The new reality is we need to protect our industries - The Australian

As China has blocked more Australian exports over the past year, we have been implored to trust the international rules-based trading system. That used to mean something. After World War II, countries did sign many international trading agreements that opened up an era of free trade not seen since the 19th century. However, since China joined the World Trade Organisation the rules of the system have been stretched to breaking point. China has subsidised its industries well beyond what was allowed under the terms of its ascension to the WTO. For example, the Alliance for American Manufacturing estimates 80 per cent of the profits of Chinese steel producers come from government subsidies. China’s flouting of the rules has caused others to do the same. An increasing array of tariffs and protection have been introduced in response to China’s subsidy-fuelled growth. Read more

Do not waste your vote - CQ Today

I only have one recommendation for the Rockhampton mayoral election this Saturday. Number as many boxes as you can! Don’t waste your vote by just voting 1 for your preferred candidate. With 17 candidates in the field, unless your preferred candidate finishes in the top 2, then if you just vote 1, youwon’t get a vote between the final two candidates. The more boxes you number, the more chance you have that someone you voted for makes it to the final two. Read more

US dysfunction bad for us - CQ Today

“This group refused to accept police direction, forced a breach in police lines and ran towards the main front entrance of Parliament House. “This group was supported by participants from the more general demonstration who were incited to join those involved in riotous conduct by a speaker from the official platform ... demonstrators used weapons, including a large hammer, a wheel brace, a steel trolley and a stanchion torn from the external doors to break open the internal doors ... so far about 90 personnel have reported injuries - including lacerations, sprains, and head and eye injuries. I understand one person required hospitalisation.” Read more

We’re still young and free - CQ Today

When my Italian grandmother moved to North Queensland in the 1950s, a German family lived across the road from her. According to family lore, my Nonna refused to even talk to this family for some time. Herreluctance explained by the presence of German troops in her Italian hometown just a few years prior. At some point, however, Nonna overcame that terrible history, introduced herself and her German neighbours became her best friends in town. I find it a great Australian story. People come here from all over the world. Sometimes they bring baggage with them of war and conflict. But new Australians eventually leave that baggage behind and we all become one people. Read more

Doug a ‘true statesman’ - CQ Today

The nation’s longest serving Deputy Prime Minister, Doug Anthony, died last week. Doug was a true stateman in the Aussie larrikin spirit. During a late session of Parliament, Doug and some other MPs began kicking a football - indoors! The football hit a painting shattering the glass inside. Doug described the aftermath, “There was a huge noise, it echoed all through King’s Hall. We swept up the broken glass and picked all the bits out of the frame and straightened the painting. It stayed like that for years before anyone noticed there was no glass in the frame!” Read more

Much to be thankful for - CQ Today

We have a lot to be thankful for this year. It has been a tough year for many but Australia has thus far avoided the worst of the coronavirus, at least compared to other countries. We can be thankful for our wonderful health authorities. The CQ Health team, led by Steve Williamson, have been organised, professional and efficient. When an aged care nurse became infected in May, Steve’s team tested over 200 people within days. We should be thankful to all the nurses, doctors and other health workers that have been on the frontline this year. Read more

McEwen sets an example

There have been too many statues torn down this year. So it was good to finish 2020 by unveiling a new statue of John "Black Jack" McEwen in Canberra last week. Read more

Questions on China's Trade - CQ Today

China buys so much of Australia's exports that it is hard to remember a time when our economy was not so connected with it. But it has not been this way for long. Just 20 years ago Australia exported $10 billion of goods to China, making up just 5 per cent of Australia's exports. Over the past year, we have exported $146 billion of goods to China, making up 40 per cent of our goods exports. This rapid increase has delivered enormous benefits to Australia in terms of jobs and new business opportunities. Yet as important as this relationship is our country was a pretty good place 20 years ago with barely any trade with China. If our trading relationship to China were to decline, I am confident that Australia would remain a pretty good place. Read more

China’s discrimination against Australia will only hurt it - The Courier Mail

Nobel-prize-winning economist Gary Becker argued that those who discriminate end up paying a price. If you employ only males, you miss out on highly skilled women. Your egalitarian competitors will then gain an advantage from a higher-skilled workforce. We are seeing another example of this insight in China’s recent discrimination against Australian beef, ­barley, wine and coal. Read more

Levy on iron ore exports would test China's mettle - The Australian

When my wife decided she wanted a new clothesline this year, we thought we should buy the good-old, Aussie-invented Hills Hoist. Then we discovered that Hills Hoists are now Made in China. As they are made from galvanised steel, I suppose it made commercial sense for Hills to move production to where more than half of the world's steel is now produced. Australia is the world's largest exporter of iron ore and coking coal - the two key ingredients that go into making steel. Yet we are now a net importer of steel, something that should be more widely acknowledged as a cause for national shame. Modern times are known as the information age but it is steel that has unlocked the greatest economic advancement in history. Just 30 years ago, two of every three people in our region lived on less than US$1.90 per day. Today, less than 5 per cent of people live in such extreme poverty. Read more


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