You've just won a new car!

And by "won" I mean you and other Australians have forked out an unnecessary $13 billion extra to the car industry over the years. Some prize right? Well...

The government now has its hand in your pockets in more subtle ways, but you still fork out more than $2400 a car more than needed. This year we are paying $300,000 for each job in the business. When Mitsubishi got its last lifeline, it would have been cheaper to pay the workers for life than to keep the plant open.

... Worse, keeping assembly workers in subsidised jobs is keeping them from better jobs in areas where Australia is competitive: technology, advanced engineering and some components. Favouring domestic assembly disadvantages Australia's efficient exporters, such as mining, agriculture and services.

But what about getting around the governments measures by importing cheaper cars? Well the politicians have plugged that hole.

To make life this difficult the bureaucrats, assisted by auto lobbyists, have used that old chestnut - safety - as an excuse. Even though the government was told by its own inquiry back in 1995 that Australia should accept international safety standards.

The chief concern among auto-lobbyists and their respective clients is that of safeguarding their bottom lines against competition. The politicians are only too happy to lend a forceful hand - given the number of votes they hope to "purchase"!

The only safety issues worth paying attention to are those announced by the ancaps.