Just thought I'd throw this up here incase it is of use to anyone.
Repco have a catalogue sale on at the moment and the have a Polar brand buffing/polishing machine on sale for $59.00 (one of the angle-grinder-style ones) - I just bought one today.
Yes, as you would expect they are another one of the cheap Chinese-made brands of power tools that are popping up everywhere, but fact is, a home user is not going to use a machine polisher that much generally that it should fail - it's not like you're in a detailing workshop using it every week etc. and the quality of this tool actually seems quite good.
Some details for those interested:
-All ball bearing construction
-Variable speed (1000-3000rpm)
-Side handle (mount either side or top)
-2 year warranty (according to box)
-Comes with 180mm velcro backing pad and wool and soft foam pads
-Comes with case
-Body made of 'rubberised plastic' - nice to grip
The unit seems to run nicely and spindle spins nice and true etc. I have to say I'm very happy with it. So for anyone seriously into the appearance of their car but who doesn't wanna fork hundreds for a professional polisher/buffer, you can't go wrong with this for $59.00 I reckon. A polisher is a good investment I think as you can get better results than you'll ever get by hand - good for ppl who show their car etc. - just note that it's a normal rotary buffer, not a random orbital/DA one, so you need to learn/practice how to use it with the right technique if you've never used one before, else you might destroy your paintwork