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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 22570

Address at the 20th Anniversary of the 'Australian Made' Logo Parliament House, Canberra

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 09/11/2006

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 22570

Thank you very much Robert. Mr Ian Harrison, ladies and gentlemen. I thank Robert for his quiet introduction and I want to say how very happy I am to be associated with this 20th anniversary of the great Australian Made logo. And in being here amongst other things pay tribute to the remarkable contribution that Robert himself has made to Australian industry. For many years he was the largest employer, private sector employer in South Australia. He's been a stunningly successful manufacturer; he's been a fearless and indefatigable proponent of Australian industry and somebody who's never taken a backwards step in promoting the interests of Australian manufacturing and the interests of Australian industry.

This logo has been incredibly successful. An approval rating of 98 per cent is something we mere politicians can only drool about. Heavens about, 98 per cent. I mean that is just unbelievable. But I think it does tell us a number of things. It tells us first and foremost simplicity and ready identification with symbols that are regarded as authentically Australian is a winning combination. There is a yearning within our community, qualified from time to time by price, to buy Australian and I think people all things being equal will always want to buy Australian. But if all things aren't equal then sometimes and often indeed they won't.

It is true that Australia's profile around the world has been transformed over the last decade or more. Certainly our profile in the United States as demonstrated by the stunning and I hope permanent shift in allegiance amongst American wine consumers several years ago towards Australian wine and away from European, particularly French wine. And you can trace, in different parts of the world, the way in which a readily identified, high quality Australian product has been so successful.

Now I am aware that in a globalised world, there is a constant tension just below the surface between the embrace of the benefits of globalisation against a desire to ensure that there is an adequate market share retained for the Australian product. It is a tension, and it's never finally resolved, because there will always be some who believe that globalisation has been allowed to go a little too far and there will be others who believe that as a consequence, Australian manufacturing in particular is not getting a fair go. I don't have a ready answer to the resolution of that tension, except to say that in the context of things such as the negotiation of a Free Trade Agreement with China, this Government will not sell out of the interests of Australian manufacturing, any more than we are going to settle for an arrangement that doesn't in some way recognise the legitimate claims of Australian agriculture.

China of course is an amazing market for Australia. One of the big differences I find in my discussions with American political leaders from the President down and American businessmen is their different emphasis towards China. They see China very much as being a threat to jobs. Some sections of Australia see Chinese imports as a threat to jobs. The great bulk of Australians see China as a remarkable market, which is fuelling much of the current wealth and prosperity that this country is enjoying.

It is a reminder that in all of these things a sense of balance is important. We must preserve a manufacturing base in this country and that will involve our manufacturing industry always being as competitive as possible, always needing high grade policy such as a better taxation system, a better industrial relations system, the continued operation of course of a floating exchange rate, which has allowed our industries to adjust. I know that on occasions the level of the dollar has been more acceptable to manufacturers than it has been on other occasions, but that is the nature of a floating exchange rate.

But it can't be denied that the prosperity of our export industries, both manufacturing and service; and we should not see the Australian Made logo exclusively, and I know Robert doesn't in terms of just manufacturing. Its participation and involvement in the G'Day LA program, which has burgeoned as a way of exporting all that Australia stands for and it's successful in is an illustration of that.

But it is a long period since this logo was first launched by the Hawke Government way back in 1986, and it was launched, if I recall, with very strong bipartisan support then because I was the Leader of the Opposition, first time around, and I certainly remember the support that we gave it. And I can remember when the late Phillip Lynch was a member of the Fraser Government and the Minister responsible for manufacturing industry that he was a very powerful advocate of the concept of this logo.

I've heard what Robert and Ian Harrison have had to say about the status of the logo and what you have in mind, and I, in the time honoured language take all of that on board and we'll give it very, very careful consideration.

But this country is enjoying remarkable economic growth and prosperity at the present time. It is true, as I remarked yesterday, that there are variations in the level of economic activity according to where you are in the country. But overall it remains the case that we are still in the 16th year of economic expansion and it's a duration of economic expansion the like of which we have not experienced at any time in our history. And in order to consolidate that prosperity we need a contribution from all sectors of industry. We do not want to romance about a future that is only built on mining, any more than we were right to romance about a future years ago that was riding perennially on the sheep's back. We need contributions from mining, from agriculture, from our manufacturing industries and from our service industries as well.

And the service sector has grown in importance in the last generation and we are now good at doing things and world class at doing things which would have been unrecognisable as identified with Australia a generation or more ago. And I think of the way in the attitudes of our young have changed towards working in the hospitality industry.

All of these things are bound up with a successful export performance and the Australian Made brand is not only important domestically but it is hugely important overseas. And I thought Robert put all of that well. But I thank all of you for the contribution that you have made to the strength and the performance of Australian industry over the years. I congratulate those responsible for this logo, I wish them a happy birthday and I will bear in mind everything you've said Robert. Thank you very much.

[ends]

Transcript 22570