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25 May 1974. Thought for the Week: "The great instrument of all these changes and what infuses a peculiar venom into all of them, is Party. It is of no consequence what the principles of any party, or what their pretensions are; the spirit, which actuates all parties, is the same, the spirit of ambition, of self-interest, of oppression and treachery. This spirit entirely reverses all the principles that a benevolent nature has erected within us; all honesty; all equal justice, and even the ties of natural society, the natural affections. In a word we have all seen - we have some of us felt such oppression from the Party Government as no other tyranny can parallel.
Edmund Burke in Vindication of Natural Society.
ELECTIONS HIGHLIGHT AUSTRALIA'S MOUNTING CRISIS
As we go to press it is almost certain that the Whitlam Government will be returned to office, although probably with a smaller majority than it held in the last Parliament. The size of the majority together with the final result in the Senate will determine whether the Whitlam Government commands the necessary joint House of Representatives and Senate majority to enable it to impose immediately its major legislation.
If they have the numbers, the Whitlam forces
will be ruthless in imposing their legislation as fast as possible.
Their strategy will be to drive Australia down the centralist road so
far that a subsequent Government will, unless pressured by an informed
and determined electorate, be content to take over the centralised power
and consolidate it for their own purposes.
High on the Whitlam Government's list of far-reaching strategic policies, is a change of electoral boundaries designed to ensure that it stays in office indefinitely on the Big City vote. But even this vote must explode against the Whitlam Government while present finance-economic policies are continued. Those who cannot now hear the revolutionary time-bomb ticking away under the Australian economic, social and political structures must either be deaf to realities, or deluded by the sound of false propaganda.
Mr. Snedden opened his campaign by insisting that inflation was the major issue of the election contest. But Mr. Snedden and his advisers had done no real preparatory groundwork before they made the drastic decision to use their Senate majority against the Whitlam Government. Well aware of this fact, Mr. Whitlam lost no time in declaring for a double dissolution. It is reasonable to assume that he was also well aware that the price index figures for the March quarter would show a temporary slowing of an inflation rate of nearly 14 per cent per annum. In fact late in the campaign the Labor Party was boldly announcing that the Whitlam Government had reduced inflation by "one third." It went further, stating, "Labor pledges to reduce this further." That "pledge" will be exposed for what it is - a typical cynical pre-election political falsehood - over the coming months.
We repeat what we have predicted over many months; that unless present Keynesian finance-economic policies are reversed inflation in Australia will reach at least 18 per cent, and probably over 20 per cent by the end of this year.
The nearest Mr. Snedden got to putting forward any positive policy for reversing inflation was when he attacked high interest rates. Any chance he had of winning started to erode when no doubt under tremendous pressure, he had to reverse himself. The proposal for a price-wage freeze, if "voluntary restraint" failed, was pathetic. It has been tried in other countries without any effect whatever on rising inflation.
Country Party leader helped to destroy the credibility of Mr. Snedden by publicly observing that a freeze of food prices would not work. But then a massive body blow was delivered when Mr. Robert Hawke publicised a past statement by Sir Robert Menzies in which the former Prime Minister has stressed that the Commonwealth lacked the constitutional power to freeze wages. This was, of course, snide party political campaigning. But Mr. Snedden had left himself wide open on the inflation issue.
Electors' memories are notoriously short, but Labor Party propaganda skilfully reminded electors during the latter part of the campaign that Mr. Snedden as Treasurer in the McMahon Government had increased income tax, postal and telephone charges, and had increased the tax on cigarettes and petrol. It was futile for the Liberal and Country Party to talk about how they had dealt with inflation. While the dollar they took over in 1949 was progressively being eroded, until it was only worth 32 cents before they were defeated at the 1972 Federal Elections, the Liberal-Country Party Coalition kept claiming that inflation in Australia was not as bad as in many other countries. Now the Labor Party is saying exactly the same thing!
If Mr. Snedden had boldly stated that he and his colleagues had given the inflation question much constructive thought while in Opposition, that they felt that the situation was so critical that a new approach had to be made, and that they were proposing, for a start, to abolish the Sales Tax completely, and to use a comparatively small amount of new credit to reduce basic items in the economy, including food, then the Labor Party would have been forced on to the defensive. Mr. Snedden could have reminded Mr. Whitlam that it was a Labor Government - although a different type of Labor Government to his - which, with the support of the then Mr. Robert Menzies and Mr. Arthur Fadden, introduced the comparatively crude but effective consumer subsidy system which played such a major role in stabilising prices in Australia during and after the Second World War. With this type of programme Mr. Snedden could have insisted with every confidence that he would resign at the end of six months if the inflation rate was not falling.
As we have said repeatedly, until such time as the non-Labor Parties are prepared to challenge Keynesian-Socialist finance-economic policies, based upon centralised control of the people's credit, they have no hope whatever of halting the disintegration of society and the imposition of the very Socialism they verbally deplore.
We would not be surprised if the greater convulsions,
which will flow from the Whitlam Government's programme, do not result
in another Federal Election within twelve months. We urge our readers
to make the strongest possible appeal to Liberal and Country Party Members
of Parliament, and their supporters, to face the realities of the developing
finance-economic situation and to make a complete break with all Socialist
The League of Rights strategy of devoting most of its attention and resources to the four referendum proposals was proved correct. Although the proposals were all defeated, the majorities were not over-comfortable. The League's work was especially effective in both Queensland and West Australia. We rate the full-page advertisement produced by Wellington, N.S.W., supporters, and subsequently used by League actionists can take full marks for playing a major role in "holding the line" against the Whitlam assault on the Commonwealth Constitution.
* * *
The voting pattern in Diamond Valley Electorate, Victoria, kept puzzling the ABC commentators on election night. Mr. Malcolm McKerras dogmatically insisted that something must be wrong as the voting threatened the Labor Member, Mr. David McKenzie. He insisted that it was most unlikely that an anti-Labor pattern could be developing in a situation where all other outer-Melbourne metropolitan areas were strongly voting Labor. If the commentators had consulted us, we would have told them about an Electors' Association, which campaigned to have Mr. McKenzie, put last! It distributed a most striking electoral leaflet. It might also be recorded that The Australian Jewish News carried large advertisements from "Jewish voters residing in the Diamond Valley Electorate", appealing for David McKenzie. One of his "qualifications" was that he "Has courageously fought the anti-Semitic League of Rights which is urging a vote for the right wing Liberal candidate." As Mr. McKenzie looks like being the only Labor electoral casualty in Victoria, perhaps opposition to the League of Rights is not a very profitable type of activity in Diamond Valley. Mr. Neil Brown, former Liberal Member, also made it his business to smear the League. This did not help him either.
* * *
The trendies at present dominating the Victorian State Liberal Party did not help Mr. Snedden at all. Consider the critical plight of Mr. Donald Chipp, struggling desperately to survive on DLP preferences. His big electoral slump tends to confirm our view that if he had been opposed by a strong Labor candidate at the 1972 elections, instead of the draft-dodger Barry Johnson, he would have been defeated.
* * *
The ALP candidate apparently felt sufficiently confident of winning the Victorian electorate of McMillan not to bother about replying to the McMillan Electors' Association when sent a list of policy questions. Sitting Country Party Member Mr. Arthur Hewson was allocated top marks by the Electors' Association in their report to the electors. Mr. Hewson established himself as a national figure with his full-blooded maiden speech at Canberra, defending the Australian flag and the Australian Heritage. He is one of the better Opposition Members at Canberra, has sought to be a good representative, and has been rewarded with sufficient electoral support to send him back to Canberra. Mr. Snedden missed out badly by failing to make the National Anthem and heritage a major election question. Even when his big audiences spontaneously sang "God Save the Queen", he failed to get the message that there is a grass-roots sentiment in Australia, transcending party boundaries, which could have been touched by Mr. Snedden if he had given a lead. And, of course, Opposition Members generally shuddered at any suggestion that immigration be made an issue. That was left to those who had the courage to inject it into Mr. Al Grassby's Riverina Electorate, producing the major shock result of the elections.
* * *
Mr. Grassby's behaviour in defeat reveals this little showman for what he really is; a man who cannot accept defeat graciously. No one can say with certainty just how much influence was exerted on the vote by the campaign conducted by the Immigration Control Association, but it certainly drew attention to the fact that Mr. Grassby had made himself the front-runner in breaking down Australia's traditional restricted immigration policy, designed to ensure that Australia remains a homogeneous European nation. We would not have expressed ourselves in the language used by the Immigration Control Association, which inserted some most striking advertisements in the Riverina papers, apart from distributing brochures through letter-boxes, but we associate ourselves full heartedly with the warnings about Australia being turned into a multi-racial nation.
Mr. Grassby had also made himself a special target for rural dissatisfaction with the Whitlam Government. Before the 1972 election he had publicised right throughout the rural areas of Australia, the promise of hundreds of millions of dollars of rural credit at 3 per cent interest. When increasing numbers of electors reminded him about this firm promise, he eventually became exasperated and said that he was "sick and tired" about being reminded of this policy!
Mr. Grassby also identified himself in a most flamboyant manner with the attack on the Australian heritage, arrogantly brushing aside the views of those who insisted that the National Anthem should not be changed without all the electors being consulted. He also campaigned for a new flag. Mr. Grassby's general behaviour probably amused tolerant Australians at first. But eventually it became offensive. "Voting forms" inserted in all the Riverina papers by the Australian Heritage Society, inviting Mr. Grassby's electors to vote on the question of the National Anthem, provided further striking evidence of just how much Mr. Grassby was divorced from the feeling of the majority of his electors. Mr. Grassby would be well advised to cease threatening those who exercised their democratic rights to persuade Riverina electors that they should vote Mr. Grassby out.
While the electors' rebuff has proved a serious affront to Mr. Grassby's over-inflated ego, he can rest assured that Mr. Gough Whitlam, following his policy of "jobs for the boys"(not to mention the girls) will ensure that some well-paid job is found for him!
* * *
One of the classic examples of double-talk during the elections was provided by Dr. Jim Cairns, now tipped to become deputy Prime Minister. In a letter to The Australian of May 10th, Dr. Cairns claimed, "Labor has checked inflation for the first time in Australian history without causing unemployment."
This statement should be pasted up and Dr. Cairns
not allowed to forget it as the inflation rate moves upwards.
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