20 January 1995. Thought for the Week: "There is a great and potent world which the governments do not control. That is the world of finance, the men who guide the ebb and flow of money. With them rests the decisions whether they will make that river a beneficent flood to quicken life, or a dead glacier, which freezes whenever it moves, or a torrent of burning to submerge and destroy. The men who control that river have the ultimate word."
The late John Buchan, well known Scottish novelist, British M.P., and later Lord Tweedsmuir, Governor General of Canada.
ECONOMIC MADNESS WHICH PASSETH ALL UNDERSTANDING
by Eric D. Butler
A group of New Times supporters, including the writer, stood outside the Melbourne Town Hall, where Professor Copland was one of the speakers at an educational conference, selling The New Times with the cry, "Has Professor Copland gone mad? Read all about it." The Professor was not impressed, bursting from the hall and threatening legal and other types of action, none of which ever eventuated. This colourful incident in the life of the Australian Social Credit movement is recalled as Professor Copland's successors, including their political yes men, insist that the "recovery" from the "depression we had to have", was proceeding too rapidly; that in fact the economy was "on the boil" and "overheating", the building industry being allegedly one of the main culprits; that there was a threat of inflation returning and this could only be avoided by "firm action", this including a rise in interest rates, along with an increase in taxation.
Anyone whose commonsense has not been destroyed by what is called "progressive education" can only ask, in sheer disbelief, "How can increases in interest rates and taxation solve problems created in part by high interest and high taxation policies?" It is elementary that higher interest rates bear heaviest upon those least able to bear them. The increases, with further threatened, must sound the death knell for an increasing number of struggling primary producers. The housing industry has been devastated, not because all Australians are adequately housed, or because there is a shortage of skilled men or building materials.
There was a time when there were some Labor Members who spoke out against dictatorship by debt finance. One of these was Australia's wartime Prime Minister John Curtin, who during the Great Depression accepted Social Credit. But, as in all the parties, a new breed has emerged in the Labor Party.
Some years before he died, Social Credit
founder C.H. Douglas said that it was with a feeling almost
amounting to nausea that he brought himself to write about
economics. He referred to the vicious moral and mental poison
being distributed by orthodox institutions. The rot of disbelief
in any role of honesty spreads with the ordinary man coming
to the conclusion that the whole economic and political game
is rigged. It is not surprising that growing numbers have
become cynical about politicians and democratic institutions.
While there is no hope of salvation until there are major changes in how the financial system is operated, it must be accepted that the rot in society is, generally speaking, deepest at the top of society. Looking to today's financial and economic leaders for a lead away from the current madness is unrealistic. Restoration of honesty in public life, once a feature of the British system at its best, must start with the election of political representatives who do believe in some absolutes, and who are willing to accept the old principle that politicians are elected to serve, not to aid an army of immoral planners.
Australian electors are fast reaching the position where they have no faith in any of the existing political parties, and will respond to that type of leadership referred to in the famous advice, "He who would be the greatest among ye must be the servant of them all". And it must be loudly stated time and time again that the true purpose of an economic system is to serve the individual and to provide him with what he wants. A top priority must be an honest finance economic set of rules.
THE LIBERALS AND THE LEAGUE
by David Thompson
At their Conference the Young Liberals expressed considerable support for homosexual "families", called for an end to wood chipping in old growth forests, and overwhelmingly rejected a motion to retain the monarchy. The outgoing Federal Young Liberals President, Mr. Ross McClymont, summed up the general consensus: "Australia will become a republic and I think a Liberal Government will do it - we're the only people you can trust to do it properly... "
From the reports emerging from the Adelaide Conference, it becomes clear that the philosophical differences between the Liberals and the A.L.P. are so narrow as to be irrelevant. If the Young Liberals know anything about the values upon which their Party was founded, then they have specifically rejected such values.
THE LEAGUE CONDEMNED
In light of their very fluid approach
to basic values, it was almost comical to read reports that
Young Liberal leaders were calling for a ban on members of
the League of Rights, the National Front, and National Action
from joining the Party. The new self-proclaimed "expert" on
the League, Mr. David Greason, in an attempt to demonstrate
his political acumen, wrote a letter to a newspaper making
the following point:
It is almost an insult to the League to suggest that the League was interested in being associated with a Party that had abandoned its own basic values, and now shows signs, through the Young Liberals, of campaigning against those basic values. There would be very few Liberal politicians with whom the League would wish to be associated, except on specific issues where individual politicians have provided genuine leadership - usually in spite of the Liberal Party rather than because of it.
The Liberals do not need to ban the League of Rights; their greatest problem is to hold any genuinely conservative members that they still have within the Party. The genuine conservatives are leaving the Liberals in droves, sickened by lip service to conservative values, but craven failure to stand up for such values. The fact that Mr. Downer was embarrassed by being associated with the League last year simply demonstrates that while the League holds to its basic objectives, the Liberal Party has abandoned theirs.
CREDIT FOR DEVELOPING AUSTRALIA'S NORTH
C.H. Douglas, the author of Social Credit, once predicted that the sheer pressure of events would eventually foresee a re-examination of financial policy. His own financial proposals, feared by international banking interests, have been ridiculed for more than half a century, but the force of events is gradually demanding the re-examination that he predicted.
The Australian debt burden, and chronic "balance of payments' problems under orthodox financial rules are foremost among the "events" that demand better policies. However, other issues, superficially unrelated to finance, are also providing their own pressures. The question of immigration policy and a population policy for Australia, again highlighted by another armada of boats bearing illegal immigrants from South East Asia, is relevant.
If it is true that the best migrants are the children of existing Australians, then what is the optimum population for Australia? Any intelligent answer must begin with a realistic assessment of resources available to support the population. With some N.S.W. towns in danger of running out of drinking water during the present drought, water is obviously a key resource. The provision of the necessary infrastructure for an expanding population raises the question of finance. Must the debt be further increased for this purpose?
MR. SANTAMARIA'S ANSWER
In his column in The Weekend Australian (January 7th-8th, 1995) the Catholic commentator Mr. B.A. Santamaria has courageously proposed an unorthodox financial answer to the problem of finance for construction of public works essential for development of Australia's north. Mr. Santamaria begins by posing the question of Australia's response to demands from Asian nations like China that we permit large-scale migration to Australia's "empty north". Since we do not have the military ability to prevent this, perhaps clear evidence that we are seriously prepared to people northern Australia ourselves is required.
As Mr. Santamaria writes, "A critical question is how to pay for it. The answer lies in the provision of interest free loans to construction authorities to finance the necessary infrastructure..." He then refers to evidence that such a policy is responsible and could be successful. First he refers to the construction of the Commonwealth railway line across Australia from 1912 to 1917 with the use of interest free credit from the Commonwealth Bank. He also refers to Sir Dennison Miller's provision of credits upon which Australia financed the First World War effort through the same bank. And finally he quotes from the 1937 Royal Commission on Banking, that under certain conditions, the central bank could "lend to the Government" or "to others in a variety of ways", and that it can even "make money available to government or to others free of any charge".
Mr. Santamaria concludes his column: "The international financial system would obviously be opposed to such a policy. But you cannot develop the north by paying 10 percent on borrowed money. And if you do not develop the north, you will ultimately lose the country." Mr. Santamaria should be congratulated for the courage to offer such a visionary proposal. His comments should be referred to others of genuine intellectual integrity.
HOW A REPUBLIC VOTE WOULD WORK
from The Australian, December
Australians are very ignorant about the political circumstances of Canada and New Zealand with which we should compare ourselves. "The new electoral system for New Zealand (known as M.M.P.) will change the politics of that nation to such an extent that we may call it a new constitution for a country, which, unlike Australia and Canada, has no written constitution. (Australia and Canada are federations, which is why they have written federal constitutions. New Zealand is a unitary state.)
"If, at a New Zealand referendum in 1993 there can be 1,033,000 votes cast for a new constitution and only 885,000 to preserve the old, is there any reason why Australia should not have a new, republican, constitution in 2001? "Unfortunately for Australian republicans there is a reason and here I must take issue with Mike Steketee who wrote that 'the more people come to know about the Constitution and the system of government, the less scared they are likely to be of change'. "Wrong. The more people come to know about the Constitution and the system of government, the less they will want to change our present, excellent, Constitution and political system.
"It is in this respect that readers may be interested to know of my experiences in New Zealand. I campaigned against M.M.P. and told anyone who would listen that the more it was understood the more people would vote against it. I offered to explain it to electors, to which the general response would be: 'I do not want to understand it. I know that all of Jim Bolger, Ruth Richardson, Helen Clark and most politicians are against it. I will, therefore, vote for it. Please do not explain it to me. I want to kick the politicians.'
"It might have been possible to imagine the Australian people voting for a new, republican, constitution - if, for example, there were a general anti-politician mood and the proposed republic provided for a president directly elected by the people, as in Ireland. But the republican leaders do not want that. Instead they badger the Liberals to 'join the debate'. They seem to think that if enough politicians ask people to vote 'Yes' that will do the trick.
"The trouble is that Australian commentators have never seriously tried to imagine what a republic referendum would be like. So let me tell them. In principle it would be like the New Zealand election-referendum of November 1993. For the election of the conventional party system applied - National, Labour, Alliance, New Zealand First, Christian heritage etc. However, the parties contesting the election largely kept out of the referendum debate even though the two events were held on the same day.
"For the referendum there were two 'political
parties', the Electoral Reform Coalition with 10,000 supporters
urging 'Yes' and the Campaign for Better Government with 4000
supporters asking for the old order to be retained. The former
won. "In any Australian republic referendum the two 'political
parties' would be the Australian Republican Movement for 'yes'
and Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy for 'No'. The
former presently have 4000 supporters, the latter 10,000.
In any referendum those numbers would swell greatly, to, say,
20,000 for A.R.M. and 50,000 for A.C.M. Can anyone doubt who
REFERENDUM IS NEEDEDfrom Herald-Sun (Melbourne), January 14th
"Your New Year's Day story accusing Mr. Keating of creating a republic by stealth was timely as well as frightening. "If this is correct, Mr. Keating has certainly taken 'the bull by the horns' without consultation - just like all history's dictators.
"I have a solution to Mr. Keating's obsession: Paul, do yourself a favour and hold a referendum on this matter as soon as possible. You will get a resounding 'No' and then you will be able to get on and do what we pay you to do - run the country, get the economy back in order and get people off the dole."
(B.C. Ruxton, State President, Returned & Services League of Australia)
"On Target" is published by the Australian League of Rights, Box 1052. G.P.O. Melbourne 3001.