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November 7 1975. Thought for the Week: "...we of the Western world are the inheritors of a magnificent culture which we ourselves did not produce, but which was largely handed down to us from previous inventors, engineers, organisers and so on. We are merely the administrators of that cultural inheritance, and to that extent that cultural inheritance is the property of all of us, without exception.
C.H. Douglas in "The Monopolistic Idea" (1943)
MR. MALCOLM FRASER TAKES ONE STEP BACKWARDS
by Eric D. Butler
Before deciding to attempt to force Prime Minister Whitlam to an early election, Mr. Fraser and his colleagues would have done well to have carefully considered how the great British military genius Wellington defeated Napoleon. Wellington consistently refused to fight on Napoleon's ground. At the decisive battle of Waterloo Wellington carefully chose the ground on which he felt he could break Napoleon's forces. Wellington also concentrated upon defence in depth.
The Fraser strategy has indicated no evidence of a carefully prepared offensive. It has in fact enabled Whitlam to select the ground on which he felt he could best fight. And he has been aided by a propaganda campaign, which even Hitler's Dr. Goebbels would have envied. Did Liberal and National Country Party strategists consider the strong pro-Whitlam support in the media before launching their attack? Why did they believe that Whitlam would immediately capitulate when the Senate deferred Supply? Did anyone examine how the Whitlam Government might continue to finance itself if the Budget continued to be deferred? And, most important, was any thought given to the possibility that, so far from fearing an early election, Mr. Whitlam and his advisers welcomed the prospect of an immediate national crisis which would enable them to fight an election in conditions far more favourable than those likely by the time of the Senate Election in May or June of next year?
Most public opinion polls are suspect, but there is little doubt that a large percentage of the Australian electors dislike in general the principle of Upper Houses, and objects to the Senate denying a Government funds to continue in office. A Melbourne Age poll published last Tuesday, November 4th, claims that, when the poll was taken ten days previously, 49.7 per cent of electors said that the Senate should not have the power to refuse Supply, with 41.6 per cent agreeing that the Senate should have this power. The Whitlam propaganda machine is attempting to capitalise on the widespread ignorance concerning the true role of Upper Houses in curbing the power of all Governments in order to protect the individual.
Ignorance concerning the importance of the Senate and the Federal Constitution is a measure of the failure of the Liberal and National Country parties to provide an in-depth educational programme. The Opposition parties should have made some effort to prepare electors in advance of the true role of the Senate. It is hard to be patient with blinkered Liberal and National Country Party supporters who complain about Marxist and other subversive influences in the educational system while ignoring the fact that Liberal and National Country Party Governments have been responsible for education in a majority of States for many years.
Through its specialist Division, The Australian Heritage Society, the League of Rights has been the only organisation to conduct a nation-wide educational programme on the nation's constitutional heritage.
Mr. Whitlam has, predictably rejected Mr. Fraser's compromise proposal, charging that Mr. Fraser is continuing to engage in "blackmail." The Prime Minister is determined to hold the advantage he has so far gained, and will hammer the claim that the Senate has no right to force the Government to face the electors.
As this claim is central to the Whitlam strategy, the Opposition must make every effort to destroy the basis of this claim. In claiming that his Government can continue to finance public servants if the Budget is not passed, Mr. Whitlam says, "My Government would not contemplate any raising, authorisation or expenditure of money which was not within the existing Australian constitutional and legal framework". Mr. Whitlam should be constantly reminded that he has sought to violate the Federal Constitution ever since he came to office.
The Executive Council meeting of December 13 last year was a blatant attempt to bypass the States operating through the Loans Council. The Prime Minister presided over that notorious meeting, at which ex-Senator Murphy, now Mr. Justice Murphy of the High Court, expressed the opinion that if the proposed huge loan raising was described as "temporary" the States could be ignored. The Governor General was not present, but later signed the minutes. One hopes that Sir John Kerr will be much more cautious concerning Mr. Whitlam's future financial policies.
Irrespective of the next developments in the national crisis, it is imperative that as many electors as possible be informed that the Crown is a central feature of their constitutional heritage. Electors have as much right to approach the representative of the Crown, as they have to approach their elected Members of Parliament. The executive power of the Commonwealth is vested in the office of the Governor-General, not of that of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, who are not even mentioned in the Constitution.
What can Sir John Kerr do? In a 1972 address,
Sir John's predecessor, Sir Paul Hasluck, made the comment that "in
abnormal times", or if there is an attempted violation of the Constitution,
"it would be the Governor-General who could present the crisis to Parliament
and, if necessary, to the nation for determination....In the ultimate
he can check the elected representatives in any extreme attempt by them
to disregard the rules of law....and he could do this by forcing a crisis."
After referring to the general view that a Governor-General acts only on the advice of his Ministers, and that "the High Court is the ultimate guardian of the Constitution and the rule of law", Sir John then said, "Nevertheless the question remains whether there are any circumstances in which either on a legal or other issues the Governor-General may or should precipitate a crisis for parliament or the electorate."
As the national crisis deepens, the one constructive step electors can take is to Petition the Governor-General to resolve the crisis by permitting the electors to have a say at a general election. But how the crisis develops depends upon the strategy and tactics of the Opposition. If Mr. Whitlam demonstrates that he can - and I suspect he can - continue to finance basic Government activities after Supply has run out at the end of the month, then Mr. Fraser may have to pass the Budget and prepare for a much more realistic strategy than the one which has failed.
One thing is certain; even if passed, the Whitlam-Hayden Budget strategy will fail disastrously. Which leaves Mr. Fraser with the problem of telling the electors how he is going to constructively reverse inflation and lower taxation. If Mr. Fraser comes to office as a result of, or following the present national crisis, and fails to reverse inflation, the national backlash will be extremely violent. Australia now faces its greatest challenge to freedom.
NATIONAL PETITION CAMPAIGN ROLLINGWe are enclosing two copies of an action brochure, which we urge every reader to make use of IMMEDIATELY. Cut the Petition off get it filled with signatures and then post with a short covering letter to the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, Government House Canberra. The information on pages one and two of the brochure should be circulated as widely as possible. Further supplies of the brochure available upon request. No charge, but sufficient should be sent to cover at least the postage. Heritage advertisements have now been inserted in the press throughout Australia. Initial response has been most encouraging. The League's National Director, Mr. Eric Butler was invited to appear on Melbourne T.V. this week, to explain the purpose of the Petition Campaign. Actionists can prepare their own Petition sheets if they so desire, making certain that each individual sheet is properly addressed to the Governor-General. Reports on all progress should be sent to League National headquarters: P.O. Box 1052J. Melbourne 3001.
SIR PAUL HASLUCK ON PRICE DISCOUNTS
The fact that all political parties are bereft
of any policy to halt inflation is now leading to a situation in which
proven alternatives can no longer be ignored. No type of rigid control
- whether in the form of wage controls, price controls or indexation
- can successfully stave off a further explosion of price rises in the
next quarter as the dammed-up reservoir of costs explodes into the economy.
Let the facts of the Budget speak for themselves:
This is the Budget which the Australian Prime Minister insists must be allowed to work - even if the Constitution must be set-aside in the process.
It can be stated emphatically that, if it is given a chance to work, the Australian economy will be stopped from working altogether. It is on the edge of collapse now. The Whitlam Government is pinning its hopes on indexation - which is only an attempt to pin wage rises to price rises. But if complete wage controls do not halt price rises - as has been shown before in Australia, and more recently in England - indexation is doomed before it starts.
The former Australian Governor General, Sir Paul Hasluck, in his recently-published historical work "The Government and the People" explained on page 223 what happened during the 2nd World War: ...Retail prices, which had been kept down below a 10% increase in the first two years of the war, shot up in the next eighteen months to 25% above pre-war level, until in April 1943 an upper limit was fixed, followed necessarily in July by the introduction of subsidies in order that this price ceiling might be maintained". (Emphasis added).
Overseas evidence corroborates Australia's wartime success in halting inflation. The National Times (October 13-18) in a full-page article on the situation in Cairo, contains the following observation: "There is none of the desperation and despair of Asian cities half as crowded. Nobody goes hungry for one thing. Prices of basic commodities have risen by 50% since the October 1973, war, but heavy subsidies of $1,200 million this year allow everyone to buy cooking oil, kerosene, soap, sugar, tea, flour, matches and cotton cloth on ration cards for a pittance. Cairo may be the last place on earth where you can get a nourishing and filling meal for 16 cents. It includes full or cooked broad beans, tacami or baked balls of breadcrumbs, a salad and two slabs of Arab bread".
Speaking in the Federal Parliament on October 29th, Mr. W.C. Wentworth, Liberal, N.S.A. charged that the former Attorney General, Mr. Justice Murphy took improper financial favours from Miss Junie Morosi. Free airline tickets worth thousands of dollars had been provided for the then Senator Murphy and his wife. In exchange the then Attorney General had appointed Miss Morosi as a marriage celebrant and her husband as a member of the Commonwealth Films Appeal Board.
These and other charges should be thoroughly investigated by a new Federal Government.
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