December 13th 2003

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY : Does a new ALP leader mean a new direction?

EDITORIAL: More Australian industries to be sacrificed

HONG KONG: Pro-democracy party triumphs in HK election

DRUGS: Parliamentary Committee recommends dumping Harm Minimisation

COMMENT: Internet porn's innocent victims

STRAWS IN THE WIND : Somnambulists at the wheel / West and rest / Knopfelmacher's view

LETTERS: Who's looking after NSW's water?

LETTERS: Cane farmers feel 'alienated'

LETTERS: Prohibition never works - says who?

LETTERS: The morning-after pill in schools

LETTERS: Tariff cuts and unemployment

LETTERS: Good counsel

MEDIA: The blindness of the affluent

TRADE: US-China exchange rate battle to affect Australian exporters

WTO: International trade policy: where to next?

BOOKS: AN AUSTRALIAN IN ASIA: Cities of the Hot Zone, by Greg Sheridan

BOOKS: Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar, by Simon Sebag Montefiore

BOOKS: The Fields of Coleraine, by Frank Gardiner

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Tariff cuts and unemployment

by Alan Barron

News Weekly, December 13, 2003

It is hard to understand senseless policies such as reducing tariffs at a time of high unemployment.

Jobs are in short supply and yet the Government is determined to reduce tariffs in the textile, clothing and footwear industries, with 6,500 jobs set to vanish. And the Government is then going to spend a fortune to help struggling companies cope - if they can.

Contrary to the official line, the real rate of unemployment in this country is 18 per cent (ABS figures), and not 5.6 per cent as quoted.

It's about time our naive politicians pulled their heads out of the sand and realised no other country is prepared to weaken its own economy in the name of free trade. Why must we be the fall guys?

Tariffs should be raised - not lowered - in order to protect the national interest. Instead of creating employment, the Government is actively exacerbating unemployment.

The tragedy is that they are so besotted by a fraudulent failed economic theory they can't see reason, and in addition so insulated in their ivory towers, they can't see the misery they are causing thousands of Aussie workers.

Unfortunately for workers, the Labor Opposition's policies on trade are almost identical.

History shows that economies with a strong and protected domestic market do much better than unprotected economies which rely on exports to drive the economy.

Over 400,000 people have lost jobs since tariffs have been slashed.

Free trade policies are weakening the Australian economy. Such policies have failed the Australian working class.

A new vision is urgently needed.

Alan Barron,
Grovedale, Vic

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