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11 April 1986. Thought for the Week: "Modern men have forgotten the social effect of religion, ascribing to almost any other cause, economic or physical, what is in truth the results of men's doctrines. Religion is at the root of all culture, and societies differ more from difference of religion than from difference in any other factor. It is more powerful than race, far more powerful than physical environment."
Hilaire Belloc in The Contrast (1923)
THE HOUSING FINANCE RACKET
"Canberra - The housing rescue packet is not a product of the Labor Cabinet. It was put together in Sydney on Tuesday by the Treasurer, Mr. Keating, and the chief executors of the big four banks." - Russell Barton in The Age, April 3rd.
A survey of the avalanche of media comment concerning the Hawke Government's change of policy on housing interest rates provides striking evidence either of the widespread economic illiteracy of the commentators, including the financial "experts", or of a fear of even hinting at the realities of debt finance. There was a time admittedly a long time ago - when there were federal Labor Members who would have exposed a financial racket, which makes it increasingly difficult for Australians to own their own homes. But the new breed of Labor politicians, who like to parade their with-it trendiness, are hard-nosed pragmatists whose primary concern is how to survive in the corridors of power, to enjoy the good life, and to reap the big financial rewards now available to the politicians.
Veteran Federal Labor Member Mr. Fred Daly, celebrating his fiftieth anniversary as a member of the Labor Party, has lamented on the decline in political standards with the comment that "The generation I lived in - the Chifleys and the Curtins - worked on the basis; the thing to be done was the right thing to do irrespective of the consequences." While stating that he thinks, "the Hawke Government is going as quickly as it is permitted to", Mr. Daly says that at some stage the government is "going to have to do something in a very big way for Labor's rank and file."
The high interest rate policy of the Hawke-Keating Government, now extended to housing, has demonstrated the scant concern of the new breed of Socialists for even traditional Labor voters - many of whom only vote Labor because their parents did. The high interest policy of the Government is a major factor in the progressive concentration of all power away from the individual. C.H. Douglas observed that a problem correctly stated is already half solved. After food, housing along with clothing is a basic requirement for living. Private home ownership is essential for stable, traditional family life. Stable families are the foundations of stable and harmonious societies. As a social objective, the widespread ownership of homes for all Australians should be a top priority. What, then, is the problem, which prevents this objective from being obtained?
Treasurer Keating won his argument for higher housing interest rates by claiming that there is a severe shortage of finance with limited interest rates for housing loans. Prime Minister Hawke rationalises his dramatic change of attitude on interest rates by stressing the threatened loss of 50,000 building jobs. The only alternative from the "radical" Housing Minister, Mr. West, was a $1,000 million loan to be raised for home lending through the selling of Australian Housing Bonds to the public. Mr. West merely demonstrated that the "Left-wing" of the Labor Party is as subservient to financial orthodoxy as the "Right-wing."
The controversy about housing has centred, not on the elementary question of whether it is physically possible to build sufficient homes for the Australian people, but on an abstraction called finance, with the nonsensical statement being made time and time again that the banking system's capacity to provide adequate housing finance was limited by a lack of sufficient deposits, this in turn the result of the 15.5 percent ceiling on housing loans.
Typical of the many ridiculous comments on the Keating policy is that by Mr. Paul Kelly, national political commentator for The Australian, who states "the reality is that because the banks have so little money to spend", new home owners are already paying the anticipated new interest rates of 15.5 percent to building societies and finance companies. Unlike the banks, building societies and finance companies cannot create money. They can only lend deposits. As demonstrated by the many authoritative statements quoted in The Money Trick, ($4.50 posted from all League addresses) most of these statements being by bankers, the bulk of a modern nation's money supply is created by the banking system in the form of bank credit. It could be made available at an interest rate as low as 2 percent, sufficient to cover the cost of what in essence is a national bookkeeping service.
The outrageously high bank profits are a measure of what is taking place. They are in part only possible because of the high interest policy of the Reserve Bank. It is the policy of the Reserve Bank, which also governs the lending policies of the trading banks. And who is responsible for the policies of the Reserve Bank? In theory it is the elected representatives of the Australian people.
There will be no change until the Australian people seriously demand one. And it is no use replacing Mr. Keating with Mr. John Howard, who is now bleating that Mr. Keating has stolen his high interest rate policy. A government genuinely concerned about the housing of the Australian people, on conditions which would enable them to become genuine home owners, would direct the Commonwealth Bank to start making home loans available at an interest rate sufficient merely to cover costs.
As we reported in a recent issue, the 9.5% has resulted in the biggest building boom in a decade. Will Mr. Keating, Mr. Howard and their "expert" advisers tell Australians why, at least for a start, a similar policy cannot be implemented in Australia.
THE LEAGUE OF RIGHTS AND IMMIGRATION
The League of Rights is a service organisation, which endeavours within the framework of its financial, physical and other resources, to support and encourage all activities in defence of national sovereignty and the free society. There is always a question of priorities. Over the years the League has run special campaigns on major issues. Currently the League is concentrating on the Bill of Rights as part of its general defence of the Federal Constitution. This does not mean that it does not think that other issues are unimportant; it is a question of priorities, making the most effective use of limited resources in pursuit of the fundamental military principle of concentrating the maximum of firepower on a selected target. The foregoing comments are prompted by what appears to be a campaign to suggest that the League of Rights has gone "soft" on the immigration issue. There is, of course, no truth whatever in this suggestion.
As with other issues, such as education, compulsory fluoridation of public water supplies, there are individuals and groups who have a special interest in these issues, and the League lends what support it can to such groups and individuals. We have no hesitation in endorsing the work of Dr. John Dique of Brisbane, and his Immigration Control Movement. But the League is not prepared to lend its support to groups like the publishers of "National Action", which in its December-January issue attacks the League of Rights. The level of criticism reflects the low intellectual level of the critics.
It is stated that over the last few years, the League of Rights has progressively retreated from any discussion of the problem of Asianisation, followed by the vicious and completely unfounded charge that "In 1984, during the Blainey debate on immigration, the League was only too happy to take the money of well-wishers who hoped the group would exploit the public concern raised on the issue, but it DID NOTHING at all." (Emphasis in the original) "National Action" provides the remarkable information that the League's National Director, Mr. Eric Butler, was during the late 1930's advocating Japanese immigration to Australia! Another "National Action' article says that the Monarchy is dangerous. And that the Eureka flag "is the emblem of true Australian identity".
One of the problems with the various "Nationalist" movements, which have emerged over the years, is that they attract a number of psychopaths and misfits who can always be exploited to foment extremism. We completely reject the view that the scrawling of anti-Asian slogans on walls makes any realistic contribution to a constructive debate on immigration. The arguments against multi-racial societies can be presented without enough force without the use of crude slogans in public lavatories and elsewhere. The League will continue to make its own contribution to the immigration debate in its own way. Like its predecessor, "Audacity", "National Action", indicates its philosophical roots by favourable references to the British National Front, a power movement which seems to think that the late but unlamented Adolf Hitler, made some contribution to the defence of Western Civilisation.
Considering the politics of The Age, Melbourne, it was not surprising that veteran Fabian Socialist Dr. H.C. Coombs was given considerable space on March 26th to lament the Federal government's retreat on the Aboriginal land rights issue. Dr. Coombs has been in the forefront of the land rights programme. Dr. Coombs seeks to lend support to what could be a growing international campaign against Australia. He charged in his Age article that "The occupation of Australia which began in 1788 ... was, in international law, illegal." The truth is that when Captain Cook claimed the eastern coast of Australia as a British possession on August 22nd, 1770, he did so on the basis that the country was what the lawyers term terra nullus; that the relatively few native inhabitants had no legal, political or social structure, which could confer international status upon them. In 1971 a Federal Court case, presided over by Sir Richard Blackburn, resulted in the conclusion that the legitimacy of Australia in international law was beyond dispute.
A referendum on the amalgamation of South Melbourne Council with that of Melbourne City Council showed a 94% vote AGAINST amalgamation. The Town Clerk (of South Melbourne Council) Mr. Noel Knopp said that the voting turnout was 50%, a high vote for a referendum. South Melbourne has the lowest rate of any Melbourne metropolitan council. Predictably, the Chairman of the Victorian Local Government Commission (instituted to axe Local Government!) was all sour grapes.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT RECONSTRUCTIONThe following letter appeared in a Melbourne suburban newspaper, viz. Regional Progress (March 26th) above the name of Edward Rock, State Chairman, Christian Alternative Movement;
"The issue of reconstruction of Local Government is leading towards violent confrontation between the opposing protagonists, Mr. Stuart Morris, the Chairman of the (Victorian) Local Government Commission, accuses the opposition of circulating disinformation, and says he wishes the issue to be debated on its merits or demerits. "Very well.
Harmony within a community is closely associated with the degree people can control their government and their own destiny. The two are inseparable. To effect such harmony and control; decentralised government, which guarantees local autonomy, is essential. This is a question of ascertaining the wishes of peoples within a community, which identifies itself as such. It is an organic concept and cannot be imposed. It grows from the roots up.
"Local Government in Victoria does not propose reconstruction; it did not ask for reconstruction. It is being imposed from the top by the Cain government. As such, it is an act of political violence. Violence begets violence. It is therefore not to be wondered at that Mr. Morris was flour-bombed at Bendigo by people demanding their democratic rights.
"Christian constitutional law, from which our Australian Constitution grew, envisaged a diminishing of power (for the individual) as governments became more centralised. It was recognised that people should decide how much power any government should exercise. "This principle has been violated by both State and Federal governments, especially the latter. Therefore, it is imperative that the people of Australia initiate constitutional reform, which will bring both State and Federal governments back into line where they are subjected to control by government, which is closest to the people, in our case, Local Government.
"This could be achieved by the people granting Local Government the right to appoint delegates who would constitute the Upper House in State government, and the Senate in Federal Government.
"The burden these governments have inflicted upon us in recent years would be minimised by the pressure which people could then apply through their Local Government structure."
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