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Bring back Australian industrial infrastructure! - Stephan [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Bring back Australian industrial infrastructure! [Nov. 13th, 2008|09:19 am]
(This is a British cartoon, but it's nonetheless perfectly applicable to Australia too).

My opinion of the Australian Federal government is that John Howard's administration was fair (fair as in between mediocre and good), but one thing I very much disagreed with was the demise of Australia’s secondary and fabricating industries, most especially our steelworks. At one stage he was crowing with delight that he'd secured an agreement with South Korea to export coal and iron ore. Why the hell not steel?!!

He was pushing for Australia to become a service based economy...
...now that the recession has blasted the service based economy I'm hopeful that some in the federal government will realise it's probably not a good idea after all. Our current Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, is the Labour Party (Left Wing). I haven't fully made up my mind about him, but hopeful that he might encourage regrowth in our industrial sector properly.

[User Picture]From: dhlawrence
2008-11-14 12:36 am (UTC)
Revitalized industrial infrastructure could be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, Australians will be working again so the jobs will be good. On the other hand, a revitalized industrial sector combined with what you tell me about Australia's immigration policy could turn you into the new sweatshop of the world. Be wary.
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2008-11-14 08:00 am (UTC)
At present the opposite is true. There's a Simpsons episode that's especially pertinent, where Mr Burns was recalling his childhood (presumably in the 1930's) where workers had no rights at all, then he compared it to modern times where unions and strikes greatly altered the balance of power in favour of employees.

Australia went through an insane series of strikes in the 1970's and 80's, mostly from employees in the most lowly of jobs. There was a notorious group called the "Storeman and Packer's union" who seemed to go on strike every month over some petty quibble. There doesn't seem to be a wikipedia entry, however they're mentioned in this article on one time Federal Labour Party leader Simon Crean: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Crean The railways and busses, which at that time were 90% government operated, were renown for going on frequent strikes, particularly during school holidays because it drew more attention.

Ultimately the consequence of all these strikes was that it drove wages much higher, and improved workers conditions overall tenfold. However employers countered this by reducing the number of staff, or worse yet, by outsourcing to countries where wages were much lower. Austraia isn't a sweatshop, it runs sweatshops overseas, paying workers one third of what they pay here. Meanwhile people like me are stuck doing the work of three people, just to cover the costs of the high wages, which in turn go to pay all the high costs of living.

It means high unemployment, and extreme stress for those that ARE employed. It's a vicious cycle that can only be broken if they lower wages so that more individual people can be employed.

I don't need a high wage; it's one of the reasons I'm considering returning to Newcastle.
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