By Kristian Silva.
Tensions flared on Monday night’s Q&A when industrial relations expert Grace Collier said the unemployed could solve their problems by starting their own businesses.
On a night when industrial relations was a key focus of the program, Ms Collier’s remarks sparked several on the panel into life and surprised many in the Melbourne studio audience.
The panel was discussing the future of manufacturing — namely whether governments should subsidise certain industries to keep them afloat and save jobs.
But Ms Collier, a News Corp columnist, said governments did not owe workers any favours.
“Nobody has an entitlement to a job. Society doesn’t owe you a job. The Government can’t get you a job. The Government shouldn’t have to get you a job. There’s no such thing as Government money. There’s your money and my money,” she said.
“Everybody has something that they’re good at … You work out what you’re good at and you try and make a career out of that.”
When Greens Leader Richard Di Natale pointed out there were less jobs than people in Australia, Ms Collier fired back.
“People can start their own businesses,” she said, leading to several people in the audience to start heckling.
“It’s terrible, isn’t it? Wouldn’t it be awful to have to start your own business because someone else has to give you a job?” Ms Collier said.
“Why don’t you start a business and hire some people? Go on. I dare you.”
“I’m busy at the moment,” Mr Di Natale replied.
Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney interjected, saying “nobody has any money in their pockets to spend in that business”.
“We are losing our manufacturing industry and there’s been absolutely no plan from this Government to try to reinvigorate manufacturing, to find where we can have a competitive edge in the global economy,” she said.
Labor MP Tim Watts said the Coalition Federal Government had “nothing” for manufacturing industry workers.
However John Roskham, the executive director of right-wing think tank Institute of Public Affairs, said it was “desperately unfair” for the Government to have to subsidise each job in the car industry to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.
Economist Judith Sloan disagreed with the whole panel, saying the Australian labour market had been strong for some time.
Has Trump killed the conservative movement?
Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s lewd comments led the panel to consider what Australians would need to do to prevent a similar character taking the nation’s top job.
Mr Watts labelled the Republican candidate’s emergence as the death knell of the conservative movement.
“He’s been able to enter the scene in the US because conservative ideology has imploded,” Mr Watts said.
“There was a time when conservatives believed in things. What’s happened in the US is they’ve invited people who have subverted these conventions, trashed these institutions into the mainstream.”
Mr Di Natale said people were “fed up with establishment politics”, leading them to turn to extreme candidates.
“What you’re seeing, in my view, is people like Trump and One Nation and others who are scapegoating individuals, who are looking to foreigners and easy targets to blame for what are very complex social problems,” he said.
But Mr Roskham said Mr Trump did not represent true conservatism because of his stance on importation tariffs.
“Trump would not have been my candidate or the candidate of a lot of conservatives of a lot of liberals and libertarians … If I was in America I would not know how to vote,” he said.
Ms Collier was more optimistic about the future, saying she didn’t care who the US elected, provided Australia wasn’t negatively impacted.
“Don’t lose sleep over the stupid things Trump said, because there’s going to be another one tomorrow. Don’t worry about it,” she said.
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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