Letters to the editor March 8 2018

STUNG: Bluebottles at Bulli Beach  by Margaret Johnston.  Send your pictures to letters@illawarramercury.com.au or post to our Facebook page
STUNG: Bluebottles at Bulli Beach by Margaret Johnston. Send your pictures to letters@illawarramercury.com.au or post to our Facebook page


I came to Australia in January 1953 as a young teenager, and started work as a 15-year-old having to learn english as I went, day by day.  My boss at the time encouraged me to learn “Strine” and I was able to speak this Aussie slang with most men in my circle of friends in a few months, albeit with an Dutch accent, which I have never lost.

I learned then the true meaning of the Iconic Aussie word “mate” used by one and all in this wonderful country of ours. I learned that you can call your mate a Bastard, but you would never call a bastard your mate.

So I was surprised when our PM called Donald Trump a “mate” for all the world to see, while sucking up to him something terrible, trying to drum up trade. A total false misuse of the true meaning of the word. Fair crack of the whip Mal, were you serious calling this man a mate?

Over the last few days with the USA tariff issues, I wonder if our trade mission in Canberra still think of Donald trump as a mate?

John Pronk BM, Wollongong


I am amazed at how many people are going round the bins, and the streets, plus the parks looking for cans, and bottles. Now I know it's only ten cents a can, or bottle back, but why on earth did these so called supermarkets increase there soft drinks with a higher margin of profit?

After all, 10 cents back on a bottle that as increased by at the very least between 20 and 30 cents, call it greed again as I do. Then again, it doesn't cost them any more money for refunds does it.

Lawrence Wren, Fairy Meadow


The treasury boss states he is confidence of wage growth. Tell him he’s dreaming.

Wage stagnation is a by-product of free trade agreements. Wage stagnation started in USA in 1991 with the opening up of China to private enterprise and the free trade agreement with Canada and the subsequent NAFTA in 1993 to include Mexico. Walmart took advantage of this and shifted sourcing their products from USA factories to China and Mexico in the main. This was quickly followed by other companies in USA trying to stay profitable against the cheap imports. The result is the collapse of the Manufacturing sector in USA with high number of unemployed culminating in the 2008 GFC.

Australia was shielded from the initial shock as China expanded its manufacturing base through the supply of raw materials and energy for the expansion. But by 2000 China was manufacturing surplus stock to USA demand. Australia was now competing with imports cheaper than could be manufactured in Australia, and the gradual decline in Manufacturing began, first with small companies and then larger companies with the car industry being a prime example. Like in USA, the workers have had their wages stagnate for the companies to stay afloat as both imports and technology take manufacturing jobs. Unless there is an increase in manufacturing jobs there is unlikely to be a catalyst for wages growth.

The NSW state government has made the task harder by importing rail carriages that could have provided over 10,000 direct and indirect manufacturing jobs in NSW - mainly in regional NSW. They also collect 2.5% of a person’s wage in Payroll Tax. A wage the manufacturer pays to the Government rather than to the workers. They also increase the cost of manufacturing through service charges, power etc.

The recent ruling on the wage reduction in the retail sector gives little confidence wages will rise anytime soon. Australia manufactures compete with international manufactures. Until the governments recognises the costs of manufacturing in comparison with the rest of the world and does something about reducing those costs, then the only other option is to follow the lead of President Trump and impose tariffs.

Ian Young, East Corrimal


Discuss "Letters, March 8: Trump Steel A Mate"

Please note: All comments made or shown here are bound by the Online Discussion Terms & Conditions.