There has been a lot of discussion about the coalition of women, African Americans and Latino voters that supported Obama, yet we seem to have missed what pushed the swing states over the line.

Reckon they'll ever make the Gillard equivalent of this US auto worker's t-shirt?

The key to understanding Obama’s victory is the not simply the auto-bailout, but his ability to convince people that American manufacturing is worth supporting because it is in the national interest. That it represents the future.

Take a look at his speeches. Or his adverts. Many of these were targeted at Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan, used the real stories of manufacturing workers and the lessons of the bail out - contrasting them with the position of Romney who argued that the auto-industry should be left to go to the wall.

Manufacturing was at the heart of Obama’s pitch for re-election because it worked for him. Fifty-nine per cent of the population of Ohio supported the auto-bailout.

Let’s examine his policies. Obama sought to adopt the tried and true way to cope with an economic disaster. He invested in the economy and he backed America’s strength of ingenuity and self-reliance.

Obama has strengthened the Buy Local policies, which build on an incredibly strong Buy American foundation – for example, the Jones Act which mandates that defence ships must be built locally.

Obama invested in initiatives that got work back into factories, but enhanced their capacity by creating technological capital and investing in industries with the capacity to grow - industries like renewable energy.

The so-called battleground states played a part. Predominantly working people, hit hard by the global financial crisis - Obama pitched directly at specific parts of America that were concerned first and foremost about their jobs.

But when you look at the results it really hits home: under the leadership of Obama, Ohio’s unemployment rate has gone from 11 per cent in 2008 to 7 per cent today.

Ohio’s manufacturing sector increased output by 12 per cent, or $8 billion over the past two years. It represents a quarter of the state’s economy.

Ohio is now actually relocating jobs back from overseas. The companies are changing. They’re becoming more hi-tech, higher skilled and higher waged. Now, Ohio’s economy will rest on the skills of its workers.

These lessons should be screaming at those seeking re-election in Australia. Because here’s the rub, manufacturing is under similar pressure in this country, and it will play as strategically significant a role in the up-coming election.

Skills lie at the heart of our economy. Manufacturing employs a similar proportion of Australians to Ohio, and is significant in almost every state and region of Australia.

We also face profound challenges. Post GFC, Australia has lost tens of thousands of jobs. The high dollar is killing us. Free trade agreements aren’t supporting our exports because we lack level playing fields with our competitors.

Australia has lost a decade of productivity reform due to an unerring focus on industrial relations when the real gains are in technology, skills and management reform. We’re trying to cut tea breaks while the world is investing in their own.

We’ve lost 125,000 manufacturing jobs since the GFC. And like Obama’s America, we have to stand up and face the future.

Manufacturing will be critical at the next election, because people’s jobs matter. They know we have to use our smarts and our skills to make manufacturing stronger and more sustainable.

But we need government to back us in. We need proper infrastructure priorities with funding. In real terms, it’s better than a surplus because it lifts us all.

We need to buy Australian. We need to make sure major projects buy Australian. And we need to be serious about it. We need to be prepared to know that Australian made is quality and that we should feel proud to by it and confident in its capacity.

And, like the US, we need a car industry at the heart of it. The car industry provides the whole sector with a strong connection to research and development, associated components, parts and service industries.

Saving the auto-industry was critical for Obama’s endeavours in turning the economy around and keeping him in the White House. Our Federal Election should be shaped on similar lines.

One side of politics has called for half a billion dollars to be gutted from the car industry. There are bigger issues here than glib one-liners. This is in our national interest.

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    • acotrel says:

      06:15am | 14/11/12

      ‘Manufacturing will be critical at the next election, because people’s jobs matter. They know we have to use our smarts and our skills to make manufacturing stronger and more sustainable.’

      We must recognise that we are now part of the global free market, and that subsidies won’t cure endemic problems in our manufacturing industry. It is time to get genuine about documented and audited management systems to control operational risk, and to be used as a basis for training.  Quality management is about repeat business, OHS and Environmental ans Securty management must involve a balanced approach which applies to both product and process.  If we tr y to compete with the Chinese and Indians on their own terms at the low end of the market, we must lose out even in the short term. To sustain our high wages and exemplary conditions, we must produce products of corresponding high value (quality). We need a paradigm shift involving a change of culture and mindset with unions and employers pursuing common goals and ambitions.  The consequences of failing to do this from now on could be horrendous for all - we could face an economic collapse. It is time for our government to lead Australia in a constructive manner and with a strong vision for the future.

    • Penguin says:

      07:54am | 14/11/12

      @ acotrel. You are selling an impossible dream rather than reality about “quality” winning out in the competition between countries and companies.

      Follow reality and case studies. Look at Japan’s top electronics companies like Canon, Sharp, Sony, Panasonic. They are really tops in quality but recent analysis and reports suggest that they are in sharp decline and may not survive for another 20 years.

      We in Australia are no where in the game because of the history of our manufacturing and our small domestically oriented industries.

      Why not talk to real people in the manufacturing rather than get high sounding abstract principles from textbooks?

      Do you know many of our mining plants are manufactured in China, assembled and tested then broken down into parts and shipped to Australia?

    • acotrel says:

      08:13am | 14/11/12

      @Penguine

      ‘Why not talk to real people in the manufacturing industry’

      ‘Been there, done that ! ’  for nearly forty years.  Do you think I’m an idiot ?  I might just know what I am talking about.  The alternative to moving up-market is to lay down and die !

    • Dr B S Goh, Australian in Asia says:

      08:29am | 14/11/12

      @ acrotrel.  I rather we spend billions a year supporting our manufacturing industries rather than waste money by giving ten percent (worth more than one billion dollars a year) of our carbon tax to UN as per the Agreement signed by the Hon Combet at the Cancum Meeting.

      Why must Australia inflict harm on itself over the carbon tax which has zero impact on global warming?

      What stirred me up in the past one year is the absolute nonsense in Australia over, ” The greatest moral challenge of our time in global warming.”

      May I quote the latest report from New York Times, In all, coal use is expected to increase 50 percent by 2035, said Milton Catelin, executive director of the London-based World Coal Association , see http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/13/business/energy-environment/china-leads-the-way-as-demand-for-coal-surges-worldwide.html?hpw&_r=0&pagewanted=all

    • Gregg says:

      08:55am | 14/11/12

      @acotrel,
      I reckon penguin about sums it up for you and what btw is that higher quality product we should all be manufacturing!
      Do you not think the Chinese or others in Asia are not all capable of the same manufacturing and in fact could even now be doing it ahead of us!

      ” Do you think I’m an idiot ?  “
      You need to ask!

      If you want a vision, ask yourself what are the basics of survival so you’ll not be laying down to die and the latest Ipad will be well behind clean water, good food and reasonable shelter as being of the highest value to life.

      And Doc!,
      I am surprised that you would not be pushing food production extra hard.

    • acotrel says:

      09:15am | 14/11/12

      @Gregg
      ‘Do you not think the Chinese or others in Asia are not all capable of the same manufacturing and in fact could even now be doing it ahead of us!

      Can you point to one product invented, designed and developed in China and not copied from one of western origin?  The Chinese are not Japanese, and even most of their’s are copies or simply the result of development.of existing.

    • Jb says:

      10:55am | 14/11/12

      @acotrel, we all want cheep goods and no where is cheapter than China.
      Do you want to buy a sports shoe made in Australia for $200 or the exact same show made in China for $70. The answer is clear to all but the most diehard Labor or Union members.
      Like it or not we CAN NOT compete with China on Labour costs!

    • Dr B S Goh, Australian in Asia says:

      11:00am | 14/11/12

      @ Gregg. Good morning. Nice of you to remember my interest in food production and the looming critical food crisis in Asia. Paul Ehrlich is in Australia giving lectures. Hope you and others will go and listen to him.

      Two items in today’s news worry me. Firstly there is report in today’s Australian that the WA Govt is giving away for a peppercorn rent 15,200 ha of prime irrigated land to a company from China, see http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/chinese-secure-northern-foodbowl-as-row-over-ord-river-lease-continues/story-fn59niix-1226516223693. I wish the State Govts in Australia will only do so for companies from small countries like Singapore, Qatar etc. In the looming critical global food crisis in Asia we must avoid having conflicts with big elephant countries like China.

      Second report that is bad for our future is the news on a topic pushed by Western trained academics in China that China should loosen its one child policy. See: http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/2012-11/13/content_15925096.htm. This is really bad for Australia. The food equation in China is finely balanced. Last year China census reported 1.34 billion people with 74m added in the last ten years. If the one child policy in China is weakened China will also suffer severe food shortage in the looming food crisis in Asia before 2050. If China makes more effective its one child policy it will survive the looming food crisis. It is in the best interests of Australia to encourage China to maintain and increase the effectiveness of its one child policy.

    • acotrel says:

      11:26am | 14/11/12

      @JB
      In soft goods the Chinese are already capable of producing quality product.  We don’t usually see it here, but if you visit Stanley Market in Hong Kong you will be amazed.  Our importers know we will accept crap clothing if it is cheap. We can still lead the quality race in engineered product if we can effect a culture change quickly enough.

    • marley says:

      01:03pm | 14/11/12

      @acotrel - no, the Chinese aren’t the Japanese.  The Japanese aren’t American or German or Dutch, but they copied a lot of American and German and Dutch products in the 50s and 60s, and then started building better ones.  So have the Taiwanese, for that matter.  I don’t see any particular reason to think the Chinese can’t do the same.  I’d be interested to know why you think it’s so impossible.

    • Black Dynamite says:

      02:31pm | 14/11/12

      Can you point to one product invented, designed and developed in China and not copied from one of western origin?

      Noodles, Gunpowder, Toilet Paper, Tofu, Tea, Porcelain, dominoes, playing cards, use of Pig Iron, Natural gas used as fuel, Matches, Land Mines, Kites, domesticated goldfish, Flares, Fireworks, Anti-ship ballistic missiles, the e-cig, malaria treatment, maglev wind generators.

      BD

    • Gregg says:

      03:32pm | 14/11/12

      @Doc
      ”  I wish the State Govts in Australia will only do so for companies from small countries like Singapore, Qatar etc. In the looming critical global food crisis in Asia we must avoid having conflicts with big elephant countries like China. “
      Leasing is a great idea, far better than outright sale and it will allow the chinese to pour in some $$$ to see what they can do in the WA NW where food agriculture has had its difficulties, just far too hot for too long a period each year - six or seven months where tou can rely on it being in excess of 30C and for the three months peak, probably over 40C and the very reason why a lot of the Ord River irrigation area already worked has been turned over to Sandalwood plantations.

      The Chinese with by far the greatest population have more appetites to sate and why if Australia is co-operating in a friendly manner should we be having conflicts - the reverse would possibly make it different.

      ” Second report that is bad for our future is the news on a topic pushed by Western trained academics in China that China should loosen its one child policy. “
      And for a reasonable future for China, so they should too for projection of their demographics has the Chinese in coming decades having a significant problem in not only caring for their elderly as there is very limited superannuation and pensions etc. and thus parents rely on younger generations who will also be needed to maintain their manufacturing base.
      For sure, keeping some control of their population is desirable but so too a balance of males to females and ages is important.
      I suspect a military population of a few million males or so without much opportunity for female company could make for some real odd mental attitudes but then we could always lease Julia out to train them in the appropriate sexist ways.

    • PJ says:

      06:05pm | 14/11/12

      ** time for the Government what?

      Well the carbon tax put 15% straight onto our cost of goods before we’ve applied a mark up for profit.

      We have been ranked 50th in an assessment on productivity growth, according to a global survey that places the nation’s economic performance behind loads of other countries, including New Zealand and Colombia. Botswana was last at 52.

      The study ranked total factor productivity growth, which was defined as a measure of how efficiently and effectively the main factors of production - labour and capital - combined to generate output.

      The Australian Human Resources Institute said the nation’s poor rankings for economic performance and regulatory framework “can be traceable to the Fair Work Act”.

      Yeah, lets call time on this Government.

      ** unions and employers pursuing common goals and ambitions…..

      Unions will never work collaboratively with employers, that pursue the cheaper 457 employee, cheaper and more obedient, that the Gillard Government has made available for the Big Australia.

    • Mahhrat says:

      06:28am | 14/11/12

      Oh, this one’s going to be FUN.

      I agree with pretty much everything except the need for an auto industry.  We need SOMETHING, I agree, but not necessarily an auto industry.

      If that happens to be the best available global choice then that’s great.  Personally, I’d like to see high-end technology manufacturing, energy production & science, but that may not create enough jobs.

    • Big Jay says:

      07:43am | 14/11/12

      “Personally, I’d like to see high-end technology manufacturing, energy production & science, but that may not create enough jobs”

      According to the Chairman of Dow Chemical, there is a larger job multiplier for advanced manufacturing, so for a job (say mechatronic engineer) in that field creates 5 other jobs. However, in banking, each job creates about 1.3 other jobs down the line. So you’re probably not as misguided as you think.

    • Mahhrat says:

      09:02am | 14/11/12

      @Big Jay:  Dammit, and I try so HARD to be misguided smile

    • Amy says:

      09:12am | 14/11/12

      The German economy’s based on hi-tech manufacturing (and design).  Maybe we need to ask them? smile

    • acotrel says:

      09:46am | 14/11/12

      I will bet that in the next twenty years the Chinese will buy more Audis than Commodores.

    • willie says:

      01:03pm | 14/11/12

      The German economy is based on an undervalued euro.
      They also have much lower wages than us.

    • Tim says:

      07:42am | 14/11/12

      Doesn’t translate. With an unemployment rate the envy of the world, jobs are the least of our worries. We’re more interested in making profits by getting our stuff made in China.

    • Stephen says:

      08:14am | 14/11/12

      GM of Telstra, “Our profits are down! I DEMAND TO KNOW WHY”

      Flunky, “No-one’s buying our stuff.”

      GM, “Why not?”

      Flunky, “They haven’t got jobs.”

      GM, “Why not?”

      Flunky, “We moved them all to China.”

    • acotrel says:

      09:50am | 14/11/12

      @Stephen
      But the importers at the top end of town and their shareholders have got plenty of money.  Haven’t you heard about ‘the trickle doon effect or wealth’ ?  ‘The system runs on bullshit’ !

    • majority says:

      07:50am | 14/11/12

      It is grossly simplistic and untrue to state that Romney said ” the auto-industry should be left to go to the wall”
      The link to the article is here
      http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/opinion/19romney.html
      He actually says this in the article “In a managed bankruptcy, the federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check”
      A sub-editor chose a headline that didn’t match the content of the article.
      Lying and exaggerating doesn’t help your cause

    • acotrel says:

      08:19am | 14/11/12

      It is smarter to change the culture and build on existing expertise than re-invent the wheel, however you wouldn’t expect a toe-cutting imposter management ‘expert’ to know that ! And it would be beyond his capability to expedite the change anyway.  That is why he got the bum’s rush from the American voters.  He’s a bullshit artist !

    • Re-posted says:

      09:37am | 14/11/12

      Yes, Mr. Romney did use the “bankrupt” word in conjunction with Detroit’s fate, as President Obama charged near the second debate’s beginning. (“When Governor Romney said we should let Detroit go bankrupt, I said, we’re going to bet on American workers and the American auto industry,” were the president’s exact words.)
      In fact, Romney published an opinion piece in The New York Times on Nov. 18, 2008, that was titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” He didn’t write the headline, but was given a chance to approve it, according to the Times.
      The piece opposed the bailout auto executives were begging for at the time. Better to let the weaker Detroit firms go through a “managed bankruptcy,” wrote Romney, so they could emerge leaner on the other side, shed of onerous union contracts, pension obligations, and real estate costs. 
      “Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check,” wrote Romney back then.
      At the height of the fiscal crisis In 2008, commercial lending was dead, hence the need for government funding.

      So yes, Romney wanted the Auto industry to go bankrupt. Pretty hard to change history, especially the Romney loser bit.

    • acotrel says:

      11:19am | 14/11/12

      The Americam auto industry is facing the same problem as we do.  Their domestic market expects bigger cars than are economically viable and getting things such as hybrids or even small petrol driven cars accepted is a problem.  I believe it is a failure to adapt to change, the lag time is destructive.  I’d love to own a V12 Dodge Viper - some things are so bad that they are good.  But I feel the time for that sort of frivolity is past, and we must play those games with the sports model Audis, and BMW based Morris Cooper Ss. Holdens are a long way from that. I own two Mazda 6s, both have 6 speed manual gearboxes and auto suspension control.  I believe they are based on a rally car - superb to drive on twisty roads, and good on the highway with cruise control that actually works.  - ‘Fit for purpose with obvious attention to detail.”

    • willie says:

      01:26pm | 14/11/12

      IIRC Romney said the auto industry should go through a traditional bankruptcy with the government as financier. What happened with GM was some weird government backed reorganisation that protected unsecured creditors, read unions, over secured creditors. It can’t be called a bankruptcy because some of the things that happened are illegal under US law.

      So GM shed a lot of dealerships but was left with the giant millstone of the UAW still hanging from its neck. This might have been the best shorterm solution but we will have to wait to see if it works.

      There is also the question of the White House effectively transferring $26B to the UAW one of its biggest political supporters.

      Alcotrell
      The viper has always been a V10. And while I agree the mazda6 is a great car and the new one is one of the best looking cars ever the commodore is a great car to drive too. It’s definitely better handling than the 6.

    • iansand says:

      08:09am | 14/11/12

      Two of the things that have stalled Australia is the gutlessness of our financiers and the stupid assumption that the cost of labour is the major cause of structural inefficiency.

      Financiers because any Australian with a good idea eventually gives up on development in Australia as no one will give her or him money for development, so off they go overseas to make a fortune for someone else.

      The cost of labour because our politicians (aided and abetted by unions and employer groups) have got themselves into their trenches and are fighting the Battle of the Somme instead of blitzkrieg.  The challenge is to find a way to run industry in a way that justifies the wages paid, for everyone’s increased prosperity.  And that way must involve unions and employer groups working together.

    • Gregg says:

      09:08am | 14/11/12

      Sounds nice Ian but as far as you can get from reality.
      First off, financiers have a responsibility to see a return on financing, be it to themselves if personally providing finances or more broadly if it is a collective situation.
      Returns will be very dependent on costs of manufacturing, overheads like transport/distribution, what the market will pay and how big the market is.

      The first three are of course going to be affected by labour costs and that will in turn affect what the market will see as a reasonable price and then our own domestic market is bugger all compared with that of the asian region where labour costs will be bugger all compared to here in Australia.

      ” The challenge is to find a way to run industry in a way that justifies the wages paid, for everyone’s increased prosperity. “
      Certainly it is a challenge and with global free trade and a great disparity in wages abroad to here, just what way do you think is possible?

    • iansand says:

      09:44am | 14/11/12

      Gregg - Cut those negative waves.  Worrywarts like you are another problem for Australia.  Don’t tell me why it can’t be done.  Find a way to do it..

    • acotrel says:

      10:00am | 14/11/12

      @Gregg
      Offshore financiers use the same methods as Australians to assess the risk involved in a business venture.  Yet they are the people who exploit the designs.
      Unions and employers would cooperate more often if it wasn’t for the ambitions of idiot politicians and their cynical actions.. Industrial harmony and common goals can only come from parliament.  A bipartisan approach to development must be found and explotied.  But first we must find answers to a couple of conundrums and decide our path :.
      Is prosperity without growth possible ?
      Is a totally service based economy possible?

    • Tubesteak says:

      10:26am | 14/11/12

      There is not enough money in this country to really take a risk. Most businesses fail. 97% of small businesses fail in their first 5 years. The vast majority of start-ups fail simply because they don’t have a product that can generate enough revenue in the market. On the rare occasion that they do the bigger players copy it or modify it and then beat the small guy at their own game. The only time the small guy wins is if they are smart enough to develop their product to the stage where they can sell it to the big guy to then sell it around the world.

      Developing a world-beating product and taking it global takes decades to do. Most financiers want to see returns after a short amount of time. It’s simply not feasible to finance a start-up because you cannot have capital locked up for that amount of time.

      Moreover, our tax system discourages investing in these businesses.  Because of CGT you know your risk is going to be taken by tax (no CGT discount for companies) if it ever produces a return.

      Also, most investment vehicles such as super funds are supposed to invest for moderate yearly gains. Most of our market is geared toward this eventuality.

    • Gregg says:

      03:45pm | 14/11/12

      @acotrel
      ” Unions and employers would cooperate more often if it wasn’t for the ambitions of idiot politicians and their cynical actions.. Industrial harmony and common goals can only come from parliament. “

      You mean you would be supportive of Labor leaning more towards work choices than they already do!
      Nearly seems you’re coming around to be an LNP supporter.

      Prosperity is possible without growth any greater than population and productivity increases and ultimately it may mean that work has to be shared around more and we’ll all have greater free time.
      Problems arise in getting the right skill mixes and what to do with the bludgers who do not want to pull their weight.
      An economy based on services alone is not likely to succeed for numerous reasons.

    • Marty says:

      08:52am | 14/11/12

      Here we go, the old cultural cringe will start soon – let the local falcodores die so we can have euro trash mobile for less, only bogans drive them anyway so who cares etc…  Well that’s not what this is about - Automobiles are the most technological advanced items we own, they require an advanced manufacturing process and the end product must work in the in harshest of environments.  Think about this for a moment then try leaving you iPad/Pod/Phone out in the rain for a few days and see how well it works.  Or imagine if your car took as long as the said ‘i’ devices to start!  As the car is part of our every-day life we forget what a complex machine it is, some will say rockets and combat aircraft are more complex, yes they are in some ways but they are for the most part made by hand and require frequent servicing, meaning that the process to develop, build and service is not a complex as car.  My point is we already have and an advanced manufacturing sector and we need to invest in it so that it is viable.  Maybe you don’t want a Falcodore and object to the tax money invested, well ok you have a right to that opinion, but a balanced economy requires a manufacturing sector and if it fails you might suddenly find we are all in trouble.

    • Gee Jay says:

      09:18am | 14/11/12

      Yes Marty—Yes-you are spot on !  Lets not forget that the Falcodores,as you put it, ARE world class vehicles !  I speak as a 30 year veteran of the industry….

    • Gee Jay says:

      09:18am | 14/11/12

      Yes Marty—Yes-you are spot on !  Lets not forget that the Falcodores,as you put it, ARE world class vehicles !  I speak as a 30 year veteran of the industry….

    • Joe says:

      09:27am | 14/11/12

      A typical beat-up by a Union Boss. Many of his so called ‘facts’ are wrong. Check the real figures on US unemployment: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/unemployment-increases-in-swing-states-says-hudson-chief-economist-tim-kane-2012-11-02
      This guy needs to read and understand what these figures really mean a little more deeply.

      Throwing money at an inefficient industry might get you some votes but can bring the country to its knees. After all its the peoples money that is being handed to the inefficient union dominated industries.

      Obama was reelected because he is great at buying people off with handouts that he expects others to pay for. Half the country is now on some form of welfare while the rest pay for them. We are doing the same here.

    • Gregg says:

      09:34am | 14/11/12

      You are right Paul in that manufacturing is important for Australia just as it is for any country whose citizens want products and employment.

      It is also important to recognise that there is a great disparity in labour costs between Australia and many countries in the asian region to our north that aside from New Zealand are our closest markets.

      Obama would seem to recognise some of that principle with the Jones Act
      ” Obama has strengthened the Buy Local policies, which build on an incredibly strong Buy American foundation – for example, the Jones Act which mandates that defence ships must be built locally. “
      Have the US partially at least abandoned the WTO principles of a level playing field for it would very much appear to be so.

      So whether we legislate for manufacture in Australia or apply tariffs, one way or another in doing so we could all expect to be paying much more for imported products unless of course we just be selective with tariffs.

      ” Obama invested in initiatives that got work back into factories, but enhanced their capacity by creating technological capital and investing in industries with the capacity to grow - industries like renewable energy. “

      We also need to recognise that the US, Australia isn’t and not just on domestic market terms for they also have the likes of Canada and the rest of the Americas as populous markets in close proximity and Europe also not so far away.
      They also have a much broader manufacturing base.
      Renewable energy is questionable as we are seeing already massive increases in electricity charges in recent years and that too will make a massive impact on manufacturing costs.

      ” These lessons should be screaming at those seeking re-election in Australia. Because here’s the rub, manufacturing is under similar pressure in this country, and it will play as strategically significant a role in the up-coming election. “
      The rub is that a clear picture needs to be established of what is a sustainable subsidy level for our auto makers and their supplier manufacturers to maintain their product competiveness or do we just legislate for local manufacture like Obama has done for ships.

      That is what you seem to be saying with:
      ” We need to buy Australian. We need to make sure major projects buy Australian. And we need to be serious about it. We need to be prepared to know that Australian made is quality and that we should feel proud to by it and confident in its capacity. “

      It is beyond time that developed nations governments recognised that the WTO level playing field principles will just lead to the demise of their countries.
      It would seem that Obama has at least partially acted on that.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      12:17pm | 14/11/12

      Don’t need industry subsidies, Australia needs tariffs or other non obvious protectionist measures like the Asian countries have. Free trade has never worked despite what the academics and economists say- the Asian countries are protectionist and their economies are robust, while the Free Trade countries like United States and Great Britain are doing horribly in every sense.

    • marley says:

      01:07pm | 14/11/12

      Oh, I dunno.  Canada’s doing okay, and it’s a free trade country.  The advantage of free trade, especially for a smaller country, is that it gives you access to a much bigger market and you can then enjoy economies of scale, making your product more competitive.  It does tend to wipe out your uncompetitive industries, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Germany’s free trade as well, by the way.  It’s doing pretty well too.

    • tgs says:

      04:06pm | 14/11/12

      Surpised that Paul Bastian didn’t delcare that he is the national secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union in the interests of full dislcosure.

      Knowing that fact puts his simplistic and self-interested calls for returns to protectionism in context.

 

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From: Hasbro, go straight to gaol, do not pass go

Tim says:

They should update other things in the game too. Instead of a get out of jail free card, they should have a Dodgy Lawyer card that not only gets you out of jail straight away but also gives you a fat payout in compensation for daring to arrest you in the first place. Instead of getting a hotel when you… [read more]

From: A guide to summer festivals especially if you wouldn’t go

Kel says:

If you want a festival for older people or for families alike, get amongst the respectable punters at Bluesfest. A truly amazing festival experience to be had of ALL AGES. And all the young "festivalgoers" usually write themselves off on the first night, only to never hear from them again the rest of… [read more]

Gentle jabs to the ribs

Superman needs saving

Superman needs saving

Can somebody please save Superman? He seems to be going through a bit of a crisis. Eighteen months ago,… Read more

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