MICK YOUNG, MP: Labor Party Spokesman on Commerce and Industry

BERT KELLY, MP: A Liberal Party Backbencher Whose Special Interest is Tariff Policy

ROBERT MOORE, ABC: Executive Producer and Programme Anchorman


Broadcast: Monday, 5th April, 1976.

MOORE: Good evening, and welcome to MONDAY CONFERENCE — one of the more unofficial, and certainly belated, contributions to the Adelaide Festival. Well that’s not entirely true, but we are at least coming to you from the Festival Centre in Adelaide tonight, though some people might say that tariffs and protection policy are not something to make a song and dance about.

Last Tuesday, Senator Cotton announced the Government’s policy on the protection of Australia’s motor car industry. Well that’s important to all of us everywhere in one way or another, but what happens to the car industry is more important to Adelaide, and to South Australia, than the anywhere else. But the debate about making cars here in South Australia is only part of the longer running, all-encompassing, seemingly eternal Australian argument about tariffs and protection. Is it true that we can protect Australia’s industries and jobs only at the expense of higher prices for consumers and perhaps lower income for farmers? Which industries should we protect? For how long? At what cost? Well they are some of the issues we’ll be discussing tonight with an audience of manufacturers, workers, farmers, exporters, importers, consumers — to name but a few.

Now for whatever obscure reasons of coincidence, South Australia is the home State of two of the leading spokesmen on the subject. Mick Young, the Labor member for Port Adelaide is the Opposition’s Shadow Minister for Industry and Comments — ah, Commerce, sorry, and, well, comments too tonight — lots of them — Industry and Commerce. He is, of course, a former federal secretary of the ALP.

Bert Kelly has been the Liberal member for Wakefield since 1958. He’s a former Minister, but is now what he himself might call a modest member of Parliament. At times, through the years, Mr. Kelly, it seems, has been something of a lone crusader against high levels of protection.

Well Mr. Kelly, I suppose to ask you the obvious question, who do you have such a bee in your bonnet about tariffs and protection policy?

MR. BERT KELLY: Well I suppose the first reason is my father was a member of the Tariff Board for many years and that gave me more of an interest in the subject, I suppose you’d say. And secondly, I’m a member of a rural constituency and I became interested in tariffs because I became quickly aware that there is in economic life, as in all other walks of life, no such thing as a free feed, that someone has to pay for tariffs — it puts the price of things up, and I know, as everybody knows, that his is a cost that is paid in the end by the exporters. Now my people, farmers, my constituents, live by exporting and that’s what made me interested in the subject to begin with, but as my thinking and other people’s thinking has developed, there has been the much more important aspect of tariffs, that we’re gradually become aware of, and that is that we know that unwise tariff protection — not all tariff protection but unwise tariff protection — does tend to shift resources away from their most economic usage.

MOORE: Right, well can we come back to the wise and unwise tariff protection later on. Mr. Young, I’ve said in introducing the programme tonight, that there’s been a long-standing, seemingly eternal argument about tariffs and protection policy, but in a sense that isn’t true is it? I mean, people have argued vaguely about it, but I get the impression there’s been very little real fair dinkum honest debate of the philosophy of tariff protection in Australia.

MR. MICK YOUNG: Well, Bob, one of the reasons I accepted to come on the programme this evening only after being in charge of the Shadow portfolio for a few weeks is to encourage far greater public debate in this area. I would argue against the ultimate of farmers’ viewpoints and policies because I think they’d take us back to a feudal society, and it’s not an argument, it’s not really an argument about tariffs or the abolition of tariffs, it’s the level of tariffs that we argue about and you wouldn’t find a better place to argue about it than in Adelaide because Adelaide is almost completely dependent upon the way the Government accepts or rejects the reports of the Industries Assistance Commission. There should be far more discussion at a professional level and among the public, on the question of tariffs, what it means, what Australians are prepared to pay for; their standards of living; our trading partners; our relationships with the people that live to the north of us. There are a lot of things involved in tariff policies.

MOORE: I’ve referred to Mr. Kelly I suppose — or I’ve overstated the case, but at times he has been seen through the years to be something of a lone hand at this. Is there in fact a bipartisan policy on protection between say the Liberal and Labor parties?

YOUNG: It would be very difficult for the member for Port Adelaide and the member for Wakefield to get together on tariffs. I think that we will enjoy talking about it more than most other members of the Parliament because we’ve both … he’s had almost a lifetime interest in it, I’ve had an interest in it for a short period, but a responsibility for a short time.

MOORE: Well I’ll put this to both of you. What is, then, the party political dispute over protection policy? Where does the Opposition and the Government part company?

KELLY: I don’t think they do at all, Mick Young …

MOORE: You think there is a bipartisan policy?

KELLY: I think so. I think … I mean I don’t, of course, put the government point of view, I want to make that quite clear, I put my own, but … and a lot of people would agree with me in my party and a lot of people would agree with me in Mick’s party. I remember once, at one election one of Mick’s colleagues came to me and said look, Bert, I want you to know I’ve read everything you say, and I thought, my God, what’s he got on me … (LAUGHTER FROM AUDIENCE) … and then he said, yeah, but you’re so right and I want you to know I’m going to fight for the same things that you’ve been fighting for, and I said, now be careful, my boy, you know that you may get in trouble, now watch your footwork. (LAUGHTER FROM AUDIENCE) Well he did watch his footwork, but there is a tremendous amount of people who agree with me and a lot that would agree with Mick — on both sides of the Parliament.

YOUNG: I think it’s very difficult, Bob. If you see the progress that’s been made since the free trade, high tariff … since all the years this debate’s been going on, it’s very difficult for a party to have a policy down the line because we might get 20 IAC reports in a week, and agreement on five and disagreement on the other five.

Now the other area of problems we’re getting into is Australia has never yet identified the industries we want to keep, so the IAC can only take it to a certain step. They say well, as they said a few weeks ago in the aero space industry — now there are 5,600 blokes working in the aero space industry. We can’t compete with overseas. Do you want us to dismantle it, or does the Government of Australia want us to keep the aero space industry? If you want us to keep it, here Mr. and Mrs. Australian Citizen, this is what it’s going to cost you. Or with the shipbuilding or with any other industry they want to identify as a key industry.

MOORE: But wouldn’t it be true to say that the party chieftains on each side, the bosses of the parties on each side, agree on a comparatively high level of protection to protect Australian industry and jobs. That there is a bipartisan commitment, at least in that general philosophical area?

YOUNG: Well take the car plan, that’s the latest one to come down and it probably affects half a million Australians — working people and their dependants. Now there would be an argument about the level of protection I would think — I don’t know, I haven’t seen any statement on it by the National Party or the Country Party, but they probably think the protection is too high and it will affect their export products, and the revenue they receive from them, and it should be less than 85%. There are others in the Parliament who think that it ought to be 95%. Now I think there is general agreement in the industry, general agreement in the Parliament, that the decision that’s been made, firstly by the Labor Government, a slight revision in the plans that have been brought down this week, have general agreement.

MOORE: Mr. Kelly, do you agree? Are you in agreement?

KELLY: What, with the car plan?


KELLY: Yes, yes. I’d like to discuss the car plan as a sample of the mess we’ve got ourselves into by too lavish protection, and then the difficulty of getting ourselves out of the mess we’re in. This is not blaming Mick’s party — it was our party that made the mess we’re in. (CHEERS LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE FROM AUDIENCE) It’s a long while ago, it was done in 1964, but we’re gradually, with great difficulty and tremendous expense, going to get out of the mess.

YOUNG: I think that the problem about that of course is that if you make a mistake of that enormity — if you call it a mistake, to have a manufacturing auto industry in Australia — you know, the Jackson Commitee Report’s quite right, it takes a lot of years to dismantle it and for people to say well we don’t want tariffs on motor cars, it means you dismantle the auto industry, the component industry completely, and you’ve got to find work for perhaps 150,000 people.

KELLY: Oh Mick, that’s nonsense and you know it is nonsense. (LAUGHTER FROM AUDIENCE) It’s not a question of dismantling the car industry, it’s just making it more efficient. Now if you want me to go through the figures, there are most illuminating figures. Why we’re in the mess we’re in, we’ve got three manufacturers — we used to have five, God rest our souls — we’ve now got three for …

YOUNG: We’ve got five again now.

KELLY: Yeah, we may be getting at five … we’ve got three for a market of a half a million cars an the Americans have got three for a market of eleven million cars, and the over-generous protection that we’ve given the industry has lead to this proliferation of plants that just makes it impossible to operate the system economically and all I can hope is that out of this 85% component plan we may be able to get an industry that’s efficient — we are not now, and I guess you know the figures. We’re told that you have to have an efficient pressing outfit, a factory, you’ve got to have a throughput of 600,000 units. We’ve got in Australia, we pressed, in 1973-74, 425,000 units, we should have had one — how many do you think we’ve got? Five! Five! And engine plants, you’ve got to have 350,000 engines to make them cheap because of the economies of scale, and we made 300,000. How many should we have? One. How many have we got? Four!

YOUNG: Well I mean there’s still the opportunity for the Government to have one engine plant — all they’ve got to do is to tell GM-H to come into the Lonsdale plant. We can make them all in South Australia. (APPLAUSE FROM AUDIENCE)

MOORE: Can I just ask you, on what grounds would you advocate that? What criteria …

YOUNG: Because of the problems, of course, is the economy of scale in any industry. We can’t compete with overseas because the Japanese might model a four cylinder engine and make two million at the Lonsdale plant based on a production run of 200,000 per year. If we could make a million four-cylinder engine plants at Lonsdale we’d become export potential for the product. Not only do we supply the whole Australian market, we can probably compete favourably in South East Asia.

MOORE: But GM-H want to do it in Victoria don’t they?

YOUNG: They do. Well I think the Government might have to say something about that.

MOORE: Yes, but on what grounds will they make that decision?

YOUNG: Well on the efficiency of the industry.

MOORE: Just efficiency?

YOUNG: Well, and the cost, because there can be no doubt about it, the industry is given great protection. Now in response to the protection given to it by the Government and the substantiating of the industry in Australia, the industry ought to respond to what the Government thinks would make it a more efficient industry. Now why have tow runs of 4-cylinder engines if one plant can do it? Why have one plant running at 50% capacity.

KELLY: Yes, that’s a pretty good comment, but you see, the subsidy for every man making cars and components we’re paying $4,000 for every person every year as an extra, a subsidy, and if you take the figures out you’ll find that the tariff induced cost, extra cost, for the … making the car as it’s presently structured is $1,400 extra on a $5,000 retail price car.

YOUNG: But you can’t dis-relate that to our standard of living.

KELLY: Oh fiddlesticks!

YOUNG: You can’t say, well look, this is an engine itself.

KELLY: What about the United States, and even in Japan their standard of … with the wages …

YOUNG: But there are tow farmers in South Australia getting over $50,000 each in super subsidy. (Interjection: Prove it!) (APPLAUSE AND CHEERS FROM AUDIENCE)

MOORE: Is there a question from this side for Mr. Young, please? Yes Sir?

MAN: I want to know who are the people who earn $50,000 from the super sub?

YOUNG: The list of names is not given, but I think you’ll find the Ministry of Agriculture in South Australia can give you the number of people in each … between the figures of say 0 to five thousand dollars, five to ten, ten to twenty, twenty to thirty, and I would think if you make enquiries at the Department they will give them to you and the figures were given in the National Parliament last week in the debate on the super bounty on the super bounty and there are two people in South Australia receiving over $50,000.

MOORE: Could we get back to protection, preferably cars?

MAN: Oh well I’m sorry. Actually I’m a farmer, but I’m a fruit farmer and I don’t use super phosphate so …

MOORE: Oh, I’m glad, you know …

MAN: … yeah, but we are facing, currently, in the fruit industry, severe importation of juice from countries which I understand don’t operate under a tariff protected policy. They have, possibly, some exchange rates in their favour, but they are coming into this country, but we as fruit farmers have to compete against that area. Now my question here is that if a tariff policy does continue within Australia, is there a method, is there an ability by which we can be protected, I mean the blasted costs in relation to that fruit is very high in Australia because there’s those always inbuil[d] inputs, but we are faced, in competition with the world area.

MOORE: So what you’re arguing for is more protection, but this time for you?

YOUNG: An expanded protection.


MAN: No, what I’m driving at is if you do protect this cost structure, if the Government is forced to protect these industries and we are footed to buy from those particular industries at a highly inflated price in relation to the world, how do we compete against those imports coming in? We are faced with imports coming in from those countries that haven’t got those protection policies. They are coming into this community, and we have to compete in this marketplace of Australia against those two things. So that is serious.

MOORE: So you’re against protection, you just want a share of it for yourself?

MAN: No, I say if you have to protect, we want protection too. If you don’t protect, well then we’ll face the world market scene, in competition. We’ll face with you if you don’t protect it. (Interjection: Come on) (LAUGHTER FROM AUDIENCE)

MOORE: Well who would you like to ask?

MAN: Well I’d say Young, yeah, Mick Young. Is there a method to protect us in this situation?

YOUNG: Well of course there’s a method, it’s a question of whether the Government wants to adopt that method, and I think that one of the problems we must all face is that our standard of living compared with the region we live in is extremely high, yet we trade with all of them, and our balance of trade is very favourable to Australia. Four to one to the Philippines; two to one to Japan; three to one to Korea; twenty to one to China. Now obviously it’s a sort of situation those countries are not going to put up with forever. They’ll put up with it while they need our resources to build their own industries. We’re going to look at those policies over years, but just to answer your question, there is a method to overcome it if the Government wants to adopt it. It can’t adopt it in every industry, and there should be a gradual decline in most industries.

MAN: … (inaudible) … and the AIDC has just brought a report out in relation to canning fruit and it has recommended a single authority. Do you believe that would carry an inbuilt protection for us?

YOUNG: No, it wouldn’t carry an inbuilt protection, but what might have some sort of inbuilt protection is the rationalisation that they suggested take place in Victoria.

MAN: But surely if we gave some guarantees we might …

MOORE: I think, in all fairness, thanks very much. Somebody from this side. Yes, right at the back. Would you just wait for the …

MAN: I’d like to direct a question to Mr. Kelly. Surely the position at the moment is unemployment and getting industry going. We have had a previous Government, we’ve got this Government now in power. As yet we still haven’t had a question on unwise and wise tariffs. Could I have Mr. Kelly’s view on this please, because until a broad statement is made, many industries will not put money into manufacturing plant and equipment and have it out from under us in only 6 months time. Until some broad statement is made across the board that we have 40% protection, 30%, if they want 20%, all right, have 20% and we’ll all shift out of the country, but certainly, give us some indication from Canberra of what protection is required in the manufacturing industry. Mr. Kelly, I’d like your views.

KELLY: Which manufacturing industry are you talking about?

MAN: In the electrical industry. We manufacture electrical accessories. We have a tariff of 31% which was cut by a quarter under the other Government.

KELLY: One, you know, of the great fallacies in this argument is that people think that secondary industry is the great employer of labour …

MAN: It would be the largest employer of labour.

KELLY: No it won’t. Easily the most … only 26% of our people are employed in secondary industry, and it’s a proportion that’s falling all over the … in every developed country all over the world. Now just listen. And secondly, that there’s over — or just about half — 46% I think is the figure, of secondary industry who doesn’t … is not using protection and indeed whose competitive position employment opportunities are diminished if the cost structure is raised, so that’s one general comment.

And secondly, there is one thing that you … and this argument is hard to get over, but you can always see the effect of employment if a factory is perhaps closed by lowered tariffs, but you cannot see the employment opportunities gained all over the country by a more thriving economy that comes with a lower cost structure. Now that is one of the great fallacies that people think, in Australia, they think that tariffs create employment and we all know they don’t, they shift it from one sector to the other, because a tariff always has to be paid for by some other industry.

MOORE: Yes, go ahead.

MAN: We have a viable industry now, and, you know, we want to expand. How can you possibly put money into … (inaudible) and plant and how are you going to expand in this country? Any country in the world will take us in. Most countries have full protection on many items — why is it that this country suddenly wants to take all the technology, pick it up and shift it out?

KELLY: Well ours is one of the highest protected countries in the developed world — it is. The standard, the height of the tariff wall is higher than most other countries.

MAN: … (inaudible) … restrictions in many areas.

KELLY: Yes, that is so, but the effective level of protection is higher in Australia than any other. But I’m not sure which group you are, and you all look equally distinguished to me … (LAUGHTER FROM AUDIENCE)

MOORE: Well can I come at it this way? Can you think of any reason why an industry, employing a considerable number of people in Australia, should have its level of protection reduced or withdrawn from it? Or is it sufficient that an industry just exists?

MAN: The industry in Australia is as efficient as any industry in the world — the problem we have here at the moment, industry generally is very efficient in this country. We’ve got a labour rate which is sometimes seven times greater …

MOORE: Sir, could I come back to your question, because I think it’s an absolutely fundamental one. Do you follow what I’m getting at? Is your argument, basically, my industry needs protection because it’s here now and it does employ people and capital and expertise and that is enough in itself, that is sufficient reason?

MAN: Yes, that’s sufficient, we are here today, we are employing people …

MOORE: And the degree of efficiency, therefore, is irrelevant?

MAN: Why start up these NEAT schemes and all this to train people for other jobs? Why get into that when they’ve already got good jobs. They don’t want to start learning jobs …

KELLY: I think they need that as well though.

MOORE: I’d like to bring Mr. Young in on …

YOUNG: Well what you’re saying, of course, is related to the remarks I made earlier. A Government, sooner or later, is going to have to identify the industries it was to keep in its country, and if it’s … when a Government decides … the failure of that sort of statement, of course, is that everybody that wasn’t identified as being a key industry will start to get the shakes, so you have to be careful about doing it, but sooner or later we’re going to have to have some sort of key industry strategy.

For those industries that perhaps the Government says well we’re going to let run down, as the Jackson Committee Report says, it’s going to have to be a long time doing it. You can’t dismantle an industry and just throw people out on the streets — if you’re going to do it, if you’re going to say to the country, we’re going to reallocated the resources in this country, it’s got to be gradual. You’ve got to think of those industries in terms of human beings. It’s all right for Bert to say that, you know, people … you can reallocate resources if you take away the tariffs, in some areas we are very highly protected compared with some other countries, but we’ve already got the people in there and you just can’t pick people up out of Adelaide and say, go and find a job in Brisbane. There happens to be at the moment, 300,000 unemployed, and it’s not the sort of situation where you start dismantling your industries, but obviously we’re going to have to have a closer look at the policies of the … the tariff policies of this country and looking at them in a period of 5 or 10 or 15 years, and I think we all learned the lesson, both side of the Parliament, during the period of the 25% tariff cut.

MOORE: Yes, on the aisle. Yes?

MAN: It’s apparent that the exporter carries the burden of tariff protection, and the rural industries are over 50% of exports and they’re going broke fast trying to do that. How is it suggested that they’d be compensated? It’s a very unpleasant task trying to convince people that we are being unjustly and unfairly treated economically?

YOUNG: Well firstly, there’s hardly an industry in Australia that is not assisted in other ways by the Government, and if you’re talking about … let’s have a look at the rural industries, the beef industry, that’s going through a bad time and has for a number of years, but yet in Australia we’ve seen the numbers of … the herd of beef jump from 1969 to 1975, from 16 to 25 million. Now that doesn’t seem to me to be a very sensible policy, if you can’t sell them, to allow numbers to grow so astronomically, and if you look at some of the other areas, if you look at the monies which are spent by the Government, whether it’s fertilisers, or research by the CSIRO, there are millions and millions and millions of dollars spent by any Australian Government, whether it be Labor or Conservative, to assist rural industries; whether it be cheap interests by some of the States … the cheap interest loans or other ways and means in which the rural industries are assisted, and they’re all listed in the IAC Report. Many millions of dollars are being spent assisting those industries.

(Question: inaudible)

It’s related to income and standards of living.

KELLY: We’re getting nowhere near the compensations that are due for us. It’s been estimated that each producer in the wool, meat and grains industry is disadvantaged $4,000 per producer per year. We’re getting nowhere near that back and somebody has to pay this tariff protection, the exporter. If it’s all equalled out, it’s void — there’s somebody disadvantaged, and it is us.

YOUNG: Well, in the case of the wool industry, you’ll recall that when the Labor Government was to reduce the … it was announced there was going to be a reduction in the floor price plan from 250 to 200 cents a kilo, there was a hue and cry about the, you know, dropping the floor price … price, so that people said you’ve got to keep it at that level, even though at that time the Wool Corporation were buying most of the clip. Now, that seems to me to be a direct intervention by the Government to assist the wool grower. You can hardly say that that’s not costing the Australian Government a lot of money to assist in that area. (EXCLAMATIONS OF DISAGREEMENT FROM AUDIENCE)

MAN: No Government money was used at all!

YOUNG: Well the best thing for you to do would be to scrub it. Abolish it. Because you don’t need the assistance. Just have a free market.

MAN: I don’t think you have any comprehension about the wool market.

MOORE: Mr. Kelly, briefly, please.

KELLY: One of the things you want to keep in mind, Mick, is that the order of magnitude of the subsidy you can’t measure it, but we know that the subsidy going to secondary industry is in the order of two thousand million dollars a year. A year! Now, I’ve got the figures here. You can argue about whether they’re, you know, grants or loans — most of them, strangely enough, are loans, and the figures that you’re looking at includes the loan to the Wool Corporation and they are loans and will be repaid. But, you know, the order of magnitude is … we would now reckon we would be receiving as primary industry, rural industries, round about a hundred million and are paying cost, the exporting sector is losing approximately two thousand million. That’s …

MAN: What about the tax concessions to the farmer?

KELLY: Yeah, well, the tax concessions are included.

MAN: The question I would like to ask relates to wool, and therefore I think …

MOORE: To wool?

MAN: … it would be of interest to the farmers as well as to Mr. Kelly. So far it’s been suggested that tariffs are a damaging factor to farmers indirectly and are protecting only the workers in the towns and so on. I can cite an instance in which the farmers are as much concerned as the industrial workers. It’s possible in the cities to buy knitting wool, imported from South Africa, at a very low price, and not adequately protected by tariffs. It undercuts Australian wool in the cities of this country. Now I think that is damaging to the farmers who produce wool and very much want to sell it, I understand. It’s also damaging to the people who seek employment in the knitting mills. I’d like Mr. Kelly’s opinion, and perhaps the opinion of some farmers as to whether there should be some protection in a case like that where a product is coming in because of grossly underpaid labour and where it’s hitting at several sections of our community. (APPLAUSE FROM AUDIENCE)

KELLY: Well the wool and textile industry is very heavily protected, as you know, very heavily indeed. Now it’s just a question of the price you’re prepared to pay. If you … certainly the wool grower doesn’t really mind where his wool is sold, overseas or here, and 95% of it is sold overseas. He is interested in getting a free market for his wool as far as possible so the wool flows freely throughout the world.

YOUNG: But the cheap wages is a real problem …

MAN: Are you saying in fact that woollen yarns should not be protected? I’m sure the farmers who vote for you might have different opinions.

MOORE: I can readily see that this could be a case where the wool grower and the manufacturer of knitting wool have a common case, but there’s also the consumers who may be extremely grateful for the cheapest possible knitting wool and I wonder if there’s a consumer in the house at all anywhere. Yes?

MAN: Yes, well I’d like to ask Mr. Young if he thinks that we, as consumers, should have to support the inefficiency of industries, in the car industry, and secondly the exorbitant wage claims of the workers who, because they claim these wages, the costs here make the industry inefficient. (APPLAUSE, CHEERS AND BOOS FROM AUDIENCE)

YOUNG: Well I don’t know which industries you’re familiar with. There are a lot of very efficient industries in Australia of course — I wouldn’t call the car industry in Australia inefficient — you might say it’s over-protected, but you wouldn’t call it inefficient. But the other thing about it is the wages of workers — I think if you have a look at the history of the price of the car and the wages of the workers in those industries, I don’t think they’re overpaid by Australian standards in those industries, and if you say do you think consumers have to pay the price, that’s one of the things the people of Australia have to accept. If you want these industries — now let me put it another way. GM-H are here and you pay say $5,000 for their car. Now do you want their technology here or don’t you, because they’ve now set up a plant in Korea and you know how much people are paid in Korea — there are no trade unions there, they’re not allowed. They can make a car there probably for 25% of the cost of building a car here. Now we can dismantle the car industry overnight in Australia if you want all imports and probably employ 50,000 people in Australia to distribute them. You lose all the investment of technology that goes into that industry, that has gone into that industry since World War II. You can talk about the electronic industry, you can talk about some aspects of the textile industry — now if you want to lose all that, if you want to lose your ship-building expertise, because now the Koreans can float a boat before we can buy the materials. Now if that’s the sort of thing you want to do in Australia, well then you’re going to have to articulate a policy and sell it to a lot of people that will have no work to do.

KELLY: Now just a minute, I think I ought to have a bit of a say in this. One of the things you start to talk about, efficiency, we’re not talking about the way that people work only, we’re talking about the way the industry is arranged, and if you look at the figures — now I know I shouldn’t talk figures, Bob, but if you look at the number of cars that a chap makes in Australia in a year, he makes 5.9 cars in a year. Nissan, in Japan, they make 37.2 cars per man per year, and paying the same rate of labour too. (APPLAUSE FROM AUDIENCE) And Toyota, 40.5. Because they’ve got their industry organised, because they haven’t got it split up into the silly over-protected state. We have over-protected it in such a way that it can’t be efficient.

YOUNG: I’m not arguing with you about the figures, all I’m saying is that unless we get … if you relate this to the engine plant at Lonsdale, of the Japanese thought they could come into Lonsdale and make a million 4-cylinder engines per year, they would invest enough money to give us the same technology that they’re using in Japan, whether it be Nissan or Toyota. If they get a short run they won’t invest the money — that’s what gives you the output. It’s nothing to do with the worker.


MAN: Mr. Moore, I’d like to address this to Mr. Young. A basic thing that he must bear in mind under the present system that we’ve got in Australia, the present system, every exporter, every farmer, is going bankrupt. Now … (EXCLAMATIONS OF DISAGREEMENT FROM AUDIENCE) … (inaudible) … but this is so because we have a system, now there’s wage indexation which guarantees an increase in cost of production. We sell on the world market, so that with an increased cost of production, increasing, a guaranteed increasing cost of production, with our prices fixed, we must be going bankrupt, and the only thing that differs is the … (inaudible). Now you can laugh, but you’ve got wage indexation, but every sector has got it but the farmer, and for sure you can talk about the handouts the farmers gets, but we get, for every handful of food that we get we give away a … (inaudible) and as Bert Kelly says, there’s no such thing as a free feed in Australia, and all we want, as farmers, in the rural sector, is the opportunity to do that which we know we are, the most economic and efficient in the world. Now it’s a matter of Australia working out its priorities. Do you want us … do you want, as a nation, to be in a situation where we are coming to you on our knees saying we need a handout, or do you want to get off our backs and let us produce something which will make us all wealthy. Now to me we’ve got one option …

MOORE: Sir, I’m sorry, I must bring you back to the subject. Would you …

MAN: Yes, and I’ll put this into the question and I’ll relate it to tariffs.

MOORE: Right. Please.

MAN: Certainly. We’ve got one option open, I believe, and that is to devalue and we have this absurdly high tariff structure in Australia and we have the opportunity of having a commensurate reduction in tariffs at the same time — the only argument against devaluation is that it has an inflationary content. If we reduce our tariffs at the same time, our imports are automatically made cheaper. Now Mr. Young, would you comment on that please?

YOUNG: Well I don’t think there’d be any chance of a devaluation and I think at the present time it would be very bad thing, and I don’t think that it’s in the interests of Australia if it appeared to be a fight to the end between the urban and rural areas, because the 13 million of us have got to live here and I don’t knock the rural industries as being inefficient … (Interjection from audience: inaudible) No but let’s take it one step further. I happen to work … (Interjection: 12,000 miles and … (inaudible) … in their own country) But I think that the path you’re on now, which seems hell bent on abolishing tariffs, is just not a goer, it has to be rejected by the vast majority of Australians as it will be rejected.

MOORE: Could I … I’m sorry, I think what you’re saying leads to one inevitable question. Would it worry you if there was no car industry in Australia as a result of devaluation and lowering tariffs? I mean let’s be frank about it …

MAN: If we wish to have a car industry it’s like a plane industry. If we wish to have a car industry it’s at a cost, and that’s up to the Parliament and the people of this country. Do we want that enough to pay the increased costs that every man, woman and child — or not a child, but every man or woman who buys a car has to pay for the privilege of having it built in Australia. Now if we’re prepared to do that, yes I would like to have it.

MOORE: I beg your pardon?

MAN: If we are prepared to pay that cost — and I think we should, but we shouldn’t have an over-protection because this leads to this proliferation which makes ridiculous the whole concept.

MOORE: But you can’t have it both ways can you? That’s what I’m trying to get at.

MAN: Yes, you can have it both ways …

KELLY: Now just give me a go for a while. (LAUGHTER FROM AUDIENCE) You can have it both ways and that’s the silly part about it. You take Volvo. They pay equal wages or more wages than we do. They don’t protect their industry at all; they let them buy the components where they want to. They only supply less than a quarter of the Swedish market yet they make 290,000 cars a year and they sell 77% of them because — and good cars too — because they don’t put them in straitjackets, because they didn’t do as we did, foolishly, put a 95% component straitjacket. (Interjection: inaudible) It is, and the country that took most of the Volvos was America, so it’s not just a case of proximity to the market. It is a fact that you can be efficient under Australian conditions and the reason why so frequently we’re not is that we’ve over-protected so often.

YOUNG: Well I think that it’s interesting about Volvo because the Volvo car plant has more working people on the board of management than any other car industry in the world. (Interjection: inaudible) Well it might help the efficiency of it, it might give the workforce some sort of say in what happens in the plant.

MOORE: Can we just come to order for a moment please. I want to come back to this section of the audience because the primary producers are saying, and fair enough from their point of view, that they are suffering because of our present high level of protection or valuation of our currency or whatever. What protected industries that you can think of would you willingly do without in order to reduce your disadvantage? (Interjection: inaudible) (LAUGHTER FROM AUDIENCE) It just seems to me that you’ve got to face a …

MAN: It’s not a matter of which industry we would want to do without in Australia, …

MOORE: But it may be, it may be though.

MAN: No, it doesn’t come to that at all because you can … I think we’d all agree that some level of tariff protection is necessary to maintain a standard of living here in Australia, but where I would violently disagree with Mr. Young is that when he Government took office they took away every cost compensation that primary producers had in order to sustain themselves within a tariff protected community.

YOUNG: And no government cut tariffs as much as we did.

MAN: I said the cost compensations that have been given to the primary industry.

MAN: And our Government never cut the farmers back like your Government did, either.

MOORE: Gentlemen over here on my left. Go ahead.

MAN: South Australia is the most urban State in the most urban country in the world and I don’t know how well recognised that it, and if we do reduce tariffs for the 80% or 90% of the population who live in cities and towns, it seems to me the alternative is for them to be unemployed or go and work for the Government. I ask Mr. Kelly, is he prepared to, and does he agree with this contention and if so does he accept it?

KELLY: No, I think you’re talking nonsense Don when you say that they’ve got to, that if you lowered tariffs then you’d automatically reduce employment. You would reduce employment in certain industries and you would gain it in others. What people will never realise is that someone is being damaged by tariffs. Someone’s employment opportunities are being damaged by tariffs, because you would recognise, surely, that there isn’t such a thing as a free feed. You’d know that someone’s paying. Now the employment opportunities in the affected industries are being damaged all over the country by the cost of tariff protection. Now it may be worthwhile, but for goodness sake don’t get up like that and say that there is such a … (Interjections from audience) … just a minute, let me answer it. Just get up and say that if you reduce tariffs you’ll have … everybody’ll by unemployed. That’s nonsense.

MAN: Mr. Kelly, may I just …

MOORE: No, no, sorry Sir, you go ahead. Yes.

MAN: Can I just reply to Mr. Kelly. I’m extremely proud as an Australian manufacturer, I think we have some of the most up-to-date press shops in the world in Adelaide and some of the finest toolmakers. I’m terrified that these shops are going to close and the toolmakers are going to be sent somewhere else, and this is what concerns me today. (APPLAUSE FROM AUDIENCE)

KELLY: Yes I can understand you being concerned, but Don, I want you to realise this, that if you had a much … if you had a car industry that was structured so that you only had one or two manufacturers of cars with a proper throughput, you wouldn’t have this mess that we’re in. The mess that we’re in is we’ve got five pressing units, five factories pressing carskins when we ought to have one. Now it’s not a question of getting rid of tariffs, it’s a question of using our resources sensibly.

YOUNG: But no-one — I think you’re right — that no-one will be pressing skins here in five years time, and those trades will be lost.

KELLY: Oh that’s not right, Mick.

YOUNG: … 15% they won’t be done here.

KELLY: Some of them will. You’ll find that GM-H will press their skins on their main lines.

MAN: Mr. Moore, I have a question for Mr. Kelly.

MOORE: Right.

MAN: Mr. Kelly, I think we’re starting to get round to the root cause of the problem of tariffs and it’s not just within Australia. We’ve got to acknowledge that we have a tariff situation right throughout the world, and really, tariffs, after all is said and done as far as Australia is concerned, are as much retaliatory as anything else for tariff protection as against us an markets and so on and so forth, and it is a very involved and complex subject, but I think there is a very simple point that must be borne in mind, and that is this. That if there is going to be protection in one area of the community there must be a compensatory factor to another and I think this is all really that the argument is all about. How do we establish our tariff compensation. Surely every sector of the community is entitled to such compensation and that’s all the rural sector have ever asked for so that we can get on with the job as has already been stated, and let us at least have some degree of compensation for the 3 thousand-odd million dollars which it is costing Australia for protection in jobs, and I ask Mr. Young this. Surely, Mr. Young, with the protection — and nobody’s against, nobody really, when they work this thing out to its logical conclusions are against the need for tariff protection while we are in this syndrome, but surely it is only right and proper that the rural sector should have compensatory concessions available to them to make up the increased costs which amount to something like 15% or 20% of the rural sector, who exports on a market without any protection whatsoever and this is what we are looking for by way of compensation. Do you support that principle and policy?

YOUNG: Well I think there’s some confusion among the ranks of the rural community as to their access to the IAC or otherwise. I know some people in the rural community say they shouldn’t go to the IAC, they should go straight to the Government. My view is the case for the rural community, in whatever area it is must go to the IAC, and I want to make this point … (Interjection: inaudible) I know, well I want to make this point on the question of the IAC. My own view is that there should be absolutely no interference with the structure of the IAC at all. I don’t believe in government laying down bogey guide-lines for the IAC to get a bogey report. My view is that it’s one of the most expert bodies the Government has available to it, and it does a tremendous job, and it points up all the weaknesses of industries whether they be rural or manufacturing, and they’re a hard body to deal with and the manufacturing industry would know, they’re spending perhaps millions of dollars preparing their cases to go to all these Government tribunals, including the IAC, but it’s best for us to get that report unfettered, and then let the politicians have the courage, or the Government of the day, have the courage to make the decision in relation to that industry.

MAN: Yes, I agree entirely with you that the IAC ought to be the independent umpire in this, but look at the IAC recommendations that have come down in support of the rural sector and your Government did very little — in fact nothing — to implement those reports. Now the … (APPLAUSE FROM AUDIENCE) superphosphate bounty — and I think it’s only right that the people of Australia should know this — was not a politicians’ football — it was an IAC recommendation that suggested that it be reintroduced for an interim period, and that is what happened. Now that IAC has been asked to bring a finite report down on superphosphate, and let the people of Australia know that the bounty at the present time is only an interim and we are awaiting a final report of IAC and so it should be that way, but the point is …

MOORE: I’m sorry, Sir, I must … we are getting towards the end of our time. Can I bring us back a little bit more on the rails I think. I think it’s a very important point in a more general way.

MAN: Yes.

MOORE: To follow up Mick Young’s point, to what extent should a Government be governed by this final report of the IAC? Should it be mandatory, near mandatory or just, you know, reasonably expert advice? To a Government.

MAN: Well of course we all know that the IAC legislation does allow the Government finally to determine whether it’s going to implement the results of that report or not …

MOORE: Yes, but in practice, you know.

MAN: But in practice I think the Government has got to be practical the same as anyone else is supposed to be practical. How can we live in a practical world, an economic world, without a Government appreciating the practicalities of reports such as this, to keep …

MOORE: Sorry, but what does it mean? The Government rejects it or is able to reject it or not?

MAN: The government has the right to veto, Bob, as you well know — I think you know that.

MOORE: I’m not talking about the right, I mean in practical terms.

MAN: They should support it. The IAC was their baby.

YOUNG: I disagree with that. I think the Government must make the decision. I don’t agree and I don’t agree with the draft report system. I think reports ought to be final reports and the Government should make a decision on those final reports.

MAN: Well why didn’t you when you were in power?

YOUNG: Well now the thing about the phosphate bounty recommendation, of course, is now, as you say, it’s only an interim report, it’s to last another 12 months and then there’ll be another final report and the Government will make a decision. You’ve got the Bureau of Agricultural Economics advising against the reintroduction of the superphosphate bounty.

MOORE: I’ve got to ask Mr. Kelly, on the question of the IAC — give him his chance on this.

KELLY: Oh, it’s quite definite the IAC should make recommendations to the Government and it’s the Government’s responsibility to make decisions thereon. But the other thing that I want to say is that I agree entirely with the comment that Mick made that to have an IAC that’s receiving marching orders will destroy its independence and I’m very strongly of that opinion.


MAN: Can I just take issue with you, Mr. Kelly, on the contention you made that tariff cuts automatically promote efficiency. We all remember how efficient the Australian textile industry became as a result of the tariff cuts a couple of years ago and this affected country towns as well, for instance Wangaratta in Victoria. Isn’t it necessary that we should make sure that where there is a tariff cut the benefit of it is passed on to the consumer which it wasn’t in many cases of the textile question, and also isn’t it necessary that we should look at the sort of economy we want and say, well this is the cost and then as a community make a decision about what it is rather than simply go for some spurious economic efficiency and free play of market forces and all this sort of rubbish where the community doesn’t have a chance to decide as a whole.

KELLY: Well I’d like to bring two answers together. I can understand this industry … the tariff compensation argument and it’s linked with the one that you say. I’ve got a dread of Government decisions as to what industry ought to do next. Now if you … and this is the problem that I have about the tariff compensation. We’re likely to end up with every … with an economy with everybody taking in everybody’s washing: everybody subsidising one another with the Government standing on the street corner directing that bit, one laundry or next. (LAUGHTER FROM AUDIENCE) We’ve really got to watch this and I’ve got an utter dread of Government decisions as to what they ought to do next, and this brings me to a very important point, Bob, if I’ve got time, and that is, industry’s always saying to me, Kelly, we will agree that we’ve been over-protected, but you’ve got to tell us what to do next. You’ve got to tell us how to put these resources to use. Now what … these are the paragons of private enterprise who say that to me … (LAUGHTER FROM AUDIENCE) … but what they’re really wanting is the Government to tell them what to do next. Now that is the kiss of death to an economy. You’d be bad as the Brits before you know where you are. (LAUGHTER FROM AUDIENCE)

YOUNG: I don’t think the industry asks, Bob, what they should do next, I think the question is quite the opposite. They want to know what the Government is going to do next so they can adjust to it and I think that’s fair enough.

MOORE: Yes? Would you mind making it short, I’m sorry, we are getting towards the end of our time.

MAN: Yes, I’m a bit confused, Mr. Moore. I believe this debate was on a pro and contra basis. I’ve heard Mick Young debate on the status quo and I would assume that on a debate of this nature that we would have something said against it …

YOUNG: What have I said about the status quo?

MAN: Well unfortunately I haven’t heard anything to the different, and I’ve heard Mr. Kelly debate on the different question which means that he’s gone into it a little bit more. I’d like to suggest to you, as a cynic, that the current protection policy is to protect the workers and efficiency. What would your answer be?

YOUNG: I’d say it’s absolute nonsense. (APPLAUSE FROM AUDIENCE)

MOORE: Very quickly please.

MAN: Yes well for all the talking that Mr. Kelly’s done this evening, the one basic question, after much amusement, that hasn’t been answered, is if he has his own way and he reduces protection, and a number of industries are wound down, where do we all go to work, the people who work in secondary industry right now. Where do we go? Down the mines?

KELLY: Oh what nonsense. All right, I’ll tell you where you go. Do you want me to tell you what to do next, ‘cos I’ll tell you this, that if you wanted, if you had the courage to go out and make your own decisions, the country is bulging with opportunities. I’ll give you one. We’ve got a lead of technology on solar water heating anywhere round the world and we’ve got about three people making solar water heating. Why don’t you get into that? (Interjections: inaudible) Well don’t come to the Government, whatever you do, for directions what to do next. (APPLAUSE FROM AUDIENCE)

MOORE: Anyway there are all those Kelly’s laundromats. Is there one … yes, very, very quickly.

MAN: Mr. Young, I would like to see the Chrysler Lonsdale consortium go ahead because of its volume capacity, but what measures would you suggest to prevent GM-H going it alone with their plant in Victoria so that the Lonsdale plant does have the best potential.

YOUNG: The biggest consumer in this country is the federal Government, and if the federal Government said we’re not buying your product, GM-H would go to Lonsdale.

MAN: So you can tell Mr. Dunstan not to let South Australia lose all its advantages.

YOUNG: Well you’re going to have to put with Mr. Dunstan for a long time yet. (LAUGHTER AND CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MAN: A question for Mr. Kelly. Isn’t it true that 65% of the people in Australia are unskilled. There is only 35% of the men skilled; 85% of women are unskilled. If your policy is carried out, we will be left with no skills and no technology in Australia. The farmers won’t fight wars, you’ve got to have skills and technology to fight wars and protect the country. A country without skills is not a country at all. We’ll become a group of zombies dependent on other countries. (LAUGHTER AND CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

KELLY: I don’t really think that requires an answer.

MOORE: Yes, straight ahead, yes.

MAN: I’d like to ask Mr. Young … (Interjections) …

MOORE: I’m sorry, we can’t hear, and time is running out fast.

MAN: Harking back to the statement Mr. Young made previously, he said that in North Korea they’re making cars a lot cheaper than they are in Australia …

YOUNG: South Korea.

MAN: Pardon?

YOUNG: South Korea.

MAN: Sorry, South Korea … a lot cheaper than they are in Australia because there was no trade union movement. Are you then blaming the trade union movement for the high cost of cars in Australia? (APPLAUSE, LAUGHTER AND CHEERS FROM AUDIENCE)

YOUNG: In fact the trade union movement will make things a little more expensive because they want decent living standards for their people. (APPLAUSE AND CHEERS FROM AUDIENCE) The existence of a trade union depends on the democracy in a country. If a country doesn’t have democracy it doesn’t have trade unions, and if you haven’t got a country with free trade unions, as most western democracies have, well then things will be more expensive. It’s easy to make cheap goods where you don’t have trade unions. The last time I was in this theatre, and some of you may have even seen it, there was a play on called “Sizwe Bansi Is Dead” for the Festival of Arts, and it told of two African workers who got approximately 12 Australian dollars a week working in the Ford plant in South Africa. Now if you want that sort of thing, we can produce things cheaply too, but we want a decent standard of living. (APPLAUSE FROM AUDIENCE)

MOORE: Ladies and gentlemen, our time is now up. Thank you all very much indeed for your part in the programme tonight. I’m sorry, we are over time. Mr. Young, Mr. …

KELLY: Does that mean I don’t get a reply?

MOORE: Oh I think you’ve had a number of … replies.

KELLY: Oh fair go!

MOORE: I think you’ve been fairly treated Mr. Kelly. And in fact the vision of your chain of Kelly’s laundromats across the country … (LAUGHTER FROM AUDIENCE) …

KELLY: Look, I’ve got a beautiful quote of a … one beautiful quote.

MOORE: Right, one beautiful quote.

KELLY: This is … I think this is a friend of yours. Mr. John Halfpenny, I think he is a friend of yours.

YOUNG: He is, he is.

KELLY: He said, and I quote: “In the post-war period the economy was one of the most highly protected in the world. The Australian economy has the support of a massive protection racket that would make Al Capone green with envy“, he said. Is he a friend of yours Mick or … (LAUGHTER FROM AUDIENCE)

YOUNG: Yes, two things, firstly, he is a friend of mine, and secondly, it would rival the story about the farmer I knew that got a hernia lifting a bag of spuds onto his wife’s back. (LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE FROM AUDIENCE)

MOORE: Thank you both very much indeed. We do have to end somewhere. Thank you all again.

(in order of appearance on Economics.org.au)
  1. Bert Kelly on his journalism
  2. Move for a body of Modest Members
  3. Modest Members Association
  4. Bert Kelly's Maiden Parliamentary Speech
  5. Government Intervention
  6. 1976 Monday Conference transcript featuring Bert Kelly
  7. Bert Kelly, Hayek and Mencken on the virtues of farmers
  8. Sound economics calls for quiet from government
  9. Petrol for Farmers
  10. Some Sacred Cows
  11. Experiences in Parliament
  12. Spending your Money
  13. Is Taxmania a politician fetish?
  14. Too many car men in the feather bed
  15. The Kangaroo Population Bomb
  16. How Bert Kelly repays a free feed
  17. Reining in the human rights horse
  18. Modest column #898
  19. Chicken-hearted feathered friends strange bedfellows on a feather bed?
  20. Who needs literary licence?
  21. A touch of Fred's anarchy
  22. Helping the farmers help themselves
  23. Standing on the shoulders of the downtrodden
  24. Supply and Demand
  25. Bert Kelly responds to claims he is arrogant and uncredentialed
  26. Politics: it's a very confusing business
  27. The best featherbeds run on rails
  28. Bert Kelly on Disaster Relief
  29. Bert Kelly Wants to Secede
  30. Blinded by their tears
  31. Anti-freedom pro-tobacco industry lobby harmed Australia
  32. Under Labor, is working hard foolish?
  33. An Idiot's Guide to Interventionism
  34. Is free priceless healthcare worthless?
  35. Can government kiss it better?
  36. Bert Kelly Destroys the Side Benefits Argument for Government
  37. Bert Kelly gets his head around big-headed bird-brained politics
  38. First Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  39. Second Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  40. Third Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  41. Fourth Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  42. Fifth Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  43. Sixth Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  44. Bert Kelly on the 2011 Budget and Australia's Pathetic Journalists and Politicians
  45. Bert Kelly, Bastard or Simple Sod?
  46. Liberal Backbencher Hits Govt. Over Import Restrictions
  47. Bert Kelly feels a dam coming on at each election
  48. Bert Kelly Enters Parliament
  49. Why take in one another's washing?
  50. Bert Kelly breaks the law, disrespects government and enjoys it
  51. Gillard's galley-powered waterskiing
  52. State Premiers are always asking for more taxing powers
  53. Can price control really work?
  54. Should we put up with socialism?
  55. We're quick to get sick of socialism
  56. Time the protection racket ended
  57. Can't pull the wool over Farmer Fred
  58. People not Politics
  59. Bert Kelly admits he should have had less faith in politicians
  60. The inspirational incentivising Dear Leader Gough Whitlam
  61. Labor: a girl who couldn't say no
  62. Why leading businessmen carry black briefcases
  63. Ludwig von Mises on page 3 of AFR
  64. Bert Kelly's empowering feminism
  65. Another shot at motor car madness
  66. Mavis wants the Modest Member to dedicate his book to her
  67. What if the whole country is swindled?
  68. Moss Cass: "Flood plains are for floods"
  69. A worm's eye view
  70. Eccles returns to haunt us
  71. How to grip a politician's ear
  72. It's hard to digest this economic cake
  73. Time to Butcher "Aussie Beef"
  74. Cold water on government-instigated irrigation schemes
  75. Hooray for Ord River Dam!
  76. Tariffs paid by exporters
  77. The problem of principles v popularity
  78. If you support State Quotas, where will your logic take you?
  79. Against guidance by government
  80. A socialist in Liberal clothing
  81. Never ask the government to help
  82. Don't listen to economists!
  83. Bert Kelly's revolutionary strategy
  84. Welfare state incentivises bludging and being thrown out of work
  85. It all sounds like bloody politics to Fred
  86. Mavis wants me to get in for my chop
  87. Whitlam's July 1973 25% tariff cut
  88. Bert Kelly on Import Quotas
  89. Good directions when government backseat driving, like reversing down wrong side of road
  90. Barriers to imports are barriers to exports
  91. "I was right" — but he's off to hospital ...
  92. Kicking the multinationals is too easy
  93. Bert Kelly reviews The War Diaries of Weary Dunlop
  94. Bert Kelly reviews We Were There
  95. Tariffs get the fork-tongue treatment
  96. Bert Kelly reduces government to its absurdities
  97. Politician sacrifices his ... honesty
  98. It's all a matter of principle
  99. Bert Kelly Destroys the Infant Industry Argument
  100. Bert Kelly Untangles Tariff Torment
  101. Bert Kelly resorts to prayer
  102. Eccles keeps our nose hard down on the tariff grindstone
  103. "Don't you believe in protecting us against imports from cheap labour countries?"
  104. Even if lucky, we needn't be stupid
  105. Great "freedom of choice" mystery
  106. Small government's growth problem
  107. I like my kind acts to get a mention in the press
  108. A Modest Member rakes the embers
  109. Tariffs Introduced
  110. More About Tariffs
  111. Sacred cow kicker into print
  112. Bert Kelly's 1984 two-article quote-collection on Aboriginal policies
  113. Modest Member must not give up
  114. Traditional Wheat Farming is Our Birthright and Heritage and Must be Protected!
  115. Tariff-cut nonsense lives on
  116. Bert Kelly brilliantly defends "theoretical academics"
  117. The high cost of protection
  118. Generosity creates problems
  119. The Society of Modest Members
  120. Is this an illogical, soft, complicated, unfocussed and unsuccessful attempt to communicate the case for markets?
  121. Modesty ablaze
  122. Case for ministers staying home
  123. The unusual self-evident simplicity of the Modest Members Society
  124. Animal lib the new scourge of the bush
  125. The Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Krill
  126. modest members society
  127. Repeal economic laws, force people to buy new cars and enforce tariffs against overseas tennis players
  128. Thoughts on how to kill dinosaurs
  129. Let's try the chill winds
  130. Taking the Right's road
  131. Bert Kelly: "I did not try often or hard enough"
  132. Bert Kelly "lacked ... guts and wisdom"
  133. A look at life without tariffs
  134. The Gospel according to Bert
  135. Tiny note on Bert Kelly's column in The Bulletin in 1985
  136. Why costs can't be guaranteed
  137. Hitting out with a halo
  138. Paying farmers not to grow crops will save on subsidies, revenge tariffs, etc
  139. "The Modest Farmer joins us" | "How The Modest Farmer came to be"
  140. Bert Kelly Destroys the Freeloading Justifies Government Argument
  141. Industrial Relations Club shovellers
  142. From Shann to Stone
  143. Government Intervention
    Government Interference
  144. A sojourn in the real world
  145. The tariff wind swings
  146. Bigger Cake = Bigger Slices
  147. Bert Kelly on the Political Process
  148. A charabanc called protection
  149. Taken for a ride - to nowhere
  150. Down hill, in circles, all the way
  151. Economic facts and figures are statistics who should speak out
  152. Any cons arguing small business bad but big government good?
  153. Relationships with the Liberal Party
  154. Tariffs = High Prices + World War
  155. Bert Kelly's Family History
  156. Bert Kelly's Pre-Parliament Life
  157. What the MP could say to the Bishop
  158. Why Bert Kelly was not even more publicly outspoken
  160. How to stand aside when it's time to be counted
  161. How the Modest Member went back to being a Modest Farmer
  162. My pearls of wisdom were dull beyond belief
  163. Bert Kelly on Political Football
  164. Undigested morsels in Fraser spew
  165. Bert Kelly on LSD
  166. Bert Kelly reflects on the Australian car industry in 1992
  167. Bert Kelly wants reprinted Shann's Economic History of Australia
  168. If tariffs are opposed here then why not there?
  169. The emperor has no textiles, clothing and footwear sense
  170. Ross Gittins Wins Bert Kelly Award
  171. Interesting 1964 Bert Kelly speech: he says he is not a free trader and that he supports protection!
  172. This is the wall the Right built
  173. The Impertinent Society: Cheeky MPs take Mr Anthony at his word
  174. Tariff Protection in Australia (1970)
  175. Has Santa socked it to car makers?
  176. Is the Budget a cargo cult?
  177. Will we end up subsidising one another?
  178. Keeping the bucket of worms alive
  179. Can we get off the stomach-churning head-spinning tariff merry-go-round?
  180. Do we want our money to fly?
  181. Can a bear be sure of a feed?
  182. How to impress your MP -
    ambush him
  183. The time for being nice to our MPs has gone ...
  184. Don't feel sorry for him -
    hang on to his ear
  185. Trade wars can easily end up on a battlefield
  186. Tariffs Create Unemployment
  187. Bert Kelly recommends Ayn Rand
  188. Bert Kelly on Alf Rattigan's Industry Assistance: The Inside Story
  189. Bert Kelly's Satirical Prophecy: Minister for Meteorology (tick) and High Protectionist Policies to Result in War Yet Again (?)
  190. Bert Kelly in 1972 on Foreign Ownership of Australian Farmland and Warren Truss, Barnaby Joyce and Bill Heffernan in 2012
  191. Bert Kelly baits Welfare State Tiger
  192. Why does Govt wear two faces?
  193. Parliament a place for pragmatists
  194. Of Sugar Wells and Think-Tanks
  195. Bert Kelly: "I must take some of the blame"
  196. Bert Kelly on dumping duties
  197. The Govt's helping hand often hurts
  198. Unbuckling the hobbles on the motor industry
  199. A Modest Farmer looks at the Problems of Structural Change
  200. Government Fails Spectacularly
  201. Know your proper place if you want the quiet life
  202. Bert Kelly on political speech writers
  203. Having your cake and eating it
  204. Perish the thawed!
  205. Hooray for Northern Development!
  206. Politicians can resist everything except pressure
  207. The silly image of our MPs
  208. Bert Kelly Question Time highlights
  209. Modest Farmer sees his ideas take hold
  210. Should facts stand in the way of a good story?
  211. Fondling one another's glass haloes
  212. What is the sense in making the effort to look after yourself?
  213. Fred's Feeling: Counterpatriotic country contrarian
  214. Handouts for big boys only
  215. Mavis trying to buy a hand loom
  216. Bad news for bearers of bad news
  217. Is it time to get aboard the tariff band-waggon?
  218. Why farmers resent tariff protection for motor makers
  219. A sordid use of scare tactics
  220. Goods vs services
  221. Tariffs are hilariously counterproductive
  222. The dilemmas of Aboriginal Affairs
  223. Bert Kelly on decentralisation
  224. Inflation breeds moral decay
  225. Who envies equality?
  226. Growth – malignant or benign?
  227. Government wiser than Magna Carta
  228. Bert Kelly on looking to politicians for moral leadership
  229. Max Newton: Maverick in Exile
  230. Whitlam & co on the Dismissal
  231. 25% Tariff Cut
  232. Bert Kelly on pensions
  233. The plotting powers of Mavis nag martyr to snag compo
  234. The backseat drivers of the Pilbara
  235. Mr Clunies-Ross of the Cocos Islands should rule Australia
  236. They get the wind up when it changes
  237. Why the Big Green Lie survives
  238. Ross McLean in 1982: "Malcolm! Why don't we try good government? It might be popular."
  239. Bert Kelly on the importance of exchange rate movements
  240. Bert Kelly shows how to attack
  241. Bert Kelly vs Bert Kelly vs Bert Kelly
  242. Industrial relations dinosaur, Bruce, chews his cud
  243. Hooray for "firmly entrenched"!
  244. Respect your dinosaurs
  245. What if something is "deeply ingrained" yet harmful?
  246. A case for ministerial inertia
  247. Why politicians don't like the truth
  248. Punemployment: people are neither numbers nor puzzle pieces; the platitude attitude
  249. Our great open spaces ... an empty blessing
  250. Heart in right place but head missing
  251. Ominous dark clouds are gathering
  252. Proverb vs proverb
  253. Better to be popular than right
  254. Crying in the wilderness
  255. Ivory tower needs thumping
  256. Bert Kelly asks, "How can you believe in free enterprise and government intervention at the same time?"
  257. Politicians get undeserved praise, why not undeserved blame too?
  258. Feet in a bucket of champagne
  259. Rural Problems
  260. Health cover needs a $30 excess clause
  261. Unholy state of taxation
  262. Boring economics worth a smile
  263. The Libido for the Miserable
  264. Agricultural Development and Tariffs
  265. Fred's too poor to have principles
  266. Eccles Law of the constant wage share
  267. "He whom the gods would destroy ..."
  268. Low tariff torch burnt Eccles' fingers
  269. A cow of a car — with dual horns
  270. Tariffs: when to wean infant BHP?
  271. Keep any government as far as possible from farming
  272. The Playford charade is out of date
  273. Bert Kelly: the odd man out who's now in
  274. Dries must resist giving up struggle as going gets tough
  275. How a well meaning Government can be so stupid
  276. The icing on the economic cake
  277. Sir Roderick Carnegie's foreword to Bert Kelly's Economics Made Easy
  278. The Vale of Popularity and the Protection Procession
  279. Politics 101: Pay Lip Service to Capitalism and Shoot the Messenger
  280. Bert Kelly makes politicians eat their own words on tariffs, then says, "We cannot be blamed for treating the statements of our statesmen with cynical contempt"
  281. Bert Kelly on Free Enterprise
  282. Cartoons of protected industry, the welfare teat and the nanny state
  283. Bert Kelly on the theory of constant shares and the Fabian Society
  284. Bert Kelly vs Doug Anthony
  285. You're lucky if you escape being helped by government
  286. Bert Kelly on Small Farmers
  287. Bert Kelly on Apathy
  288. Bert Kelly in 1967 on "problems of government and things like that"
  289. The last "Dave's Diary"
  290. Bert Kelly vs The Australian on tariffs in 1977
  291. Bounties or Tariffs, Someone Pays
  292. Geriatric companies without a minder
  293. A free marketeer wary of free trade
  294. Nixon's puzzling profession of faith
  295. "Ford ... seems to spend more time bending its knees than its back"
  296. Clyde Cameron's weak ways with wise words
  297. Why flaunt what others flout?
  298. Bert Kelly yearns for Tim Flannery's powers of prediction
  299. Looking after yourself is silly
  300. Bert Kelly masterpiece on drought, fire, flood and other natural disaster relief schemes
  301. Government can take credit for our car industry mess
  302. Car makers want the 4wd driven deeper into tariff bog
  303. Why our MP is no longer prone to a good sob story
  304. Auto industry is in a straitjacket
  305. Bert Kelly on market predictions
  306. Why should dryland farmers subsidise irrigation farmers?
  307. How much should government decrease incentive for independence from government?
  308. Clarkson crowned Deputy Government Whip
  309. Bert Kelly to blame for soaring government healthcare costs
  310. 1959 return of Dave's Diary
  311. Bert Kelly in 1966 on developing northern Australia
  312. Successful government intervention can [sic] occur
  313. Vernon Report upholds Clarkson
  314. Quiet Man Makes An Impact
  315. Should it be compulsory to buy footwear and clothing?
  316. To save Australian clothing industry women must all wear same uniform
  317. Don't confuse plucking heart strings with plucking harp strings
  318. Speech only for public
  319. Catchy Tariff Circus Extravaganza
  320. Bert Kelly in 1985 on cars yet again
  321. Hurrah for the Gang of Five
  322. Thoughts on a verse about Balfour
  323. Bert Kelly pep talk to politicians
  324. Government intervention = Agony postponed but death brought nearer
  325. Recipe for disaster: Freeze!
  326. Recipe for government intervention: Gather winners and scatter losers
  327. Recipe for industry destruction: Blanket market signals
  328. Mavis writes!
  329. Bert Kelly's empiricism is not kneejerk reaction kind
  330. The $2,000 song of the shirt worker
  331. Subsiding only small farmers means subsiding the big banks
  332. Difficult to be fast on your feet when you've got your ear to the ground
  333. It would surprise people to see how sensible MPs behave if they think they are not being watched
  334. Bert Kelly on "this land of limitless resources" and "great open spaces"
  335. Growing bananas at the South Pole
  336. Car components tariff protection under fire
  337. Why carry a $300m car subsidy?
  338. Tariff feather beds for the foreign giants
  339. Bert Kelly says end compulsory voting to stop donkey vote
  340. Perhaps being smart and insured isn't all luck
  341. You gets your tariff, you pays a price
  342. More funds to train Olympians?
  343. Fire in their guts and wind in ours
  344. Should free universal healthcare include pets?
  345. Sound advice from a modest farmer
  346. A tottering monument to intervention
  347. Cunning meets wisdom
  348. Competition, Aussie-style: Who's the bigger parasite?
  349. Australians are proud patriotic parasites, says Bert Kelly
  350. Taxpayer-funded sport is cheating
  351. Being loved by all is not always a good thing
  352. Welfare State Destroys Society
  353. 1980 Bert Kelly feather bed series
  354. The White Mice Marketing Board
  355. Government intervention and advice can be harmful, even when right, even for those it tries to help
  356. One small step on the compulsory voting landmine
  357. The free & compulsory education sacred cows have no clothes
  358. Holding a loaded wallet to an economist's head
  359. Political No Man's Land
  360. Only blind greed demands both equality and prosperity
  361. A cow that sucks itself — that's us!
  362. Foot-dragging on lifting tariff drag
  363. Nip the bud of incentive; mock community spirit into submission
  364. Bert Kelly questions why miners pay royalties to the Crown
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