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December 5 1975. Thought for the Week: "The whole objective of civilisation is that a man shall be able to choose or refuse one thing at a time. Until he can do that, he is a determinist, and ought to resign himself to the idea that he cannot have atomic energy to free him from 'full-employment' without having atomic bombs to render his further employment unnecessary.
"There are dozens of instances in which the fundamental principles which ought to limit organisation have been embodied, such as the cricket or golf club. In every case, their essential character depends on the freedom to contract out. The Trade Unions, which began by being a tyranny on the craftsman, has now become a tyranny on the general population, because they have made it nearly impossible to contract-out of their monopoly, Labour".
C. H. Douglas, 1946.
THE FRASER-ANTHONY SURRENDER
By Eric D. Butler
The Western world is progressively disintegrating under the impact of the same monetary inflation, which was the basic cause of the collapse of the Roman Civilisation. If it were not for the widespread resentment against the Whitlam Government, Mr. Malcolm Fraser's gloomy report", as he described his own policy speech, and Mr. Anthony's warning that unemployment would probably reach 8 per cent, would be sufficient to guarantee the Coalition's defeat.
Responsible, thinking electors were hoping that Mr. Fraser and Mr. Anthony would spell out clearly in their policy speeches what concrete policies they were going to adopt concerning the high interest rates, mounting debt, taxation and rates which they have criticised. One would have thought that in view of the Liberal Party's press advertisements, showing the astronomic increase in postal and telephone charges, there would at least have been a firm promise to reduce these, at least for Christmas. But only DLP leader, Mr. Frank McManus, has advocated such a policy, along with lower interest rates and the complete abolition of death duties.
A close study of Mr. Fraser's policy speech and the supplementary statement does not reveal one single constructive suggestion for lowering financial costs and easing inflation. Promised tax indexation simply means that it is accepted that inflation will continue, and that the unfortunate taxpayer will not be taxed quite as heavily.
Canadians will be astonished to learn that tax-indexation is a great success in their country. Treasurer Phillip Lynch says so, and Mr. Fraser has repeated the claim. Mr. Fraser has apparently not heard that Canada is still suffering a record mail strike, that Prime Minister Trudeau is resorting to more rigid controls in a desperate effort to reverse inflation, and that this has produced open confrontation with the Unions.
It is easy to demonstrate that the Whitlam Government has been the most treacherous Government in Australian history. It consciously set out to betray the nation's true heritage. A long list of its many scandals could be prepared. No organisation has more effectively exposed and opposed the Whitlam treachery than the Australian League of Rights. But the League's responsibility is to fundamental principles rooted in eternal truths, not to power-seeking political parties and politicians. It is one thing to agree that the Whitlam Government should be defeated, but it is another to claim that it must be defeated "at all costs", that a Fraser-Anthony Government must be elected as a "first priority", after which it can then be "influenced" to reverse disastrous inflationary policies.
In essence it is suggested that because the Whitlam Labor Party constitutes such a deadly threat to Australia's future as a free society, the Fraser-Anthony Government should be given a blank cheque. This is surrender to a type of blackmail. The League has even been admonished by some well-meaning people for having drawn attention to the past sins of the Coalition, the failures of the same men who now run the Coalition. The inference is that a frank reference to the truth must in some way help Mr. Whitlam.
Parties genuinely concerned with removing the
major threat to freedom, progressive inflation, should not object to
an honest appraisal of past mistakes with a view to correcting them.
Some genuine repentance would be a sign of real health. It is true that
a few Liberal candidates have claimed privately that they learned a
lot while in Opposition, and are changed, while others have said that
they are sympathetic to the "Petersen Plan." Mr., Fraser is on record
as saying that he felt the "Petersen Plan" had considerable merit. But
there is not the slightest evidence of this in Mr. Fraser's policy speech.
It can be predicted with absolute certainty now that unless the Fraser-Anthony Government takes immediate steps to reduce taxation and inflation, the "long-term" planning being publicised will not become reality. It is the duty of all responsible and informed electors to seek in every possible way to get some type of commitment from all professing anti-Socialist candidates on the "Petersen Plan" and other basic issues.
A strong anti-Whitlam vote would be encouraging in the sense that it would indicate that the instincts of the Australian people are still sound. Perhaps the most telling argument in favour of electing a Liberal-National Country Party Coalition is that it would demonstrate beyond all argument that unless it changed present financial policies it would have no alternative but to continue moving down the Socialist road. Unless Mr. Fraser can free himself from Keynesian-Socialist financial policies, he is doomed to preside over increasing disaster. Assuming, of course, that he does win on December 13th as a result of sufficient electors voting against Whitlam Labor.
A CONSTRUCTIVE POLICY IGNORED BY MR. FRASER
Writing in "The Sunday Mail". Brisbane, of November 23rd, consulting economist H. W. Herbert made an appeal to Mr. Fraser to stop talking about taking two or three years "to get the economy out of its slump" and to adopt a policy which would stimulate the economy immediately while reversing inflation at the same time.
As Mr. Herbert observed concerning the Whitlam record, Mr. Fraser does not have much to beat. But, he then observed, "Where then, Malcolm, are your convincing policies to cure inflation and unemployment? You will have to convince both the public and the Senate that you know your economics.
Mr. Herbert suggested that a start be made to reverse inflation by lowering prices by reducing indirect taxation."Why not promise to reverse all of the silly rises in sales tax, excise, postal and telephone charges imposed in the Hayden Budget? If you did this before Christmas, the March quarter rise in prices would be nil. Instead, you are promising indexation of personal and company taxes - expanding the crazy indexation spiral, which gives everyone more and more money to buy dearer, and dearer goods and services. People would be better satisfied with steady incomes and steady prices. Business would be able to cost accurately, instead of guessing, and being frightened to index".
A reduction in Sales Tax is the second point
of the "Petersen Plan". Mr. Herbert estimates that cutting Sales Tax,
postal and telephone charges, would require $1,250 million.
Informed readers will appreciate the limited aspects of the proposals advanced by Mr. Herbert. But they are a constructive approach to the immediate problems confronting Australians. If adopted, they could lead on to a much more fundamental approach including the use of consumer prices discounts as a means of increasing purchasing power without more price rises.
We suggest that all readers bring the Herbert proposals to the attention of their Liberal, National Country Party, and other non-Socialist candidates, asking why are they not pressing for the adoption of this type of programme. Also send to all State non-Socialist Members asking them to use their influence with their Federal counter-parts. It is still not too late for Mr., Fraser to make a supplementary policy statement before the elections. Or to introduce a Supplementary Budget early in 1976.
SENATOR FIELD'S POLICY - AND WARNING
Announcing that he is campaigning to retain his position as an Independent Senator, Senator Field of Queensland announces that he believes that the consumer subsidy is the only method of reversing inflation. In a policy statement he expresses his fear that "Widespread violence is a real fear if inflation is allowed to continue."
Senator Field joined the Labor Party in Mt. Isa in 1937 and remained a member until he expelled himself this year by permitting himself to be elected by the Queensland Parliament to fill a Senate vacancy. He is still President of the Queensland Branch of The Federated Furnishing Trade Union. Obviously speaking against his considerable first-hand experience of industrial affairs, Senator Field warns that inflation is "the root cause of industrial strikes", and if abolished, will remove from the Communists their excuse for inciting strikes.
"I believe", states Senator Field, "that inflation can be ended and prevented by the immediate use of the consumer subsidy methods used by Labor Prime Minister John Curtin in 1943 to 1945, and proposed by the Queensland Premier Mr. J. Bjelke-Petersen to the Premiers' Conference in June, 1974, which has been called 'The Petersen Plan'. I prefer to call it 'The Curtin-Petersen Plan'.
Senator Field believes that the survival of Parliamentary Democracy will not be decided by whether Mr. Fraser or Mr. Whitlam is elected: "It will depend upon the ending of inflation." Senator Field is correct and we trust that Queenslanders carefully heed his warning. He is making a special appeal to old-time Labor supporters, charging, "The old Labor Party has been killed". A respectable vote for Senator Field on December 13th would be a message, which would register amongst all the political parties.
Australia Post is spending thousands of dollars on full-page advertisements to inform Australians that by paying a little extra on top of the present astronomical charges, their city or suburban mail will get priority. In fact there is a money back guarantee that the mail will be delivered the next day. We recall how in the days before "progress" and "efficiency", it was taken for normal that mail would be delivered in the suburbs the next day. City mail posted in the morning was delivered the same day.
Why is Mr. Rupert Murdoch using his daily, "The Australian", to campaign so strongly in favour of Mr. Malcolm Fraser? It will be recalled that Mr. Murdoch played a major role in having Mr. Whitlam elected in 1972. Mr. Murdoch's international connections are well known. The over-riding policy of "The Australian" is support for international liberalism.
Developments in East Timor make nonsense of the Whitlam Government's claim that Australia can enjoy 15 years of peace. The Communists have backed the Fretlin attempt to take over East Timor. Further to the North, the Communists are consolidating in South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. There is increasing Communist backed guerrilla activity in Northeast Thailand and Malaysia. Australia needs a much stronger defence policy than that enunciated by the Coalition Government.
All election comment authorised by Eric D. Butler, 273 Little Collins Street, MELBOURNE.
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