July 15, 2003


Flag-waving anti-freetrader Dick Smith gets a run in the press whenever he opens his mouth to whine about foreign businesses investing in Australia and giving us jobs. The German supermarket firm Aldi, which has invested more than $750 million in Australia since 2001, was a recent target:

Mr Smith appeared on a number of current affairs programs in May, saying Aldi was secretive and its profits went back to Germany.

Aldi boss Michael Kloeters has hit back, pointing out the high percentage of Australian products sold by Aldi and the number of jobs it provides in its 50 Australian stores. Smith, the above-linked article notes, was unavailable for comment because he is currently spending his money overseas.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 15, 2003 07:33 PM

I can remember Alan Bond once saying that any West Australian who drank an eastern states beer was doing the wrong thing. When his daughter got married in Perth only the best would do, meaning importing most of the gear for the wedding, including the flowers, from Europe.

Posted by: ZsaZsa at July 15, 2003 at 09:57 PM

I assume Dick's helicopters, balloons and the goods sold in the Dick Smith Electronics stores were all Aussie too?

Posted by: Clem Snide at July 16, 2003 at 03:18 AM

Dude, where's my Aussie peanut butter?

Posted by: Rob at July 16, 2003 at 12:42 PM

At least with Dick you know what he's thinking. He's doing it for commercial advantage. Speaking shit to make yourself more money is a long and honourable tradition.

It is those who argue against free trade because they can't do the minimal amount of thinking that says more trade = more business = more wealth that really annoy me.

Posted by: Patrick at July 16, 2003 at 12:58 PM

There are Aldi stores in Oz?

I thought they only existed in the US. Whaddaya know.

I love Aldi...basic foodstuffs, dirt cheap.


Posted by: cheshirecat at July 16, 2003 at 02:56 PM

Buy Australian is a wank but it is very dangerous because it tugs at the patriotic heartstrings.

I buy whatever the hell I want.

Posted by: Gabor at July 16, 2003 at 03:26 PM

I aslo have pondered whether at times if Smith's embrace of economic autarchy is just an advertising gimmick If it is, it is a dangerous game to play.

It should be recalled, Smith during the 80's was forthright in and out of the courts in opposing government controls.Is the man a hypocrite, one is inclined to say yes.

Posted by: d at July 16, 2003 at 03:53 PM

Hey Gabor, a wank doesn't tug at the heartstrings. There's only one thing being tugged and it aint the heart.

Posted by: Rob at July 16, 2003 at 06:13 PM

Dick Smith is a right prat. I remember the lies he told over "Australian Geographic", a magazine largely renowned for the pathetic fictional conversations that are supposed to make readable copy. Anyway, Tricky Dicky advertised it is 'strictly limited number of subscriptions' in an attempt to make it look rare and exclusive. Then sold and many as he could for a long as he could. The man's a charlatan.

Posted by: Becky Shart at July 16, 2003 at 08:34 PM

Only if your heart isn't in it.

Posted by: Gabor at July 17, 2003 at 12:45 AM

Dick Smith is either a complete hypocrite (talking shit to make money, as people say) or he is stupid. And he's very likely not stupid. Back in the days before Woolworths took it over, his electronics business was well known for running advertising that ran fairly close to the Trade Practices Act (ie it skirted fairly close to being dishonest, if it didn't actually cross the line).

Posted by: Michael Jennings at July 19, 2003 at 10:44 PM