Any contribution to a discussion on protection should focus on what kind of country we wish for Australian citizens two or more generations from now. Lack of foresight may lead to Australian citizens, a few generations from now, living at a standard well below what is currently enjoyed.
Unheeded foresight in the past has led to mistakes in the earlier era when people with clearer long term views have been ignored in the pressure cooker of the then present. The English Crown's attitude to the American colonies, which led to the American War of Independences, is an example, as was ignoring Churchill's views in the early 1930's. There were few mistakes made in developing our productive capacity in the time of war or in the planning which gave Australia the Snowy Scheme and the consumer goods manufacturing industries to provide employment after WW2.
An understanding of modern monetary theory would also help. A government controlling a fiat currency pays all its internal bills and social security payment, by allocating account credits to the bank accounts of the recipients using computer keystrokes, increasing the amount the government owes the Reserve Bank. The Reserve Bank, which the citizens own through their government, honours those balances.
People and businesses spend the new credit balances and almost all of that money flows back to the government as tax during or after the long sequences of transactions, which consequently occur. The tax collected reduces the government's indebtedness to the Reserve Bank. Any new balance not spent will be lent by the banking system to someone who will spend it. Using these sovereign powers sensibly, does allow a national government to nudge developments in a preferred direction.
If there is excessive inflationary pressure in the economy, often caused by over optimism in the community, the government is able to take actions that dampen the economy. An example of this is increasing the tax rates or increasing government borrowings by issuing bonds.
If the economy is slowing, the reverse actions are feasible, as was shown in the 2008/9 situation. Basically, balancing the internal sovereign government's budget is of little relevance and politicians and businesses that claim otherwise either do not understand or have another agenda. It is worth repeating: Arguing that sovereign governments needs to, or should, adhere to the budgeting rules applicable to a business or an individual, is either mischievous, a result of ignorance, or sometimes both.
The external account is a different matter. With a floating exchange rate such as we have in Australia, any imbalance in trade will initiate a correcting effect to the exchange rate. Because its fiat currency is the international reserve and trading currency, the USA is a special case. That situation has allowed the USA government, businesses and citizens to consume the resources and goods produced by other economies, simply by creating credit balances in the accounts of the suppliers of the items imported.
Those balances can be assigned to a bank in the home country of the supplier in exchange for the home currency, but the balances, then owned by a foreign bank, remain in the USA banking system. Those balances then provided the leverage for the growth of, and the misuse of, financial manipulation that led eventually to the GFC, but that is another story.
The advantage to the USA of the present reserve system was recently severely criticised by both China and Russia. Reconsideration of Keynes' Bretton Woods proposal, or some similar solution, is well overdue.
The present national real assets situation of Australia needs to be understood and used to establish a long term view of Australia's potential. I would list the assets and their advantages and disadvantages as follows:
1. Limited areas of high quality arable land with adequate water supplies;
2. High rainfall only on fairly narrow coastal strip, particularly on the east coast, but separated by a mountain range from other, less well watered, arable land;
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