We had a level of tariffs of about five per cent. Now a lot of those will go, most of them will go over time, some of them immediately. Now that means that electronic goods and other things, white goods, coming into Australia, will be cheaper for our community. It also means in many cases that the inputs used by our high-end manufacturers to make a final product are also coming in cheaper than they otherwise would - so it makes those manufacturers more competitive.
Our country was built, to a large extent, on protecting our manufacturers. If you go back to Jefferson, you go back to all of these great, great people that ran the United States properly, it was really based on a certain form of tariff and a certain form of protection. We're just the opposite now.
In the four decades after World War II, manufacturing jobs paid more than other jobs for given skills. But that is much less true today. Increased international competition has forced American manufacturers to reduce costs. As a result, the pay premium for low-skilled workers in manufacturing is smaller than it once was.
Everybody has a gas-guzzling car because people like SUVs. They would like SUVs if they were hybrid vehicles that had the same horsepower and used less gasoline. Instead, what the auto manufacturers are doing is building SUVs that are hybrid vehicles that use the same amount of gasoline because they up the horsepower. That's a decision that they make to market irresponsible economic behavior. The American people like the SUVs, they have kids, they, they need them, they get around in them, but we have options.