Economy

Apr 26, 2018

Productivity Commission lashes out at protectionism and security stupidity

The Productivity Commission and its chairman Peter Harris have gone hunting for political sacred cows again, slamming protectionism, national security spending and handouts to business.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

The head of the Productivity Commission has accused policymakers of "reaching for the industry assistance jar at the first sniff of cannon fire in President Trump’s trade war", as the Commission adds national security spending in its annual hitlist of policy failures.

In a little-reported speech on Tuesday, ahead of today's release of the Commission's annual Trade and Assistance Review, chairman Peter Harris, who finishes his term later this year, renewed his criticism of the protectionist strain in Australia's politicians. Trump's steel and aluminium tariffs, Harris noted, meant

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