Howard — Happy to Dump a Downer on Primary Producers

Andrew Phillips

13th August 2007

It’s nice to see our Prime Minister is beginning to feel the heat and is now prepared to spread some of the blatant responsibility for our nation’s problems around to his colleagues.

Alex “fishnet stocking” Downer, MP for the SA seat of Mayo and our nation’s Foreign Minister, has been conspicuously silent for most of the year regarding the continued push by Bio in Security Australia to allow into our country imports of New Zealand apples.

As stated in previous editorials, B.S.A. has attempted four times in the last decade to push through the decision to allow into Australia shipments of Fire Blight apples, a disease that can wipe out our $40 million per year industry and destroy our clean green image for primary produce.

This year, that organisation supposedly funded to guarantee the protection of our biological integrity and the continuation of our primary producers’ livelihoods, was successful in breaking open the protection of our local producers (all in the name of free trade) and securing the introduction of NZ apples.

The fruit need only be inspected once, can be harvested from trees showing sign of Fire Blight and harvested from within 3 metres of trees showing severe signs of infestation.

However, there must indeed be more than just talk of an election in the air. Following yet another report of probable apple imports from Chile after another Free Trade Agreement is signed (all in the national interest — of course), along with the importation of a disease known as Sharka (Plum Pox) which not only kills off the apples but is deadly to all stone fruit trees, including cherries, our fearless defender has leapt to the defence.

Defence of what, exactly? Of our primary producers? Of all the associated industries and the many workers they employ? Of the continued existence of our regional towns? Our biological integrity or the national reputation for quality food produced in clean conditions?

Well, one would like to think so... But, back to reality.

Alex, feeling the electoral heat for the first time since that nasty little upstart from the Democrats took some time off from singing with Redgum and gave him a little scare, has leapt to the defence of..... his reputation.

Yes, one must have one’s priorities right, particularly in an election year.

Drawing a line in the sand in a letter to a constituency newspaper, Intrepid Alex proudly declared “For as long as I remain the Foreign Minister, Australia will never trade off our science-based quarantine system for any free trade agreement with anyone.

Uh huh...... Well, your reputation on such issues in the past isn’t exactly glowing now, is it Alex? Suddenly, Fire Blight isn’t such an issue. It’s not so contagious. So harmless in fact that we can even bring in fruit from trees showing infection. Plum Pox? A minor issue we can sweep under the carpet, keep people distracted with other issues until after the election. If all else fails, we can trot out some tripe about economic gains in other areas, or even better, fall back on the excuse that “stone fruits are impractical to grow in a climate such as ours with water being such a concern....”

Australian Protectionists are to be found in a growing number of political movements and industry organisations. It is not a dying ideology. To the contrary, the philosophy of protectionism, environmental, cultural, economic — is making a dynamic comeback in the face of the failed policies of globalisation, economic rationalism and multiculturalism.

We watch with interest the continued acts of political suicide performed by the likes of Downer, Howard and Rudd. The alternative offered by the social engineers one sees in the Greens and Democrats is as hideous as it is bizarre and offers little more than a passing fad for alternative lifestylers and layabout left wing uni activists.

If our parliamentarians were so concerned for the welfare of our regional producers and the proper use of their constituents’ taxes, perhaps they would consider taking an Australian Protectionist stand on just one issue?

Take for example the issue of foreign aid. This is a good one for Alex. A major concern for Australians is the billions of dollars thrown at tin pot Third World dictatorships to alleviate poverty and assist in times of crisis. Our schools, our health system, care for our elderly, assistance for young families — all this goes wanting while we throw a minimum of $300 million per year at Indonesia, an estimated $600 million to the corrupt New Guinea government, money to communist Vietnam, corrupt Philippines regimes, not to mention those genocidal maniacs in Africa......

Perhaps our “leaders” could take a nation-centric point of view and put the needs of their nation’s food producers and taxpayers first? It’s time to redirect the funding from lost causes and genocidal pigs grunting and squealing with their noses in the internationalist trough and to use it sensibly.

Cease foreign aid. This does not mean turning our backs on our perceived “human responsibilities” in times of crisis. It merely means to cease sending millions of dollars to support every two bit tribal leader who hints he might let us use his cheap labour or mine for copper in his hell hole of a country....

The Australian Protectionist realises his fellow Australians work hard for their money and wish to see it targeted. In times of crisis, the Australian government should review each situation and act according to it’s merit. Rather than bestowing upon some self-serving dictatorship a gift of millions of dollars to buy a new fleet of Mercedes Benz cars for his underaged wives, or a new palace upwind from the smell of the shanty towns down river, Australians (good ol’ whitey) must send goods only.

Think of the wider implications of this. The Australian government meets it’s so-called “international obligations” by assisting those in need. At the same time, in assessing what is needed, the government spends Australian taxes, by purchasing Australian manufactured goods, or sending over Australian grown and processed foods to those in need under the supervision of a reputable aid organisation.

Targeted funding, ensuring what is needed gets to those in need — not into a Swiss bank account. At the same time, our beleaguered farmers and processing industries can be sure that our government will purchase local produce — keeping Australian taxes inside Australia — benefiting Australians.

No longer will millions of dollars disappear overseas, benefiting no-one but those who deserve to be hung by their own long-suffering populations. Millions of dollars in Australian taxation could be redirected into our own education, health and infrastructure systems — ensuring a better life for future Australians.

Articles by Andrew Phillips