Buy your kids a job

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The Aussies know what they are doing when it comes to sustainable economic growth.

Recently, I had the pleasure of being in Australia. After several days down under, I began to notice more often these small green triangles on specific products with the slogan of “Australian Made,” “Australian Made and Owned,” or “Australian Grown.” At first, I thought this was some type of gimmicky campaign by some local merchants looking to offload products. However, one night while I was watching TV, I saw an Ad for a website, buyaustralian.com.au, which is an online directory for products made in Australia, by Australian manufacturers, using Australian labour.

Later, while I was in Melbourne and pulling away from Southern Cross metro station, the train passed some old factory buildings. One was painted at the top with a slogan on a blue background: Buy Your Kids a Job Buy Australian. The Aussie flag was painted right beside it and before I could take a second good look we were past and on our way. As the MetroTrain sped down the track, my thoughts kept going back to that slogan on the side of the building.

It’s a great slogan, and it makes an excellent point. By buying products made in Australia, Aussies are ensuring valuable manufacturing jobs stay in Australia. Just like auto plants did in the U.S., supporting Australian manufacturing provides jobs for several generations of Aussies. They don’t buy cheap, dangerous goods made overseas, but genuine, high-quality Australian products.

To go hand in hand with the “Made in Australia” green triangle are stores that sell exclusively Australian-made products. In Canberra, I ventured into one of these stores and found an interesting kangaroo-shaped mini-rucksack that cost $65AUD. As my budget was a bit strained at this point, I had to leave it behind. Back in Melbourne, I came across a similar-looking mini-rucksack for only $25AUD at a tourist shop. I was pretty ecstatic – the same mini-rucksack for only $25! However, upon looking at the label, I found that it read “Made in China.” I put it down and walked away. If I wasn’t going to pay $65 for the genuine Australian one, I sure as hell wasn’t going to buy the one made in China.

I am not here to extol the virtues of my conscience though. I am here to extol the virtues of implementing a similar campaign in Canada. Sure, for an Australian, this idea is nothing new or novel, but to a North American who is overwhelmed with cheap, overseas products at every corner it was a breath of fresh air. I am also not saying that cheap products from overseas are not available in Australia, but at least in Australia the domestic options are easily distinguishable. All you have to do is look for the green triangle tag with the kangaroo. It’s simplicity is its genius.

In Canada, we have no real domestic manufacturing industry left and the few products that are made in Canada are far from clearly and easily discernable in stores. If we had our own version of the green triangle, perhaps a white background with a red maple leaf in the centre, we could encourage Canadians to support their own economy. On top of this, we could easily compile an online directory for Canadian-made goods.

Yes, these domestic products would cost more, as my example above clearly shows. Sometimes we might not be able to buy something made domestically right then and there, but we shouldn’t immediately grab the made in China product the next shelf over. Domestic manufacturing means well-paying jobs for current and future Canadians.

Keep it in mind the next time you go shopping and “buy your kids a job.”

Sebastian Prost
Contributor

1 comment

  1. Stephen Gately 12 March, 2012 at 02:39

    Good thoughts Sebastion, I actually founded the business called BuyAustraliianMade, very pleased the TVC made an impression on you. I believe "What you buy TODAY will determine the Australia we live in TOMORROW"… and buying your kids a job is part of that. Hope you enjoyed Australia. 

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