The Australian car industry is almost 120 years old, and has become
part of the nation's industrial and social fabric. With protection
from the federal government in the early years, and co investment
more recently, the industry thrived, and dragged Australia out of
the farm era and into the ranks of industrialised countries. These
days, the industry has provided a great return on the taxpayer
investment; income tax paid by automotive workers repays the
taxpayer three times over. But this was not good enough for prime
minister Tony Abbott, or his austerity-minded treasurer, Joe
Hockey. They decided to bully the carmakers into leaving so the
government could save a few dollars.
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