colossal drain on precious taxpayer funds... and they use the analogy of a "submarine" light switching off on a car dashboard to remind us (who killed the car industry again?).
  georges Train Controller

The elephant in the room in any discussion of Australia in the 21st century is the mining boom. That boom provided a lift in living standards that helped disguise existing problems. In some cases it added to them. Our leaders helped squander the windfall that everyone knew could not last. The July federal election is the first ballot since the end of the boom - politicians need to be frank about what necessary adjustments that they, and we, must make to live as well as possible in this new world. They are falling short because of fear of offending anyone.  To give leaders some benefit of the doubt, there are no easy solutions. But ignoring the problem denies any solution and lets the market reach its own likely low-level outcome.

By 2013, the boom (beginning about a decade before) is estimated to have raised real per capita household disposable income by 13 per cent, raised real wages by 6 per cent and lowered the unemployment rate by about 1¼ percentage points. These improvements were almost unprecedented here, or in many other countries.  Except for domestic firms supplying mining equipment, the boom years did manufacturing few favours. In a staff paper published 18 months ago, the Reserve Bank has modelled the effect of the mining boom on the Australian economy. The study compares actual economic outcomes caused by the boom and compares them with what might have happened had the boom not occurred. The paper identifies benefits and costs. The latter included costs to manufacturing that had nothing to do with any reductions in Australia’s trade barriers. For example the modelling estimates that, as a result of the mining boom, the real exchange rate of the Australian dollar was 44 per cent higher in 2013, relative to its likely level in the absence of the boom (Graph 4). That is, the exchange rate would not have appreciated, had the boom not occurred, but would have remained around the same levels as the previous 20 years. This extraordinary movement dwarfs any reduction in manufacturing protection that occurred  (mainly through FTAs) during the boom. Agricultural exports were also reduced by the high exchange rate.

The RBA modelling estimates that manufacturing output in 2013 was about 5 per cent below what it would have been without the mining boom. Consumer demand for motor vehicles and other consumer durables increased strongly, reflecting lower import prices and strong income growth. Little or none of the increase in motor vehicle sales came from domestic production. Growing consumer preference for SUVs was the major factor in the contraction in the market share of locally manufactured vehicles. Australian manufacturers, except Ford, did not manufacture these vehicles and could not adapt to this change in consumers' preferences. The paper’s Graph 9 reveals that motor vehicle sales were above 40% higher than they would have been in the absence of the mining boom. The local auto industry declined, despite the very large growth in incomes. The sales increase in 2015 was accounted for solely by SUVs, especially small ones. Protection could not assist local industry in these circumstances..

There are international examples of where industry protection has fostered economic growth, mainly in the early stages of industrialisation or when a country was recovering from wartime devastation. The USA, Germany, Japan and South Korea are among those countries. Import protection is not what sustains their industries now. Historically, protection in Australia has helped many industries. Few have ever managed to become securely mature, able to stand on their own feet without assistance. Protection went hand-in-hand with the strategy of developing Australia in the second half of the twentieth century. Protected industries provided employment for the immigrants that Australia encouraged for thirty or forty years after the War. Even if protection were reintroduced here there is no guarantee that new businesses would be established in those areas now in decline. Government finances (maybe NSW excepted) would prevent the States from offering the tremendous incentives of the past, so critical in SA’s industrialisation. As in the oil refining industry, economies of scale applying to new manufacturing plants would not be available to an auto maker producing only for the Australian market - reducing the influence of any hypothetically possible level of tariff protection.

The consequences for regions heavily reliant on manufacturing, especially vehicle manufacturing, are grim. The 2006 Flinders/Mitsubishi study cited by don_dunstan, identifies the human and social costs of concentrated unemployment that had then only just begun. Things have got no better, and will likely worsen, with the Holden closure next year. It’s hard to disagree with dd’s comments on the lack of alternative employment opportunities and the largely futile retraining programs. Some American cities, e.g. Pittsburgh, have been able to initiate new employment-generating programs post de-industrialisation, based mainly on industries, including computer software, biotechnology, education and health care. Others, Detroit and Cleveland, come to mind, have had much less success. Pittsburgh’s success is not easy to emulate quickly. Its new industries hardly resembled the ones they replaced. A New York Times article in 2009 reviewed Pittsburgh’s experience.
  9034 Train Controller

Liberal adverts are getting ridiculous; not sure what they are running interstate but here in SA they're using a Liberal-aligned business group to run an advert telling us the submarines will be sunk unless we vote Liberal. Really? That's even MORE incentive not to vote for them and their colossal drain on precious taxpayer funds... and they use the analogy of a "submarine" light switching off on a car dashboard to remind us (who killed the car industry again?).
don_dunstan


The Unions

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/toyota-waits-on-federal-court-ruling-over-union-pay-deal-20131211-2z6ia.html

Their inability to recognise that the cost of producing cars in Australia was too high and that work practices needed to change cost workers their jobs.   They expected the Federal Government to continue bankrolling their employment.   How many billions of dollars was spent in this futile effort?

It is not that they were not warned.   From the 2002  Review of Automotive Assistance.  

"
While the industry still has some significant weaknesses — particularly in relation

to workplace arrangements and low production volumes — it sees considerable

scope to address these. Such action could greatly enhance the industry’s

competitiveness and future prospects.
"
http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/auto/report/auto.pdf
  Greensleeves Chief Commissioner

Location: If it isn't obvious by now, it should be.
Liberal adverts are getting ridiculous; not sure what they are running interstate but here in SA they're using a Liberal-aligned business group to run an advert telling us the submarines will be sunk unless we vote Liberal. Really? That's even MORE incentive not to vote for them and their colossal drain on precious taxpayer funds... and they use the analogy of a "submarine" light switching off on a car dashboard to remind us (who killed the car industry again?).


The Unions

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/toyota-waits-on-federal-court-ruling-over-union-pay-deal-20131211-2z6ia.html

Their inability to recognise that the cost of producing cars in Australia was too high and that work practices needed to change cost workers their jobs.   They expected the Federal Government to continue bankrolling their employment.   How many billions of dollars was spent in this futile effort?

It is not that they were not warned.   From the 2002  Review of Automotive Assistance.  

"
While the industry still has some significant weaknesses — particularly in relation

to workplace arrangements and low production volumes — it sees considerable

scope to address these. Such action could greatly enhance the industry’s

competitiveness and future prospects.
"
http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/auto/report/auto.pdf
9034

I take it that you don't think Abbott and Hockey daring Holden to go had anything to do with it? Or is it always the fault of Labor and the Unions?
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Digression: I'm an occasional reader of Andrew Bolt's (free at least) blog it's been quite funny to see him urging readers to buy his recently-released book every five seconds. And then this today:

A shopping tip: a prominent bookseller has said he cannot put my book on display in his shops for fear of causing upset to his staff, and so has stocked it discreetly at the back. Another shop seems to have made the same call, given that the book is stocked out of sight.

So you will have to do what a shopper told me they did, and actually ask if it’s in stock. Bring a brown paper bag, or, better still, order it on line and save yourself the hassle and the bookseller mortification to their ideological sensitivities.

Hmm, did it ever occur to you that the book shop owner was just trying to excuse the fact that he didn't even have it in stock, Andrew - because they know nobody will buy it? In the meantime he's also extremely sensitive about the fact that nobody is watching his Fox News TV show, taking a swipe at Media Watch for apparently under-quoting the numbers... it's 50,000+ according to him, not 20,000.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Georges: Thanks for yet another well thought out dissertation - I primarily agree with much of what you've said.

The mining boom was completely mis-managed by both sides of politics for various reasons - I think in part because there were some extremely strong vested interests from the mining industry trying to maximise their (at that time) windfall profits by buying political influence but also because nobody in power was thinking about what would happen once the boom was over. There seemed to be an attitude from many people that 'this is the new normal' and that minerals and energy exports were going to sustain us forever - no thought about the fact that we may actually need to remain somewhat diversified nor the fact that those industries wouldn't even come close to absorbing the tsunami of unemployed and under-employed being displaced by the high dollar.

We also shouldn't forget the role that our banks played in this scenario - deregulated from overseas borrowing since Fraser they have been pumping the real estate market and our dollar with cheap capital from overseas lenders who have seen us as a traditional low risk lender. The huge growth in ticket-clipping in financial services industry aided by the government is part of the reason IMO as to why every other productive activity has withered in this country. Private overseas liabilities have increased from a mere $2 billion in the late seventies to well over $1000 billion now - that's money that will have to be paid back in due course. Rudd probably made the situation inadvertently worse when he issued the banks with a borrowing guarantee at the height of the GFC allowing them to borrow even more but everything done since has thrown even more petrol on the fire. And there's no way that Turnbull, as a product of the banking establishment, is going to do anything to try and reign this in, is there.

There are numerous other factors of course - if you are talking specifically about the car industry then I think there was unwillingness on the part of the manufacturers to invest from late 90's onwards because they correctly anticipated the rise of the Asian consumer and wanted to be where the action was. Wages were higher than they should have been because the cheap money funded housing boom meant that Australian workers' wages needed to accelerate quickly to keep up; as an example Julia Gillard's house in Altona right near the Toyota plant was $150,000 when she originally bought it in the late 1990's but when she sold it a few years ago it nearly hit the million dollar mark. This is Altona for God's sake - not Toorak or Double Bay! The other factor was that once the industry became reluctant to invest in new models they completely missed the SUV thing which is where the Thai-made vehicles started pouring in ten years ago (conveniently tariff free thanks to Johnny Howard's lopsided trade agreement) and almost certainly destroyed any chance of keeping a viable industry here.

Hockey daring Holden to close was probably the final straw... I guess (like Keating) they probably think that they've done us all a favour by de-industrialising the nation and forcing everyone into lowly-paid, unstable service industry jobs. Personally I think the decision to move to a less diverse economy - a country that doesn't have a manufacturing capability - will be something we'll come to rue in the coming years. Especially when real estate/construction tanks - which will probably be sooner rather than later.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Five days to go.

Kelly O'Dwyer takes the unusual step of getting a Twitter account taken down - "Kelly is the new Sophie", with pictures of her campaigning with Sophie Mirabella. Strange that she would go to the lengths of doing that considering that it only had a few hundred followers and all it contained was those pictures - now she has drawn publicity to the fact that she doesn't want to be associated with Sophie Mirabella. And Peter Costello gets dragged back into campaigning on behalf of Kelly - writing to constituents in his former seat of Higgins to tell them what a fabulous local MP Kelly is and that they would be silly to consider voting for the Green (Jason Ball) who is apparently putting a very strong campaign in against her.

Meanwhile the latest Newspoll has the Liberals slightly ahead 51-49 and Malcolm is set to campaign again in South Australia where there's some significant concern from both parties about the likelihood of NXT winning at least two senate seats and perhaps up to three House of Reps seats. I guess we will know this time next week unless it's a repeat of 2010's incredibly close poll.

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