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11 November 1977. Thought for the Week: "No people do so much harm, as those who go about doing good."
The Rt. Rev. Mandell Creighton (1843 - 1901), former Bishop of Peterborough and also London.
THE MESSAGE FROM GREENSBOROUGH
The Greensborough State Electorate is in the heart of the Federal Electorate of Diamond Valley, regarded by pollsters as one of the "litmus" Federal Electorates. Federal Member Neil Brown, Liberal, was in the news some months back as a vocal critic of the Fraser Government's finance economic policies. Mr. Brown was calling for lower taxes. But that was before redistribution changed the boundaries of Diamond Valley, making the electorate much safer for Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown became smug and no further criticism was offered. In fact Mr. Brown is on record as favouring the closing of the Rhodesian Information Centre. No doubt he hopes to curry favour with Mr. Fraser by supporting him on an issue, which has produced a deep division in the Government's ranks.
Some of Mr. Brown's smugness may have now evaporated as a result of last Saturday's Greensborough by-election. Although senior Liberal Party officials have, according to The Australian, rejected the claim that the by-election claims that the vote showed a swing against the Fraser Government, arguing that the outcome had been affected by local and not national issues, there was a general feeling that electors were expressing an opinion on the Fraser Government as well as the State Hamer Government.
The main thrust of the Australian Democrats' propaganda was to suggest that the new party offered an alternative to either Mr. Fraser or Mr. Whitlam. Mr. Don Chipp saw the Greensborough by-election as a major test for the coming Federal elections. The dramatic 17% plus primary vote for the Australia Party was a message, which Mr. Fraser cannot ignore.
The basic facts are clear: The Democrats picked
up most of the 19% swing against the Liberals. But more disturbing than
this for the Liberals was over 50% of the Democrats' preferences went
to Labor, giving them victory. The 17% vote for the Democrats must have
a psychological impact, encouraging a much greater volume of support
from those who have adopted a "wait-and-see" attitude. However, we would
be astonished if the Democrats can, at the national level, sustain the
17% of the primary vote obtained in Greensborough.
Prime Minister Fraser's reaction to the Greensborough result was, when asked if he would change his policies, to retort, "Why should I? There was no reason for the Government to change its policies."
Premier Hamer said that the result was a "warning"
to the Fraser Government. Mr. Hamer says that unemployment and inflation
were the major issues in the Greensborough poll. Commenting on the Australian
Democrats' impressive vote in Greensborough, Mr. Donald Chipp has made
it clear that his party will also be stressing the inflation and unemployment
issues at the Federal Elections. This must help to further the ALP campaign
and, although the Australian Democratic Party is not directing preferences
its campaign must tend to encourage a majority of second preferences
Mr. Chipp has increased his party's threat with the proposal that the national deficit be temporarily increased between $700 and $900 million for the purpose of reducing payroll and business taxes and for stimulating the building industry. Former Liberal Member, W.C. Wentworth has made a similar proposal. There is no doubt that the injection of the amount of money suggested by Mr. Chipp would stimulate economic activity, but the end result would be still more high inflation.
If the proposed $700 - $900 million were created as a credit, instead of as an interest bearing debt, and applied to reducing not only payroll tax, but Sales Tax, this would be a constructive anti- inflationary policy while increasing consumer demand. This is the type of policy the Fraser Government should be coming forward with in the present crisis. It would not only ensure that the Government survived safely, but that Australia moved off the disaster course on which it is now travelling.
Unfortunately Mr. Fraser appears to be determined to continue down the disaster course, ignoring the message from Greensborough. Some urgent action by electors is essential over the coming weeks to make it clear to all political candidates that firm written commitments are required in exchange for votes.
We are well aware that even some of our readers do not always appreciate our objective non-party approach to the great issues of the day. When we were analysing the failures of the Gorton and McMahon Governments, we were accused of contributing to the defeat of the Coalition. At the famous Dalby, Queensland debate, 700 people heard National-Country Party Chairman, R. Sparkes appealing to Mr. Eric Butler from the floor not to destroy the Coalition. Mr. Butler observed that the Coalition was destroying itself, and that the League of Rights had been making constructive suggestions about how it could halt this destructive process.
Some are suggesting that at the present time we should "go easy" on the Fraser Government as this could help Whitlam return. But, as Mr. Eric Butler said on ABC television programme "This Day Tonight", last Friday, the Fraser Government is the most disastrous Government in Australian history because it has betrayed the high hopes and the trust of those who gave it a record majority in revulsion against the treacherous policies of the Whitlam Government.
If the Fraser Government will not repent, even when warned as it was in Greensborough last weekend, then it will only have itself to blame if it is defeated.
RHODESIA AN ELECTION ISSUE?
Well-known columnist Mr. Douglas Wilkie suggested in The Sun, Melbourne, of Friday, November 4th, that Mr. Gough Whitlam might attempt to embarrass the Coalition by raising the Rhodesian issue during the elections. It is no secret that Mr. Fraser and Mr. Peacock have been badly shaken by the massive opposition to their attempt to close the Rhodesian Information Centre at the dictates of the United Nations. That opposition is still growing, not diminishing.
When Foreign Minister Peacock made his statement in the Parliament explaining that the proposed legislation concerning the Information Centre had been deferred, he insisted that the final bill would protect the rights of Australians to put forward pro-Rhodesian views, contrary to those of the Government. It is thought provoking and disturbing that Mr. Peacock inferred that the legislation he sent back for redrafting did not guarantee the Australian people freedom of expression. It would be instructive to know who was responsible for drafting legislation, which would not only silence the Rhodesian Information Centre, but also pro-Rhodesian Australians.
The attempt to stamp on the little Rhodesian Information Centres around the world is that of the arrogant bully. It is a blot on Australia's national honour that two Prime Ministers, Labor's Whitlam, and the Liberals' Fraser, should have both sought to silence the voice of Rhodesia and to deny Australians the right to know.
American Negro, ordained Minister and freelance journalist, Ralph Moss told Australians that race relations in Rhodesia were the best in the world. Large numbers of Australians have since the end of the Second World War made Rhodesia their home. Presumably because Mr. Whitlam and Mr. Fraser have dubbed these people "racist", they are not deemed worthy to have any type of an official voice in the land of their birth. Yes, by all means let Rhodesia be a major election issue. In this way electors can ascertain which candidates believe in national independence and freedom of speech and the right to know.
Mr. Andrew Fowler, reporting on the Griffith (NSW) drug inquiry in The Weekend Australian, November 5 - 6, writes that '"The town's Italian people... are divided among themselves. Those from northern Italy point out eagerly to the Italian born farmers accused of growing marijuana come from the south. One said: 'they have nothing to do with us. We are disgusted at the humiliation they have brought to our town.' Surely this is a manifestation of "racism" requiring the urgent attention of Mr. Al Grassby! But having lost the Labor pre-selection for the safe Labor electorate of Paramatta, N.S.W., (the locals made it clear they wanted nothing to do with Mr. Grassby) the Commissioner for Race Relations announced that he was taking a long trip abroad.
Prime Minister Fraser addressed a Melbourne Stock Exchange Dinner last Friday, November 4th. He predicted that Australia's annual inflation rate would be running at 6% and 8% by the middle of next year. The economy's "recovery" would strengthen during this financial year and "the emergence of the new economy's new strength will be apparent as we move into 1978", Mr. Fraser said. If the inflation rate is reduced to 6% under present financial policies, Australia will be in an even more depressed state than it is now.
A Republican Member of Congress, has asked President Carter to refuse to permit the General Electric Company to sell the Soviet Union the most powerful jet engine in the U.S.A. The engine could be used for military aircraft carrying tanks, missiles and men. And it would save the Soviet years in attempting to develop a similar engine. Yet another example of how the West assists the Soviet Union. The Soviet bloc nations now owe the West $40 billion.
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