The British Way to Recovery: Plans and Policies in Great Britain, Australia, and Canada

By Herbert Heaton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVEN
AUSTRALIA
"FIRST IN AND FIRST OUT"

TO MOST NORTH AMERICANS Australia IS A BIG DISTANT island, with a lot of sheep, some strange animals and stranger vowels. It once invented and exported the Australian ballot, and since then has been an incorrigible experimenter in social legislation or state enterprise. That a country with such a reputation should seek new and unorthodox ways of meeting a crisis is only natural, and when Australians claim that they were "first into the depression and first out of it" we may with profit examine the secrets behind the second of these pioneering achievements.

The setting for the story can be briefly described. Productive Australia consists of six and a half million people, who dwell on the more or less fertile south, east, and southwestern fringes of the continent. Two-thirds of them live in towns, mining, making the goods or rendering the services that can only be done on the spot, or working in the factories that have grown up behind the political protection of a high tariff and the geographical protection of long distance from outside sources of supply.

If productive Australia is town and country, exporting Australia is all country, sending out primary products to feed people and machines. Of these products

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