Should Australians buy Australian-grown produce? The answer has been a loud No, if it is not the cheapest or the nicest looking. Now farmers seek to sell their floods-damaged stock and co-ops try to take over foreign owned industries. For the sake of their survival, we are being asked to buy Australian products.
The more Australian jobs there are, the more money there is to buy what we ourselves produce or do.
The more Australian industries are supported by Australians, the more chance they have to thrive and export. If you have a job, support the jobs of others.
The more Australian products are exported, the less we must import, because the cheaper Australian goods can be on the Australian market, with greater turnover.
The less we import, the less we must depend upon exporting our heritage without leaving any for our children – that is, the less we must exporting all the minerals in the ground, that others may use them to make the goods that we do not make ourselves.
The Western debt-ridden nations have by and large managed to get by, but now there are signs that the lenders may seek their money back, as in Ireland. This debt is largely not government debt, but the results of the imbalance of exports and imports, and it is Western nations such as the United States and Australia that can find their featherless chickens don’t come home to roost. The interest on their debt alone is hard to pay annually – it piles up.
The success of Australian products depend upon the actions of manufacturers, retailers, the media and consumers as well as governments.
Governments have been making taxes and imposts on Australian products and manufacturers, but not on imports or overseas makers. Tariffs are down to 5% or less, whereas we export to countries with tariffs of 20% or more.
Manufacturers and producers let all Australians down, when they do not give of their best but seek to get away with scams and as high prices as possible, as in the recent government embarrassments of some home insulation and school buildings programs.
Retailers and the media that usually give all their publicity and prominent space to overseas owners and products also let all Australians down. More people are unable to buy Australian-owned products even when they wish to. Supermarkets have specials which are foreign-made. They do not have Australian specials. An example is confectionary at Christmas-time, when fine Australian chocolates are neglected so that everyone buys fine imported chocolates. Over the last forty years I have seen excellent companies disappear – either bought up by multinationals and their products made overseas or not at all, or excellent products relegated to corners of shops, and dropped out of sight – and out of existence. An example is the best lawnmower for the average lawn, the Flymo model H33. I can run this manual mower, Australian-made over twenty years ago, over my lawn in five minutes although I am 83 and have had a stroke, while my neighbors haul heavy power-motors out of the shed and get them going – which I could not do. Everyone automatically thinks power-mowers are better for pocket-handkerchief size lawns! But even the Australian-made power Victor is rivalled by imports. My old manual lawn-mower saves fuel, money to buy, money to run, noise, and carbon emissions – as well as being durable, mendable and light exercise for everyone including children. But Bunnings has brummy later manual- models on sale, mostly imported, so that people buy power-models. The old Australian-made Electrolux vacuum-cleaners never needed a bag-change. Now we have imported cleaners which can be good but need bag-changes, or are brummy if they don’t.
The magazine ‘Choice’ rarely lists ‘Australian-made’ as an advantage, and indeed, does not often include these products in its choices tested.
As far as I know, no small efficient car is made in Australia, but the car industry struggles on with government support making large cars.
More jobs kept in Australia are desirable for making possible increasing turnover in manufactures and produce. This is better than the present dangerous policy of increasing population to increase wealth. Even before the natural disasters of winds and floods, 1,000 Australian family farm businesses were disappearing annually, another source of our diminishing ‘useful jobs’. Australian manufactures could mean the revival of Port Kembla steel-works.
Imports bring profits to importers, middlemen and financial dealers. But imports cost more in peak-oil, reducing resources, and more carbon emissions than what can be made at home.
It is in our own best interests to support our own when we can. The height of the Australian dollar may mean we pay a little more, but it is money that will circulate back to us.
Not only in buying flood-affected produce, but in supporting Australian enterprise and products in the work of recovery after floods and cyclones. Rebuilding and replacement will need an enormous amount of manufactures. We cannot make everything; few countries can.
But for future equilibrium, countries will have to balance imports and exports, and where they can, make their own. Regional currencies that complement but do not mesh with national currencies can help provide the capital and should be trialed.