Released 29th September 1998
Pauline Hansons One Nation is strongly opposed to the "free trade" economic policies, which over the past twenty years have led to the gradual destruction of the Australian manufacturing industry, with the resulting loss of hundreds of thousands of Australian jobs, an increasing dependence on the import of foreign goods to satisfy basic local demands, and a deteriorating trade balance, creating a massive and rapidly growing foreign debt problem.
When government leaders tell us "the economy is on track," they are absolutely right. We are reaping the results of policies which lead to unemployment, the death of manufacturing industry, high foreign debt, foreign control of our industry and banking system, and many of the ills which affect our nation today.
The demise of the Australian manufacturing industry has accentuated the serious unemployment problems caused by the misguided policies implemented by successive Australian governments since 1973.
The negative effects of the various policies affecting manufacturing industries have been evident for many years, yet, despite documented proof that they do not benefit the Australian people or this nation, both the Liberal/NCP Coalition government and the Labor opposition party have until recently, ruthlessly advocated the continuation, indeed an acceleration, of such measures.
A continuation of these "globalist" policies will drive Australia to financial disaster and change us from a wealthy and self sufficient nation, to a "third world" nation, depending on the International Monetary Fund and loans to pay its debts, thereby losing its economic and political freedoms.
The economic, social and human costs of these policies should not be imposed upon the Australian people unless they have purposefully chosen that path by electing a Party that clearly stated their policies in advance and honestly explained the outcomes to be expected (unemployment, foreign debt, etc.). Any political party which did this is unlikely to be elected to office as it would not receive support from the people.
Whilst tariff reductions have produced some short term benefits, like the availability of a wide variety of imported goods at very low prices, these benefits cannot be seen to remain long term. As our economy deteriorates and our currency loses value, the cheap imports will cease to be cheap and we will face the stark reality that we have no locally made alternatives.
The price paid for these ephemeral benefits has already been too high and can never be justified.
Policies of unilateral tariff reduction, deregulation of the financial system and free trade are ideologically motivated. Tragically, the ideology driving these policies is seriously flawed. Our competitors have continued to protect their industries and their national sovereignties while Australia has exposed itself to de-regulation, free trade, globalisation and economic rationalism.
One Nation recognises the need to offer the Australian people alternative policies which will first stop our downhill slide into the present stagnant state of industrial decay, economic pessimism and wretched unemployment, and will then turn our country around to bring about the reindustrialisation of our Nation, the reduction of unemployment to socially acceptable levels, and the restoration of economic optimism and prosperity for all our people.
This policy document offers an alternative direction to create an Australia that is industrially self sufficient, economically independent, strong and prosperous, and which provides meaningful and rewarding lives for all of its people.
Given the economic climate of necessity, Australia has the ability to be self- sufficient. Naturally, we should continue to trade. However, the vital link in this argument is that we should trade with and for what will benefit our own economy. To say that this proposition is unworkable is nonsense. Among others, the Americans and the Japanese have shown us that this is possible.
If a country has an agricultural base from which to feed the people, industrial infrastructure, a skilled manufacturing base, oil and mineral resources, and a healthy, united and educated population, it has the essentials to become self sufficient. If that country is barren of opportunity for its young, unable to care for its aged, dependent on goods and finance from foreigners, and unemployment among its workforce is rife, the problem is political ineptitude and economic mismanagement.
The following industrial policy direction is One Nations response to the challenges facing Australias manufacturing industries today.
Principle one: Australia should seek industrial self-sufficiency.
Abundantly endowed with natural and human resources, there is no valid reason why Australia should not become self-sufficient. During our history, on three occasions the Nation was forced by external events to be self-sufficient (W.W.I, W.W.II and the Depression of the1930s). We must guide our country to regain this level of self-sufficiency for economic and strategic defence reasons.
Principle two: Industrialisation provides prosperity for the people.
Research has consistently shown that a strong manufacturing sector is essential for employment growth. Manufacturing currently employs 1.2 million Australians and provides many flow on job opportunities. Manufacturing contributes approximately one third of the value of national exports.
It is quite clear that Australias future is dependent on the prosperity of the manufacturing sector.
Principle three: The government has a primary obligation to look after the domestic industry.
Each Australian government has the obligation to nurture and protect the industries which employ its citizens in preference to the industries of other countries and of foreign organisations.
Principle four: Australian manufacturing industry will always suffer from a degree of diseconomy of scale and will require some form of protection from externalities created by an "uneven playing field."
Due to Australias small population size and high standard of living, there will always be cost disadvantages to our manufacturing industry, compared with industries operating in countries with larger populations and/or lower living standards (reflected in lower wages for workers). This will necessitate the use of tariff and non tariff protective mechanisms to sustain and ensure the ongoing development of our manufacturing industry.
Principle five: The economic cost to consumers of protecting manufacturing industry is justified by the social benefits and trade balance implications.
The cost to the community of providing assistance and protection to Australian manufacturing industry, will be amply justified by the benefits of low unemployment, social stability and long term economic prosperity.
Our Nations prosperity cannot be financed by debt long term.
Principle six: The traditional Australian exports of primary products and minerals cannot sustain an economy that is totally dependent on imported manufactured goods to meet domestic demand.
One Nation intends that manufacturing industries are established to value add to all of our primary products. Imports must be replaced by Australian products. Australia must shift the emphasis from being a raw commodity producer to becoming a value-added manufacturing economy.
Australias ability to continue to pay for imported manufactured goods with revenue from traditional exports of primary industry commodities is clearly at risk. Unless we reduce our dependence on imports and start to manufacture more of the goods we need domestically, our foreign debt will escalate to unmanageable levels. Even now, our government is trying to overcome this problem by selling major public assets (Commonwealth Bank, Telstra, QANTAS, etc.). When we run out of assets to sell, we will be unable to repay our debts, and will become further beholden to the IMF and International Bankers who will force down our living standards to what they consider acceptable.
Our increasing population puts unsustainable demands on the economy, because a larger than ever proportion of people are in jobs which do not create wealth, are underemployed or unemployed.
The rebirth of domestic manufacturing industry will ensure the economic balance is redressed in the national interest.
1 Import Controls (including tariffs)
One Nation will use whatever import control measures are necessary, quantitative or tariff to achieve a stable proportion of the market in each custom code tariff classification, so that local producers have a market on which to plan, invest and develop their business.
2 - Financial Assistance
"The Australian Bank," a new publicly owned financial institution will be created to provide finance for the development of new industries (which must be at least 51% Australian owned) and fund strategic national projects which are too large in scope and cost to be funded by private enterprise.
3 - Export Incentives
Export subsidies should only apply to products which have the capacity to stand alone in the world market, but need assistance to become established. Export subsidies should therefore be most likely for a two to three year period and not exceed a five year period. Industries which are likely to need ongoing support will not be subsidised.
4 Import Replacement Program
We will target imports in each industry code and allocate priorities to establish Australian manufacturers to replace imports with Australian value added product. Import control measures will be used in conjunction with low cost venture capital and other incentives as well as assistance to develop and implement business and marketing plans to help re-establish our manufacturing base.
Labelling. One Nation will introduce a simple labelling system of three categories to allow consumers to purchase Australian-made products with confidence. The categories of labelling are as follows:
5 - Industry Standards
One Nation favours the creation of an Industry Standards Co
mmission to coordinate the implementation of metric standards across all industries, and to provide guidance in the introduction of new industry standards, which will promote economies of scale and interchangeability of components in related industries (examples: automotive, heavy transport equipment, computers and electronics).
In establishing a standard, clear distinction must be made between relatively stable design products principally those that form component parts, are sub assemblies, or constitute the material size range itself, and those higher states of assembly where the capacity for innovation and development must not be impeded.
Recognition is freely given to the capacity of industry itself to institute a degree of rationality, nevertheless, a far greater potential exists with the cooperation of government.
6 - Zoning and Provision of Industrial Land
One Nation believes it is essential to provide adequate land for the development of
industry in areas where the basic infrastructure (transport, communications, power, workforce) exists, or can be developed by government.
We will, in conjunction with State and Local governments, work to provide low cost land for industry development on a formerly unprecedented scale.
Regions and specific locations which have established infrastructure and labour skills will be identified for re-establishment and re-development of manufacturing industries. The rebuilding of industries in these areas will be given high priority and whatever assistance can be made available through the federal government to enable the speedy re-establishment of manufacturing capacity will be provided.
7 - Research and Development
One Nation considers Research and Development (R and D) is an essential component of a successful manufacturing industry. As such, we propose to reintroduce the 150% tax concession for R and D for majority Australian owned companies, and extend the concession to product development and commercialisation costs.
It is envisaged these measures will reverse the appalling downward trend observed over recent years in private R and D expenditure, which has left Australia ranked as one of the lowest R and D spending countries (in relation to GDP) among the OECD Nations.
8 - Anti Dumping
One Nation appreciates that the "dumping" of goods into Australia at artificially reduced or subsidised prices continues to represent a serious threat to local manufacturers.
We acknowledge that the introduction of Import Tariffs will increase the probability of exporters resorting to these unfair trading practices; we will increase the resources available through the Anti-Dumping Authority to deal with allegations of dumping, and streamline the procedures to investigate such cases promptly - often significant harm is suffered by the local industry while the authority investigates the allegation.
Apart from the remedies prescribed in the Anti-Dumping Regulations set out in GATT, dumpers will also become liable to claims for compensation by the local industry, under new legislation to be introduced into Parliament.
9 - Government Purchasing Policy
One Nation will ensure the policy for government purchasing will continue to support local, regional and national industries, and preference will be given to locally manufactured goods over similar imported goods, all other considerations being equal.
When preparing large tenders, government departments shall first consult with the local industry to ensure the tender guidelines do not make it difficult or impossible for the local producers to participate.
This policy is to ensure the local manufacturing industry will secure a significant share of the approximately $8-10 billion spent by Commonwealth Government departments each year.
One Nation will introduce policies to protect and develop manufacturing industry in Australia, as this is central to One Nation philosophy.
Effective communications between government and industry are essential if policies for industry development are to provide maximum benefit and gain the widest possible acceptance. Business sectors at all levels will be consulted before policies are introduced.
While it is understood that corporate profit and shareholder interests are major factors when private investors consider development proposals. One Nation will ensure the national interest and the interest of the Australian people are paramount.