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On Target

11 February 1983. Thought for the Week: "Men are tired to disgust with money politics. They hope for salvation from somewhere or other, for some real thing of honour, of inward nobility, of unselfishness and duty"
Oswald Spengler

THE ELECTION

"The Liberal Party sources which predicted Mr. Fraser would go for a March poll on the wages issue said the key to his almost desperate quest for an early election was the 1983-84 Budget" - Neil O'Reilly, in The Sun-Herald (Sydney), Feb. 6th.

It is really a fluke that Mr. Hawke shou1d now find himself engaged in a "High Noon" with Malcolm Fraser. We have said in the past, more than once, that Mr. Hawke had left his "run" too late; that he should have entered Parliament earlier. The leadership contest with Mr. Hayden last year seemed to have ended the matter. Had the Federal election taken place last September-October, as Mr. Fraser intended, and Mr. Hayden emerged triumphant, as seemed likely, then that would have been the end of the road for Mr. Hawke certainly for the foreseeable future. Now, astonishingly, the whole basket has fallen into his lap, and he will have to win this election.

Peter Robinson ("Candid Comment", The Sun-Herald, Sydney, Feb. 6th) has put his finger on it..."the easy days for Bob Hawke are over"..."If a Hawke led Labor Party cannot decisively win the election on March 5th then it is clear the A.L.P. itself has lost its relevance as an opposition force in Australian politics..."

We remind supporters that there will probably be two referendums to coincide with the election. One has been put before; viz.- simultaneous elections for the House of Representatives and the Senate. We have condemned it, and we condemn it again now. Such a power would enable the Leader of the Government of the day in Canberra to "blackmail" the Senate: i.e. if the Senate did not pass legislation from the House of Representatives it could be "threatened" with dismissal and forced to face the electors. Simultaneous elections provisions written into the Constitution would very seriously weaken the power of the Senate as a House of Review; its intended function, to stall "snap" and hasty, and sometimes bad legislation. The Senate must be free to do its proper job.

Re 4-year terms of parliament; all this does is to give the politicians a further year of perks. The U.S.A. has 4-year terms; Britain has 5-year terms. Are they governed any better than Australia? No. The politicians should be kept on their toes at all times, and the shorter their terms, the better, really. A wall of waffle is being put up by the long-term lovers (particularly the politicians), but behind all the plausible argument is the fervent desire for another year of goodies, at the taxpayers' expense. No fixed terms either.

How lovely it would be for the politicians to laze back on those leather benches and contemplate 4 comfortable years to come, with no chance of having to "face the enemy" (the electors). Nothing doing. Politicians must be kept "dancing"(preferably to the tune of the electors) with never a clue as to when the music will stop. No simultaneous elections. No 4-year terms. No fixed terms.

A few comments
What is Mr. Hawke, if elected to Government, to do to restore Australia to economic stability? What answers does he have which the Treasury Marionette, John Howard, does not have? Is Mr. Hawke to clash on the implementation of economic policy with John Stone, the Treasury Chief? Hardly. Mr. Hawke is trained in orthodox economics and can only "fine tune" economic policy. He talks about Malcolm Fraser's (John Stone's) economic policy being in tatters (which it is, of course) - but Mr. Hawke will be implementing the very same policies. He knows no others, and is convinced that they are correct.

Jeremy Lee once said to the writer of this particular item that "We'll probably have to have Hawke"... He meant that Hawke will have to run his course, and that Australia won't get Hawke out of its system until he has his run, and proves that he has no more capacity and ability to prevent economic and social run down than any of his predecessors.

Dr. Malcolm Mackerass has referred to Bob Hawke's catapult into the Labor leadership as a "wild card" (is it ever?) which could upend the recent political situation, and we, ourselves, cannot be sure what the new political situation will be until the electoral dust settles. Mr. Andrew Peacock is no doubt preening his feathers in anticipation of the end of Malcolm Fraser, and Paul Keating may find that he will be pitch forked in the Labor leadership if Mr. Hawke doesn't pull it off, for there will be no second chances. Now is the time to push forward some sound policies to the politicians.


THE POLITICS OF HYPOCRISY AND DOUBLE STANDARDS

Politics are concerned with power, and all power tends to corrupt. There has always been corruption in politics, but in days gone by corruption was kept to a minimum by a climate of opinion which demanded that basic values of decency and honesty be maintained in public life. There was a time when the unmasked traitor followed the example of Christ's treacherous disciple who hanged himself. But in today's world the standards of the party political hacks has sunk to the type of low prevalent during the break up of the Roman Civilisation. The cynical double standards of Prime Minister Fraser are a sickening example of the depths to which today's politicians will sink in their efforts to hold on to power.

As leader of the Opposition in 1975, Mr. Fraser said, "The problems of a country such as South Africa are never going to be solved by breaking off communications or by driving it into isolation. Closer ties with South Africa offer the best means to social change there."
In an attempt to curry favour with "The Third World" nations, Prime Minister Fraser has since coming to office pursued a vicious vendetta against South Africa, not only demonstrating that he is a man of double standards, but that he is also a fool.

Mr. Fraser insists that Qantas cannot fly directly into South Africa, event though a number of African countries permit their airlines to do so. Mr. Fraser is not such a fool that he does not know that Qantas is flying into Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) so that passengers can then link up with South African airways flying to Johannesburg.
Mr. Fraser reacted against the West Indian cricket tour of South Africa by immediately banning all the West Indian cricketers from ever visiting Australia again. The man who rails against discrimination has said that British cricketers and those from Sri Lanka who toured South Africa will be banned for only a few years.
No mention has been made of banning the large number of American sportsmen who play games in South Africa.
The whole business has demonstrated the pettiness and stupidity of the Australian Prime Minister.

When charged with being hypocritical in imposing a life ban on the West Indian cricketers while Australian trade with South Africa was increasing, Mr. Fraser reacted with the claim that an economic boycott of South Africa would seriously affect the Africans. The same man put forward exactly the opposite viewpoint concerning the imposition of a total economic boycott of Rhodesia.

While paying lip service to the necessity to curb the Soviet Union, Prime Minister Fraser has encouraged a massive increase in Australian exports to the Soviet Union. When Mr. Fraser last met President Reagan he warmly congratulated him on his economic policies, which he claimed were in line with his own policies. Now Mr. Fraser blames the recession in Australia on the disastrous American economic situation.
After two years in office, President Reagan is imposing exactly the opposite of what he promised; now bringing down a budget with a record deficit of $188,000 million. This is the equivalent of an Australian deficit of $7,000 million. The Prime Minister who has preached that deficit budgets must be resisted at all costs has now discovered that they might help in attempting to hang on to office.

Apart from the "blow out", which has already substantially increased the deficit planned for in Treasurer John Howard's last budget, Prime Minister Fraser is now blatantly attempting to buy votes with lavish promises, starting with $500 million for the Tasmanian Government if it will stop the Franklin dam. Other promises take the total to at least $1,000 million.
The Labor Party now finds itself in the position where Mr. Fraser has stolen the major parts of its programme. A desperate Mr. Hawke may "upgrade" Labor promises.

Mr. Fraser has exploited the gimmick of the "freeze" in his desperate search for an issue on which to stage his early election. Not even Mr. Fraser is stupid enough to believe that the "wage freeze" can solve Australia's economic problems. But if he can claim that the wicked unions never gave it a chance to succeed, he can run his election on the catch cry of "Who is running Australia?" In the meantime he is spending nearly $1 million of the taxpayers' money on an electioneering campaign under the guise of "explaining" to the people what the "wage freeze" means.

Even if Mr. Fraser can get himself re-elected on the "freeze" gimmick, basic realities will not change. As inflation continues at over 10 percent, the trade unions will intensify their campaign for higher wages to offset the inflation and reduction in purchasing power. The Marxists of all kinds will be delighted.

Prime Minister Fraser has had nearly eight years to deal with union problems and is no closer to finding an answer than when he started. When in Opposition Mr. Fraser correctly said that Industrial peace was impossible while higher taxation kept pushing prices up. In office his Government has imposed record taxation upon the people.
Disaster will follow disaster until sufficient electors demand a cleaning of the corruption, hypocrisy and double standards, which now hang like a sickly pall over the nation. We repeat our view that the Senate offers the best starting point for a programme of regeneration.


BRIEF COMMENTS

Laurie Oakes, writing in the Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) February 6th states that Mr. Fraser did not know he would be facing Mr. Hawke in the coming election on March 5th. Mr. Fraser has said that he did know. Which do we believe? Mr. Oakes says that Malcolm Fraser rushed to Government House to have the election settled before the A.L.P. changed leaders, to attempt to force the A.L.P. to stick with Mr. Hayden. It didn't come off.

Those Dams
The following letter was published in The Age (Melb.) February 2nd. In view of the "new political situation, it must be remembered that a Hawke win on March 5th could well bring the Commonwealth smack up against State Rights over the "Dam" issue. The gloves could be well and truly "off", then."It is time some common sense was injected into the hysteria over the Franklin dam issue. "All the media publicity must have affected Dr. Bob Brown's sense of perspective for he and his Tasmanian Wilderness Society members display an extraordinary arrogance in assuming that their cause is so strong as to change the Government of this country.
"These anti-dam militants, as Professor Francis West noted in an A.B.C. talk recently, are intellectual imperialists. They assume that they know what is best for the people of Tasmania and, indeed, for the people of Australia. They want to preserve Tasmania's wilderness. But for whom? For the conservationist elite? Or for all Australians?
"If for all Australians, then would they permit the building of tourist hotels and motels, roads and petrol stations, restaurants and snack bars and picnic spots so that ordinary people might enjoy the glorious scenery? Or do they really want to keep it just for their exclusive annual canoe excursions?
"In so many ways a hydro-electric scheme can compliment a wilderness area's beauty. There are precedents. The Barron Gorge scheme in North Queensland is an example. Thousands of visitors every year enjoy its natural beauty, preserved and enhanced with public park and picnic facilities. Tens of thousands of Australians have been able to appreciate the Snowy Mountains area in a way, which would have be been impossible without the hydro-electric scheme.
"So the Franklin dam issue is by no means a clear case of right and wrong. Yet this debate is peripheral to the attack on intelligence of the Wilderness Society militants who want their way or they will try to bring down the Government.
"Offhand, I would rate the Franklin dam issue far below such vital causes as the management of the economy, the need to cope with unemployment, the neglect of children, the care of the aged, crime in our streets, the pollution of our cities and towns, the carnage on our roads, the need to improve our health services and education standards, the abuse of trade union power. Most of all is the threat to man's existence posed by nuclear weapons.
"Put against these very real issues affecting all Australians, the creation of a large lake in a small part of Tasmania's south west seems of relative insignificance.
"In choosing a Government at the next Federal election, I would trust the voters to be concerned with matters that affect Australians where they live rather than where they do not and never will live."
This letter appeared over the name of a "Leila Matthews" of North Balwyn. (Melbourne suburb)

© Published by the Australian League of Rights, P.O. Box 27 Happy Valley, SA 5159