KELVIN'S BLOG: Herald Sun Editorial “Rebuilding the Nation”

Today’s Herald Sun Editorial, “Rebuilding the Nation”, is a much needed breath of fresh air in what has been for a long time a very short-sighted debate about globalisation and free trade.

Today’s Herald Sun Editorial, “Rebuilding the Nation”, is a much needed breath of fresh air in what has been for a long time a very short-sighted debate about globalisation and free trade.

The Editorial supports the Federal Government’s proposed review of our reliance on overseas manufacturing and global supply chains, making particular mention of our recent struggle to get enough medical equipment such as masks and respirators.

It goes on to say that if the government is serious about reforming industry policy, it must analyse the mistakes of the past and ensure we start rebuilding our manufacturing base to help protect us from global crises.

It points out that “When the national economy was deregulated and protectionism phased out in the 1980s, Australians were promised hi-tech industries would evolve to replace our traditional manufacturing sectors. This didn’t happen to any great degree, and now we have Victoria importing $50 billion more in goods and services than it exports”.

The Sustainable Australia Party agrees strongly, and has campaigned about the need for Australia to be more self-sufficient.

Even before the coronavirus struck, there were plenty of warning signs that our economy was becoming too narrow and vulnerable. Analysts like Bob Birrell and Dennis Glover have pointed out the failure of the 1980s reforms to deliver what they promised. Last year the Harvard Kennedy School’s Centre for International Development launched a database of 133 economies with an index of economic complexity. Between 1995 and 2017, Australia had fallen from 57th place to 93rd place, a decline that is accelerating. Conversely, Australia’s top trading partner, China, rose from 51st to 19th over the same timeframe.

One lesson we certainly need to learn from our experience with the pandemic is to be more self-sufficient. We could start by bringing home the offshore call centres, which have proved to be a disaster for Australian consumers in times of crisis.

The Hon. Kelvin Thomson
National Media Spokesperson
Sustainable Australia Party

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  • Tom Gosling
    commented 2020-06-23 11:58:28 +1000
    Most certainly, overseas call centres should be banned. Comparative advantage does NOT mean just being able to pay people peanuts. Company registration in Australia should be dependent on using all-Australian staff in call and chat centres.