Blackjack's Legacy

With Mark Vaile stepping down from the trade portfolio so he can focus on rearranging deckchairs, his deputy Warren Truss has taken over. Which makes it timely to ask: when the Coalition is in power, why does the National Party get the trade portfolio? Sure, the Nats know farms. But in an economy where agriculture makes up only 3% of GDP, and only 50% of our exports, shouldn’t the PM give the portfolio to the best person in the Coalition caucus, not the next National Party MP in line?

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3 Responses to Blackjack's Legacy

  1. Peter says:

    The evidence that the “Nats know farms” is in fact rather thin: Don Day held the rural NSW state seat of Casino for many years on the basis of farm votes because the National Party’s agricultural policies discriminated against dairy farmers from the Far North Coast (in favour of farmers closer to Sydney). When Labor was elected to Government under Wran in 1976, they were able to introduce a fairer and more efficient system of milk distribution. Over the last 40 years, Labor has been by far the better manager of agriculture in NSW, in terms of both policy and execution.

  2. Peter says:

    I should have said that Don Day held Casino for the ALP.

  3. TB says:

    I agree. I’d even go further and say that agriculture accounts for only 15% of exports – there’s a lot of minerals and fuel exports in the 50% you cite. And it’s not at all clear to me that Nationals have any special knowledge about the resources sector.

    Although, perhaps the Nats would counter by saying that trade in resources, services and manufactures (to some degree, at least) is relatively free, but a host of restrictions remains for agricultural trade, making their special knowlege valuable.

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