LETTERS News Weekly
, September 1, 2012
Car industry is dying
Of the 917,000 new cars sold last year in Australia, 233,000 (25 per cent) were made or assembled from imported parts in Australia. Cars fully manufactured in Australia accounted for just 12.7 per cent of total sales.
This compares with 450,323 vehicles made locally in 1980 when the Australian population was 14.5 million.
People have blamed many factors for the decline of the local car-manufacturing industry. Chief among these include the switch to smaller more economical cars away from larger family cars.
However, it does appear that people have swapped their Falcons and Commodores for gas-guzzling 4WDs and SUVs. So running costs were not the crucial factor.
The reality is that, as the direct result of tariffs coming down, coupled with the strengthening of the Australian dollar, imported cars have become much cheaper.
The argument goes that if the local manufacturers can’t produce the cars people want, then they will turn to imported vehicles. However, what people lose sight of is that local producers simply don’t have the economies of scale or the facilities to produce a diversity of vehicles as do large overseas manufacturers.
The biggest factor is that Australian tariffs have been progressively reduced from 45 per cent in the 1960s to just 5 per cent today. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to work out why our local car-manufacturing industry has been brought to its knees. As the tariffs have come down, so have the sales of locally-made vehicles.
Thousands of manufacturing jobs have also vanished. In 2001, there were 62,661 people employed in that sector, but by 2011 this figure had dropped to 58,000. Jobs in vehicle-manufacturing have declined by almost half since their peak in the mid to late 1970s.
Both Labor and Coalition governments have flatly refused to support the local car-manufacturing industry by maintaining a reasonable tariff barrier.
Not only has the federal government forgone the copious revenue from tariffs it could have netted, but it is now forced to prop up the local car industry with generous hand-outs — a lose-lose situation.
Because of our small population, Australia cannot compete with the state-supported car industries of Korea, Japan, China and America.
The decision to slash Australian tariffs so savagely must be revisited, because at the moment local car-manufacturers do not compete on a level playing-field, and it has become very obvious that they are dying a slow death of a thousand cuts.
Tolerance lacking in same-sex “marriage” debate
What seems to be patently lacking from one side of the debate on same-sex “marriage” is an understanding of the Judeo-Christian response to homosexuality.
Anyone openly opposed to the idea of homosexual “marriage” is instantly branded a bigot and a homophobe. This is neither a rational nor tolerant approach to freedom of speech or freedom to practise one’s religion — two essential elements of the democratic, pluralistic society we cherish so dearly.
Judeo-Christianity demands a person denounce and condemn any form of sin and there is no shortage of passages within the Bible and church teaching condemning homosexual acts as intrinsically disordered and evil. Same-sex “marriage” is nothing more than the state sanctioning homosexual acts and unions as if equal to current marital relationships.
While it is incumbent upon all people to discourage evil acts such as homosexuality, it is also equally necessary for us to show love and compassion to people wrestling with their sexuality. The true Christian position is to hate the sin, love the sinner. Therefore, shrill, irrational accusations of “hate speech” levelled at anyone opposed to same-sex “marriage” are disingenuous, not grounded in fact but aimed solely at silencing and vilifying those with a differing opinion.
Contrary to what same-sex “marriage” advocates would have us believe, it is possible for us to both show love for our homosexual brothers and sisters while also condemning homosexual acts as intrinsically evil, as Christianity demands we must do.
Victoria Point, Qld
From the days of Bob Santamaria, down through Queensland LNP parliamentarians George Christensen MP and Senator Ron Boswell, News Weekly has been warning its readers of the danger posed to this country by the Greens. No one, it seems, took much notice.
Now the Labor Party, on the back of a by-election in Victoria, has woken up to its sinister agenda — 30 years too late.
(Mr) P.C. Wilson,
The exact number of Japanese aircraft lost in the Ceylon raid in Easter 1942 will never be known.
Wikipedia, not always a reliable source, gives a contemporary figure of 41 destroyed and 25 damaged.
A former naval serviceman, who became a leading Australian politician, gave me a figure of 48 over several engagements. Martin Gilbert’s The Second World War: A Complete History gives a figure of 36 shot down at Colombo and Trincomalee, apart from others elsewhere.
The Japanese sank several ships without loss of ships themselves, but the crucial point here is that the loss of highly-trained and irreplaceable pilots may have had an effect at Midway.
Hal G.P. Colebatch,