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24 October 1980. Thought for the Week: "In order to understand the unquestionable failure of present democracy it is necessary to understand its nature, what it can do from its nature, and what it cannot do. The literal meaning of the word is, of course, 'rule by the people', but I would prefer to call it the will of the people. It is not rule by the majority, an important distinction to note. The idea of party government is comparatively modern, probably not ante-dating the Wars of the Roses, and contains in itself a subtle perversion of the democratic idea... the most cursory examination of the slogans on which elections are fought is sufficient to show that the machinery (of making the will of the electors prevail) has been completely perverted."
C.H. Douglas in "The Nature of Democracy".
SIGNIFICANT STRAWS IN THE POLITICAL WIND
Modern elections contested by highly organised
party political machines, with slick public relations organisations
attempting to "sell" parties like some detergent, have increasingly
degenerated into a type of civil war. Mr. Bob Hawke reveals
that in order to contest the campaign the ALP had to obtain
overdraft facilities approaching $1 million. Without this
type of credit support the Labor Party machine could not operate.
The Liberal Party obviously far exceeded the Labor Party's
expenditure during the latter stages of the campaign, resorting
to desperate fear - advertising through the print media, which
must have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It is probable that the highly publicised threat of a wealth tax in the Government's saturation advertising did result in a last minute swing back to the Government parties. Generally overlooked is the fact that Australians already are experiencing a wealth tax in the form of escalating local government rates: these rates, based on property values, are a reflection of the financial policies imposed by the Federal Government.
The conventional way of assessing political contests is that the Fraser Government "won". But if perhaps as few as 30,000 electors in approximately 15 electorates had voted differently, Mr. Bill Hayden and the ALP would have been described as "the winners". If the dogma of "majority rule", so strongly advocated for Rhodesia by Mr. Fraser, had been applied Mr. Fraser would have been defeated. But what about the electors in all this? What real choices did they have? And will anything fundamentally change as a result of a most expensive political civil war?
Contrary to the outward satisfaction expressed by Mr. Fraser about the election results, those results have already sent shock waves through the Liberal and National parties. As we have foreshadowed, a completely new political situation is developing in Australia at the same time that the inevitable disruptive effects of present finance economic policies are starting to intensify. The basic feature of the new political situation is a fragmentation of power. Mr. Fraser cannot dispute that the most disastrous losses in the elections, were in what has been regarded as the major base of the Liberal Party, his home State of Victoria. There was a major swing against his own Deputy, Mr. Phillip Lynch. Those backbench Members who did survive, some by only a handful of votes, are going to be increasingly restive and tend to demand a greater say. Mr. Fraser no longer could govern without the National Country Party, which means a division of power between the Coalition parties.
The Coalition Government lost effective control of the Senate, which could pave the way for far reaching Senate reforms, which would help further the growing process of elevating the status of the Senate to a genuine House of Review. The manner in which many electors voted differently in the Senate from how they voted in the House of Representatives, reveals an encouraging development towards more responsible and discriminating voting.
Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen has made
the significant post election comment that the Fraser Government
is now on trial, and that it will be in much greater trouble
if it does not deal with the taxation and other basic questions.
Claiming in his first post election comment that he had got
the message that "Our policies certainly need adapting" Mr.
Fraser immediately followed up with a direction to Sir Geoffrey
Yeend, head of his own Department, "to begin work on a new
plan to provide jobs for young people."
Our view is that the new political situation, particularly after July of next year, when the new Senators take their seats, offers far greater opportunities for the development of League concepts.
WARNING SHOTS FROM MRS. FLORENCE BJELKE-PETERSEN
Although there was a drop in the Queensland
National-Country Party's vote in the House of Representatives,
the massive Senate vote for Mrs. Bjelke-Petersen, mainly at
the expense of the Liberal Party, contains a message for the
Fraser Government. Even though she was "rubbished" by some
of her own party colleagues. Mrs. Bjelke-Petersen made the
taxation issue a major one in her election campaigning. She
has already sent a warning shot to Canberra, that in her maiden
speech she is going to raise the issue.
If the distinguished Senator Glen Sheil
does manage to survive, it will be as a result of the strong
campaign waged in support of Mrs. Bjelke-Petersen and her
policies. While Mrs. Bjelke-Petersen stresses that she does
not see herself as being a messenger to Prime Minister Fraser
from her husband, it is clear that Mr. Fraser is going to
be confronted with a "Joh-Flo" pincer movement.
If Mr. Joh Bjelke-Petersen survives the coming State elections, preserving a strong base, the stage will be set for a major assault on the policy of destructive taxation. League of Rights campaigners everywhere should be greatly encouraged by the prospects.
WHAT ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN ALTERNATIVE?
From a basic, long-term view, the most significant
development in the Federal elections went unnoticed by the
political commentators. In a short preliminary comment on
the election results, Mr. Leon Ward, Chairman of the Christian
Alternative movement, said that he was confident that the
Christian Alternative "will be a force to be reckoned with
in the future."
Mr. Ward stressed that the 1980 campaign was but the beginning and that a statement concerning its future would be made shortly. We understand that in both Victoria and South Australia the campaign resulted in large numbers of new contacts vitally interested in becoming involved in future activities. A measure of the Christian Alternative potential may be judged by noting that the total vote in Victoria exceeded that of all the independents and was not far behind that of the Retired Persons Federation, which had the former well known Victorian Liberal Member, Mr. John Jess, as its main candidate, and was nearly one third of the well established and better organised Democratic Labor Party.
While conceding that the position of
number one on the ballot paper is (unfortunately) of some
assistance, the 105,000 votes recorded by the Rev. Fred Nile
in N.S.W. under the label of "Call To Australia" group was
further demonstration of the tremendous potential for the
fostering of political movements firmly committed to the restoration
of Christian values.
|© Published by the Australian League of Rights, P.O. Box 27 Happy Valley, SA 5159|