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4 March 1971. Thought for the Week: "The evidence, based largely on F.D.R.'s own papers, suggests that there is nothing inevitable about the march of Socialism. Socialism is the most inefficient, and certainly most inequitable, way to run a society ever conceived by man. It has come to the United States only because it was very much in the interest of the Wall Street financial establishment to attain a Socialist society."
Dr. Antony Sutton, in the Preface to "Wall Street and F.D.R."
DECEIT AND HYPOCRISY ON REFERENDUM
The fact that eleven Liberal Senators have crossed the floor against the Referendum Bills introduced by the Fraser Government indicates that there are still vestiges of integrity in Parliament. Seven National Country Party Senators are known to be opposed to the Bills - but not opposed enough to cross the floor; their names will go down as having supported the Bills - the actual vote is the only thing that counts, not the excuses or the political blarney.
The reasons given for crossing the floor should be overwhelmingly supported - the Government opposed in 1974 the very Bills they are introducing in 1977 - a case of monumental hypocrisy. The Bills seek to have simultaneous elections for Senate and House of Representatives.
Senator Rae, in his column in The Australian (24/2/77) under the heading "Why I had to cross the Floor", said "....In the 1974 referendum the Liberal-Country Party prepared the "NO" case. That document was circulated to every elector. I quote but two parts from it: 'The Government is being deceitful - the question you will vote on does not explain the real proposed law.' The "NO" case also said 'the Government refuses to tell you the real effect of its proposed law - to juggle with the terms of office of the senators in order to make the Senate a rubberstamp of the House of Representatives."
Senator Rae went on: "If it was 'remarkable for its deceit' in 1974 it is equally deceitful today. If it was a 'Threat to Democracy' in 1974 it is equally a threat today. If it was a proposal to 'make the Senate a rubber stamp' in 1974 it is equally such a proposal today."
Senator Rae, and his Liberal Senate Colleagues who supported him, deserve congratulations and support. Others who crossed the floor were: Senator Sir Magnus Cormack (Vic.) Reg. Wright (Tas), Ivor Wood (Qld.), Peter Sim (W.A.), Shirley Walters (Tas.), Don Jessop (S.A.), Neville Bonner (Qld.), Brian Archer (Tas.) Michael Townley (Tas.) and Senator Kathy Martin (Qld.).
Senator Martin resigned as deputy Government Whip over the issue.
Press reports allege that the seven National Party Senators have decided to vote for the Bills on the grounds that "the people should decide for themselves" - even though they are personally against the Bill. Another referendum proposal is that Senate vacancies should be filled by the same political party. If this goes through, it will do two things; it will include the word "Party" in the Constitution, giving parties rights, which hitherto have belonged directly to the people - a horrible precedent; secondly, it would change the current right of the States to nominate candidates for the "States House" - a further erosion of States' rights.
ECONOMIC 'IDES OF MARCH'
The figures for the December C.P.I. rise have drawn shocked outcries from Opposition members, and soothing placatory disclaimers from Government Ministers, which is the way the pantomime is played. However, although the Opposition members have so far evinced no realistic alternatives to current government policy, they are right in claiming that the December quarter figures are the prelude to a frightening deterioration in the economy.
Armed with the latest figures - and stung by the Government's refusal to trade wage moderation for tax cuts - the Unions now go before the Arbitration Commission to seek a 6% Wage rise to match the 6% C.P.I. rise. In doing so, Union advocates will be seeking to "index" their claims to the rise in costs - along the very lines, which Mr. Fraser and his colleagues advocated prior to the 1975 Federal election. The chickens are coming home to roost. Having advocated indexation in the December '75 election, the Government is now trying to wriggle out of its previous commitment.
The list of leaders in the various sectors of the economy who have followed the lead originally set by Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, is impressive, to say the least. Not only has the A.C.T.U. sought cuts in indirect taxes, but they have been joined by groups normally on the other side of the table - a growing number of employers' federations.
The list of bodies, which have advocated cuts in sales taxes, is now numbered in the hundreds. On top of this impressive show of unity, quite a number of Federal Government backbenchers have become more restless over the issue, with a minority now openly disagreeing with the Cabinet. The Cabinet, in turn, seems to have it's thinking done for it by the Treasury officials, who are utterly opposed to any reduction in the central government's sphere of influence.
So the economy is shaping up into two 'sides'. On the one hand, a united voice from both Trade Unions and Employers, with the, to date, somewhat timid voices of a number of parliament backbenchers, all demanding tax cuts in an effort to reduce costs; on the other the Treasury and Cabinet, together with the left-wing, communist element in the Trade union movement, which bitterly opposed the A.C.T.U.'s advocacy of tax cuts, doggedly pursuing a disastrous line.
Ironically, the Party which advocated tax cuts prior to its election, is now fighting off the same suggestion from the Labor Party - normally committed to "heavy progressive taxation" - in the words of Marx's "Communist Manifesto."
If the Arbitration Commission does what it logically should which is to grant a National Wage Increase commensurate with the increased cost of living - a spate of new cost rises will be unleashed into an economy already half sabotaged by futile and idiotic government policy - thus paving the way for massive disruption and breakdown in the second part of 1977.
'UNION BASHING' FOR ELECTORAL PURPOSES?
Seeking sound reasons as to why the Government should reject an invitation from Mr. Hawke for Wage and Price restraint produces few reasonable answers. It is hard to believe that Fraser has dispassionate reasons for such a refusal. Is it possible, then, that Fraser has deliberately chosen to create a fight with the Trade Union movement, irrespective of the harm it will cause to Australia, because he believes that he can 'polarise' opinion on future strike action, bringing majority Australian opinion onto his side in the ensuing confusion of national disruption?
Joe Manton writes in The Bulletin (26/3/77), under the heading "P.M. HEADS FOR LOSING BATTLE", the following realistic observation: "...The simple fact of life for the governments of industrialised nations is that they either reach a 'modus vivendi' with their unions or they go under. Any government strategy to defeat inflation which does not have at least the tacit support of the majority of unions is doomed to failure."
Whatever his motives, Mr. Fraser, with as little chance of success as the famous Light Brigade, seems determined to charge forward. His loyal, if unenlightened, offsider, Mr. Lynch, certainly fulfils the dictum "His is not to reason why; his but to do and die..."
The Opposition spokesman on the Economy, Mr. Hurford, with no realistic alternatives of his own, nevertheless summed up Mr. Lynch very well in the House: "The Treasurer's optimism is reminiscent of the chap who thought the Titanic was converting into a submarine."
GENERAL IDI AMIN AN EMBARRASSMENT TO LEFT-WING
The atrocities in Uganda, culminating in the brutal murder of the Archbishop, are now so atrocious that even the usually blind media eye can hardly help but carry some news. Idi Amin, former Chairman' of the Organisation of African Unity, which has the support of both the Communist and non-Communist world, is not, as so often painted, an unusual type of African leader, but runs true to form. The old chiefs in Uganda prior to the advent of the white man, acted in similar brutal and despotic fashion, as graphically told by the early missionaries and explorers - men like Joseph Thompson, who built the first Scottish Mission on the shores of Lake Victoria. Idi Amin is merely reverting to type.
Thus, in liberated Africa, the list of African Christian martyrs grows daily larger, although ignored by the Church leaders of the Western world. The massacre of priests and nuns, and protestant missionaries in the Congo never made the headlines. The monument to African Christian martyrs at Fort Hall, in Kenya, who died at the hands of the Mau-Mau, never made the Sydney Morning Herald, or the Melbourne "Age": the shocking brutality inflicted on Jehovah's Witnesses in Zambia for refusing to join President Kaunda's political party, was never publicised at the World Council of Churches Assembly, which adulated Kaunda's so called "Christian" stance.
So biased is the world's media - aided and abetted by current "Church" leaders, that Rhodesian Prime Minister Smith was blamed for the murder of Catholic priests and nuns in North Rhodesia by terrorists from outside. Thus is white turned into black by the "opinion makers" of the 20th century? If there are Church leaders who have misgivings about what is happening to Christians in Africa at the hands of the so called civilised "emergent" nations, they remain silent - which explains why so many are finding it hard to identify their Christian faith with the institutionalised denominations - particularly those which endorse in any way the anti-Christian movement in so many parts of the world.
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