Liberal M.P. sees the light? [by Andrew Phillips]

By Andrew Phillips, 19th September 2006

It’s a hope beyond all hope that an independent soul amongst our parliamentary nest of vipers will ever have the sense or integrity to understand what is happening in our nation, much less speak out about it.

Certainly on the Federal scene there have been the rare exceptions to the rule, notably Graeme Campbell and to a lesser extent Bob Katter, however, here in South Australia the serpents are keen to toe the party line, with one eye on their career and the other on their lucrative superannuation package.

However, having read the recent column in the Adelaide Advertiser written by Opposition Treasury Spokesman, Rob Lucas, one could be forgiven for almost believing the poor sod has experienced a “Saul on the road to Damascus” encounter, with the political scales falling from his greedy globalist eyes and the true economic horror that is to befall “his people” right before him in all it’s glory.

In his article entitled “Manufacturing is critical for SA jobs”, Mr. Lucas laments the “Massive recent job losses at Electrolux, Holden, Mitsubishi, Sheridan, Ion, Air International and many other firms have left thousands of South Australian workers and their families worrying about their futures and the future of manufacturing industry in SA”.

Reads like a patriotic press release……

Mr. Lucas is quite right in his criticism of the Rann Labor regime and it’s penchant for defence and mining industry policy. Rann fawns over these sectors like some golden calf or a veritable cornucopia which promises to spill forth all manner of great things for the population of SA — the answer to all our prayers. No, it doesn’t matter that the factory you have been employed in for 10 to 20 years is shipping your jobs over to Asia to take advantage of sweat shop labour, you can simply shift into a life in the mines and leave your wife to take care of the children for a fortnight at a time.

Likewise, Mr. Lucas’ criticism of Rann’s closure of the Centre for Innovation, Business and Manufacturing which was a somewhat lame attempt to breathe life into our state’s beleaguered manufacturing sector in the face of continued assaults by importers of cheap foreign products.

The manufacturing sector in South Australia once employed 27% of our workforce. We produced fine quality goods made by our own people — goods that actually last. The manufacturing sector fuelled our state’s growth, ensured young South Australians had an option for work when they left school and employed countless apprentices who could learn a useful trade.

Successive governments, both Labor and Liberal, Federal and State, have systematically undermined our manufacturing sector and thrown (In Mr. Lucas’ own words) thousands of South Australians onto the scrap heap.

Where are the Buy Australian campaigns? What of the mooted coding of products to ensure consumers understand the origin of the product they are purchasing (i.e. Australian made & Australian owned, Australian made & foreign owned, Australian owned & foreign made, entirely foreign product, percentage of foreign input, etc.)? Are the Australian people denied such guidance because such an action would be deemed a contravention of GATS or Free Trade Agreements — giving an unfair advantage to local producers?

Such considerations are best swept under the carpet, along with a sensible open discussion on the taxation issue.

Mr. Lucas was doing so well in his apparent claim to have seen the light and his declaration that he cared for the trials faced by working class Australians in the golden age of globalisation, economic rationalism and de-regulation.

“While national and international factors are obviously important to the future of manufacturing, it is not true to argue that State Government policies have no influence”.

What a disappointment. Just another cheap shot at Labor Party policy (or lack thereof), with no recognition of the culpability his party bears in both the State and Federal arena for the ever increasing number of Australian manufacturing workers left on the scrapheap, the directionless and disheartened school leavers unsure of what the future holds in the recent new era of Industrial Relation reforms (instigated by his Party), the decreasing presence of Australian made goods upon our retailers’ shelving and for the bloody-minded pursuit of the farcical “level playing field” whereby Australian workers must compete with Third World workers on slave wages.

Nice try Robbie, but you’re better off leaving the genuine defence of Australian workers and their families’ futures to a Party created by real Australians, representing true Australians and their genuine concerns.

Australian Protectionism — the ONLY way forward.

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