Keating had all the fun, Abbott cops all the pain

Tony Abbott hasn’t inherited the kind of economic fortune that will see new job sectors emerge quickly in place of old. His ‘five pillars’ appear too weak to hold up the economy’s structural transition.

When veteran journalist Kerry O’Brien asked former prime minister Paul Keating what happened to all the workers who lost their jobs as import tariffs were slashed in the early 1990s, Keating claimed they “found a better job a week later”.

While that’s factually wrong, the spirit of the statement is right – by removing Australia’s decades-old scaffolding of protectionism, the scene was set for new jobs to emerge in more profitable areas.

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