The Australian steel industry has been ailing for a long time, but the crisis at Arrium couldn't have come at a worse time for a government struggling with its direction just a couple of months out from an election.

There's a worldwide glut of steel-manufacturing capacity thanks to China (using our iron ore, let's not forget) and Australia isn't the only country struggling to cope with the implications for its domestic industry, given an efficient at-scale steel industry needs strong exports in addition to domestic consumption. In the UK, the Cameron government has been struggling with the pending closure of the Port Talbot in Wales, owned by Indian giant Tata, with UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne having to fend off claims he's unwilling to impose tariffs on cheap Chinese steel while David Cameron was rebuffed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has imposed his own tariffs on Port Talbot steel.