A mate of mine went on a family holiday to China in January. He relayed an interesting item from a local English language newspaper about a new pay deal which had been struck for manufacturing workers in Macau. Under the deal, the workers will be paid AUD $239. Not $239 a day. Not $239 a week. But $239 a month.
Factoids such as this are illustrative, and depressingly so, as countries such as Australia grapple with the future of manufacturing jobs. The current discussion about the future of the car industry has been complicated by the high Australian dollar, which is driving up the cost of everything we export.
Regardless of whether our dollar was at 70 cents or at parity with the greenback we would still be wrestling with the exact same problems of competition amid the unstoppable forces of globalisation.
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You really have to wonder how spectacularly insecure or under-endowed a bloke must be if he chooses to demonstrate his masculinity by shooting a majestic animal such as a giraffe or a hippo.
Yet these are the very people which the self-styled hard man from North Queensland, Bob “No Poofters” Katter, has surrounded himself with as he builds a support base for his fledgling Australia Party.
It is tempting to write Katter off as a harmless nut or an amusing novelty on the political landscape who will never exert any influence over policy. The polls suggest however that his party may poll strongly in his home state at a federal election.