LETTERS News Weekly
, March 17, 2012
Australian international competitiveness
The concerns raised by Martin Feil in his article, “What will come after the mining boom?” (News Weekly, February 18, 2012), are entirely relevant and more than worthy of wide-ranging discussion.
But he may, however inadvertently, have conveyed a mistaken impression of Alf Rattigan’s vision of the need for an evolutionary transformation within Australian industry (and in other relevant areas).
[Editor’s note: During the Whitlam Labor Government, Alf Rattigan was chairman of the Tariff Board. This body was renamed the Industries Assistance Commission, then the Industries Commission, and finally the Australian Productivity Commission.]
Within the Industries Assistance Commission of the 1970s there was an acute awareness that Australian industry, both primary and secondary, operated (and still operates) in a relatively high-cost environment. This particularly relates to, but is not limited to, the cost of labour.
On the other hand, if a country is to enjoy — and continue to enjoy — a relatively high standard of living, it needs to either have a monopoly on the supply of some relatively essential goods to international markets. Or it needs to be able to export quality goods at competitive prices.
Australia has had only limited success in either of these areas. In fact, these relatively inflated local costs, along with regrettable government decisions such as in relation to “carbon pollution” and the live-cattle trade, have significantly eroded the viability — and potentially the quantity — of traditional export industries that have contributed so much to containing our all-important net foreign debt.
The very idea of any government actually “managing the economy” successfully remains questionable (within the medical profession there is even the recommendation to “first do no harm”). At the same time there can be little doubt that Australia, in particular, faces the prospect of a rude awakening as the comparatively high standard of living that we have come to take for granted faces a long postponed encounter with reality. Continuing to “sell the family silver” is not a long-term option.
It can be argued that tragedy lies in the failure, despite whatever useful initiatives government has taken, of Australia’s economic fabric to successfully adapt to its changing environment and thus preserve a favourable national bank balance and standard of living.
Whilst effective anti-dumping and quarantine procedures have a very important place, surely achieving an appropriate level of international competitiveness has to remain something of a “holy grail” for both our government and our industrialists.
Alix B. Turner,
The issue at the root of the homosexual “marriage” debate is not whom the state will allow to marry. It is what the state will recognise as marriage, and as what marriage entails.
Already the normal, natural view of marriage as a deep commitment for life is undermined by the provision of easy, unilateral, “no-fault” divorce.
Already the normal, natural conception of the proper bond between married parents and their children is violated on an industrial scale by “interventionist” state social workers empowered to seize children and foster them out whenever they deem that they are being “psychologically damaged” by their parents’ relationship — unless the parents consent to separate.
Plenty of school counsellors see their main role as being to rescue children from their parents.
For the state to decree that same-sex couples can be married to each other, it must eviscerate and dismember marriage, in the eyes of the law and the bureaucracy, to what is possible for same-sex couples.
Since same-sex couples can raise children but cannot conceive them by each other, state recognition that it is proper for a child to be raised by its biological father and mother necessarily goes out the window.
Thus we already have the wicked situation in parts of Australia and elsewhere where adoption and fostering agencies are forbidden to prefer heterosexual committed couples (let alone married ones) over homosexual committed couples for raising orphan children, or being foster-parents.
It won’t be long before married heterosexual couples will not be permitted to keep any child born to them unless they can prove to a panel of anti-discriminatory state social workers that they are better capable of raising it than are any childless couples, whether heterosexual or homosexual, who might put in a bid to adopt it.
In short, state re-definition of marriage necessarily leads to state re-definition of parenthood.
This is not something which merely might happen; it is something which is well under way, and is already causing massive individual and social harm.
(Dr) Colin Jory,