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28 October 1983. Thought for the Week: "Put a beggar on horseback and he'll ride to the Devil."
Old English Proverb
THE QUEENSLAND STATE ELECTION
At the time of going to press we do not know whether or not the Queensland Premier will be able to govern without a coalition with what is left of the Queensland Liberals. We do not intend to make long comment on the matter here and now, as we expect the Queensland State Director, as the man on the spot, to file a comprehensive report with us shortly. We are encouraged to believe that Premier Bjelke-Petersen fully understands the importance of the whole Constitutional question, and is not talking idly when he is reported as saying: "(Hawke) has nailed the lid on his own political coffin".... "Queensland is going to be the launching pad to unseat Mr. Hawke and his associates in Canberra just as we annihilated the Labor Party here". (The Sun, Melbourne, October 24th).
Quite significantly, The Age (Melbourne), known in Victoria as "the Spencer Street Soviet", because of its consistently Left-wing political promotions, had this to say: "Mr. Bjelke-Petersen lost no time in using his success at the polls as pretext to make extravagant comments about its national implications. He described the result as the first nail in Mr. Hawke's coffin. Mr. Bjelke-Petersen was understandably excited about his success at the weekend, but to suggest that the result is a setback for Mr. Hawke is nonsense. The Queensland election was just that, a State poll. In no way could it be regarded as a test of standing of Mr. Hawke and his Government...."
The Age (Melbourne) is writing piffle yet again. We know that the "Constitutional" message is being received by Queenslanders loud and clear.
WARNING FROM OUTSTANDING AUSTRALIAN
The former Victorian Supreme Court judge
and Australian diplomatic representative Sir Reginald Sholl,
in a letter to The Australian (19/10/83) issued a most
significant warning that should be noted by all Australians;
Perhaps Sir Reginald could have added that the socialist left revolutionaries are not only in the trade unions and universities they are now in government itself, and are busily tipping over the whole constitutional system, with its traditional freedoms, in Australia.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT TAKING A STAND
One of the first preoccupations of incumbent socialist governments in Australia is to emasculate Local Councils. Between the end of the war and 1949, the two Fabian planners, Dr. 'Nugget! Coombs and Dr. Herbert Evatt, produced the first blueprints on "Regional Government" - following ideas originally devised by the British Fabian G.D.H. Cole. Quite often, non-socialist governments have fallen for the same "three card trick". Tom Uren, with his Department of Urban and Regional Development in the Whitlam era; continued where Coombs and Evatt left off.
In New South Wales, the ball was set in motion by Country Party leader Sir Charles Cutler, and continued by the Wran Government. The Boundaries Commission, an arrogant departmental bully in New South Wales, became widely known and feared by Councils throughout the State, as it told them they would amalgamate "whether they liked it or not". However, as the pressure increased under the Wran Labor Government, so did the resistance. It has now produced a backlash that has set Mr. Wran back on his heels.
The Australian (19/10/83) reported: "Councils warned the NSW Government yesterday to take them seriously or face the consequences at the polls. A special joint conference of the NSW Local Government and Shires Associations was told "the political party that does the right thing gets our support at the next State election".
Sydney's Lord Mayor, Alderman Doug Sutherland, said relations between councils and the State Government had reached a "Mexican stand-off"... The authorities have asked Parliament to restore a separate rate department of Local Government, to declare Crown land and industrial enterprises rateable ... and to restore proper constitutional recognition ... A Sydney city councillor, Alderman Jeremy Bingham, said: "As long as the State Government has local power to override us and political power to ignore us, it will. Traditionally, in this State, the Government has found it an electoral advantage to kick the council. We have to show the State Government that its treatment of local government has electoral consequences..."
The Cain Government in Victoria, as soon it gained office, began the pressure for council amalgamations, and increased government control. In addition, the explosive issue of Aboriginal land rights and the security of titles has been raised. The result is that Local Government in Victoria is beginning to stand up.
The Age (13/10/83), under the heading "Councils to Fight Central Loans Body" gave a hint of a new mood of determination amongst Councillors. It said: "Victoria's 211 local councils are likely to oppose a State Government move to set up a central agency to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of councils, water and sewerage authorities and some other semi-government authorities. Cabinet approved the plan on Monday, although full details have not been worked out... The agency is likely to be set up under the auspices of the Department of Management and budget and will report to Mr. Jolly ...
The move has already been criticised by local councils through their representative body, the Municipal Association of Victoria, which wants to control the borrowing service. The Association had proposed that a borrowing service for councils and non-metropolitan sewerage and water authorities should be set up under the Association's existing investment service, which has been running successfully for six months ... The move, which has not been officially announced, was criticised at the Municipal Association's annual session yesterday, which passed a motion noting the success of the Association's existing investment service and the necessity for local government to retain its own borrowing powers.
The Association's financial adviser ... believed there was "more than a whiff of danger" that if the State Government controlled borrowing for Local Government, some way would be found for it to tax those borrowings to increase revenue... It seems there is still a lingering memory amongst Victoria's Councillors of the famous "Yarra Glen Report" - one of the best Reports on Local Government Finance ever produced in Australia, in the fifties.
Local Government survival depends on
getting long-term, low-interest finance without central strings.
Victorian Councils could, with advantage, turn their attention
to the latent powers of the State Bank of Victoria, which
could, constitutionally, provide them with very low interest
finance. So far, the State Bank has been misused, although
it has grown remarkably in the last few years, since obtaining
full trading bank powers. One of its poorest investments was
in the ill-fated Queensland Graingrowers Association, now
in the hands of receivers.
THE 'PEACE LOVING' U.S.S.R.Former soldier and defence expert Peter Young, in The Australian (19/10/83) gave the following figures for the military capabilities of the USSR - the "mastermind" behind the World Peace Council:
"Out of a population of around 269 million, the Soviets maintain a standing force of 4.9 million men and women under arms. Two million are in the army, which can field 194 divisions, most of them armored or mechanised units. That comes to about 50,000 main battle tanks, 62,000 armored fighting vehicles and 20,000 conventional artillery pieces ... This is backed up by about 1,300 tactical missile launchers With a total naval manpower of 500,000 they now deploy 290 major combat vessels including the new Kiev-class VSTOL carriers, 69 nuclear cruise missile and missile submarines, 56 nuclear powered and 148 conventional attack and hunter-killer submarines and 183 lesser combat aircraft organised into 16 air armies with 3,500 helicopters and an immense airlift and transport capability - all over and above the 2,300 fighters on home defence duties... Meanwhile back in Australia we have six battalions - only two of them at war establishment level and an under equipped navy, and airforce kept alive by little more than the professionalism of the people who serve in them "
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