Howes will dump on anyone, except for Gillard
You’ve got to wonder how genuine Union boss Paul Howes’ latest headline-grabbing attempt to put himself centre-stage really is.
He’s launched the “Don’t Dump on Australia” campaign, ostensibly on behalf of his union members, to encourage people to protest Australia’s ineffective anti-dumping laws.
Fair enough. But the question is – why doesn’t he just get on the phone to the woman he installed as PM? Why doesn’t he remind Julia that he knifed Kevin to get her there and, after all, this is the year “of decision and delivery”.
Labor has been letting the Productivity Commission Report on Anti-Dumping legislation sit in their “too hard” basket since December 2009.
That’s 14 months and counting. Not a peep from Labor or their union mates. If the Coalition had taken such a cavalier approach to an issue vital to Australian workers and jobs, I dare say Mr Howes would have his members marching in the streets.
Instead, he’s using tough rhetoric but actually advocating a benign “contact your local member” approach to implore Aussie Mums and Dads to be his foot-soldiers on his Emperor-like approach to political stardom. It all reeks of spin.
The fact is, the practice of dumping goods in the Australian market cheaper than they are sold at home, does cost local jobs. On that I can agree with Mr Howes.
Australian industry is among the most efficient, effective and innovative in the world, and some sectors have had to work hard over the years to succeed on a not-so level playing field. There’s nothing fair or level about the practice of dumping.
If Australia is to be more than a tourist destination, if we want to continue to be a nation that produces and makes things, we need to ensure that our markets are not distorted by good that are subsidised by foreign governments.
In my discussions with Australian business, I know that they regard the current anti-dumping regime as too expensive to access, too cumbersome and more often than not retrospective. The onus is on local industry to prove that not only dumping has occurred but that it has caused or is likely to cause materiel injury to an Australian industry – and even a successful case can end up costing the relevant Australian Industry hundreds of thousands of dollars.
This week, amid Paul Howes’s chest-thumping, Tony Abbott actually announced the Coalition’s plan to tackle the anti-dumping regime and make it fairer, simpler and more effective. As Shadow Minister I’ll be chairing a Taskforce that, in consultation with Industry, will come up with solutions to the current flawed anti-dumping regime.
The Taskforce will be nuts and bolts stuff – not merely a slogan or campaign. We’ll be fully prepared to address this issue in Government.
Of course, as Paul Howes’ knows, his great mate Julia Gillard has all the resources of Government to enhance and improve Australia’s anti-dumping laws right now. So why hasn’t she?
Maybe the machinations are even more Machiavellian than I give Gillard credit for? Perhaps this chest-thumping from Howes is a carefully designed precursor to the Government actually making an announcement, designed to give Howes a personal victory as payback for favors rendered?
Talk about “dumping” on Australian jobs and workers.
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