Jobs and livelihoods are not the cost of doing business

Les Heimann writes: Re. “Right decision, but Coalition car chaos shows need for economic vision” (yesterday). Oh for goodness sake. Stop this nonsense about Holden had to go, right decision, perfect storm and all the other spin. This country has to have jobs so people can earn money so that they can spend money, and that’s called an economy. Everywhere, without exception, cars are manufactured thanks to government support. Governments do this so there are jobs. We are talking here of up to 200,000 jobs, as clearly Toyota must now be unsustainable. All the local suppliers will not be able to provide the small amount of material at competitive prices to only what will be one-third of what their market was.This is an economic disaster. Why is it not recognised? Where will these people go? An idiotic statement today on the radio to the effect that the country would transition all these people to other jobs is typical of the cuckoo land some of our economic rationalists actually inhabit.

The fact remains that our economy will be shrinking by the number of jobs taken away; and there are no other jobs to go to. Victoria and South Australia — write these states off and tell that to shareholders, home owners, superannuation assets and so on as people see their life savings dwindle rapidly. As the boss of GMH said today, both political parties saw our business case. Sure, one promised $500 million more  (Labor) and one promised not a penny more (Liberal). But as in The Godfather, “it’s only business”.

David Edmunds writes: There is a criticism in Bernard Keane’s piece on the Holden decision, to the effect that the coalition has not yet developed an economic plan. The Coalition is still beholden to an ideology whereby a centre-Right government does not pick winners.  That is, the economic plan is that there should be no economic plan. Unfortunately the world has moved on as it has globalised, and the successful economies of northern Europe and the US have very high levels of government intervention in the economy. The intervention of the Scandinavian countries and Germany are well known. The US has long supported its industries through R&D dollars fed through the defence budget. This has given the US its jetliner industry, the desktop computer, the internet and the GPS, among numerous other innovative and highly profitable industries.

The Labor government wanted to enhance the Australian economy through enhanced education and training, and infrastructure, in particular, the NBN. This is more or less the Scandinavian approach. Tony Abbott’s policy statement following the announced closure of Holden can be summed up in the words of Dusty Springfield, “wishin’, and hopin’, and thinkin’ and prayin'”.  But not “doin'”.

It’s not the spying, it’s the getting caught

Mark Stapleton writes: Re. “In Timor-Leste, it’s spies like us … or like them, anyway” (Wednesday). Professor Damien Kingsbury’s story boils down to “everybody does it”, which is what what most commentators in the vanity press have to say. My question is the same as others’: “what does a country of any importance do when it gets caught out doing what everyone does?”