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16 May 1986. Thought for the Week: "No method of procedure has ever been devised by which liberty could be divorced from self-government. No plan of centralisation has ever been adopted which did not result in bureaucracy, tyranny, inflexibility, reaction and decline ... Unless bureaucracy is constantly resisted it breaks down representative Government, and overwhelms democracy. It is the one element in our institutions that sets up the pretence of having authority over everybody and being responsible to nobody."
U.S.A. President Calvin Coolidge. 1926
WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF MURPHY AFFAIR
Prime Minister Hawke could be excused if he is feeling a little bitter towards his fellow Fabian Socialist, Mr. Justice Lionel Murphy, for not having retired gracefully from the High Court following his acquittal at his second trial; stating that having been found innocent of the criminal charge against him, he proposed to retire from the High Court in order that there be no erosion of public faith in Australia's system of justice. But so far from deciding to act in a proper manner, Mr. Justice Murphy immediately charged that he had been they victim of a political trial and indicated that he was proposing to return immediately to sit on the High Court. Subsequent developments have forced Mr. Hawke to do what he should have done earlier. But the three Judge investigation may lead into matters, which could prove politically damaging to the Hawke Government.
Public opinion polls indicate that the Murphy affair has already reduced support for the government. Mr. Hawke is not being assisted by the behaviour of Premier Neville Wran of N.S.W., and Federal President of the A.L.P., who initially, along with Senator Gareth Evans and other Murphy supporters, disputed the authenticity of what has come to be known as The Age tapes. It was these tapes, which triggered the Murphy affair disclosing what appeared to be a close relationship between Justice Murphy and Sydney solicitor Mr. Morgan Ryan.
The central charge resulting from The
Age tapes was that Murphy had attempted to influence Mr.
Clarrie Briese, N.S.W. magistrate, concerning a case against
Ryan. Mr. Justice Murphy declined to give evidence before
the second Senate Committee, which found him guilty of improper
behaviour as a Judge. Both the former judges, Connor and Wickham,
who assisted the Senate inquiry were critical of Murphy. Mr.
Xavier Connor, Q.C., said that by involving himself in the
affairs of a lower court, "was in my opinion a significant
impropriety on the part of Mr. Justice Murphy
At his second trial Mr. Justice Murphy took advantage of the N.S.W. judicial system and declined to take an oath or affirmation, and enter the witness box where he could be cross-examined. This approach by a High Court judge could only increase the grave public disquiet concerning Murphy. Further accusations and reports following the second Murphy trial left Mr. Hawke with no alternative to the one he has chosen.
Irrespective of what comes out of the new inquiry, enormous damage has already been done to the status of the judicial system. But even worse than this is the prospect of the Coalition parties winning an election by default. John Howard and his colleagues offer nothing, which even remotely touches upon the basic financial and other problems destroying Australia. The one hope for Australia is that the growing grassroots movement can find a political expression, which, first through the Senate, will start to turn Australia around.
THE ANTI-LOCAL GOVERNMENT CAMPAIGN
As documented in the special Intelligence Survey on the programme to amalgamate Municipal Councils, the long range Fabian-Socialist strategy has its roots back in the Second World War. That strategy played a major part in the Whitlam drive for office in 1972. Whitlam exploited the growing financial difficulties of Municipal government by offering direct and indirect financial assistance from Canberra. But as non-government schools have found, once financial assistance is accepted from the Federal government, there is a weakening of genuine independence. "Those who pay the piper can call the tune."
Speaking at a national conference on Local Government at the New England University late last month, Victoria's hard line Socialist Minister for Local Government, Mr. Simmonds, warned that rural councils run the risk of "becoming irrelevant". He pointed out that some country councils raised less than 12 percent of their total income from rates and charges, that "Most small rural shires in Victoria derive over 40 percent of their revenue from outside sources and a majority are dependent for more than 50 percent of their income from grants and subsidies."
Chairman of the Victorian Government's Local Government Commission, Mr. Stuart Morris, openly admits that he is a Socialist and believes in the centralisation of power. Under the guise of having discussions with Municipal Councillors, Mr. Morris has bluntly argued that there are too many Councils with high administration costs. This view is endorsed by Mr. Simmonds, who says "Rural local government in Victoria is characterised by many small, financially weak units, capable of providing only basic services to their communities. The present situation says little for the autonomy and independence of local government.
Local government's independence has been progressively eroded by the debt and inflation policies of all Federal governments, and by encouraging Municipal government to become increasingly involved in providing services which cannot be financed out of rate revenue. Socialist strategy is to encourage this development under the pretext of decentralisation. The bait is being offered of greater grants to those prepared to agree to bigger local government units. These will, of course, be merely administrative conveniences for the Federal Government. The Federal Ministry for Local Government, headed by strong Socialist Minister Tom Uren, is stacked with Socialist planners.
In depth defence of local government requires not only a thorough exposure of the Fabian Socialist strategy but a programme for changes in financial policies, which would make it easier for Municipal Councils to operate. The British experience with amalgamations has contradicted the Marxist claim about greater efficiency and moderate rates. Big rate increases were one of the reasons for the massive backlash against the Conservative party at the recent British Municipal elections.
Since returning from the Philippines, Father Brian Gore has embraced a number of causes, which, at best, raise serious doubts about his judgment. We can understand him being drawn into an Aboriginal land rights movement as a type of useful innocent. Many non-Communists support the peace movement. But when Father Gore appeared recently with Mrs. Joan Coxsedge at the launching of her book, Thank God for the Revolution, a defence of the Communist Government of Nicaragua, it is obvious that Father Gore must be regarded much more critically. While Father Gore has created the impression of being one who craves publicity, surely he knows Mrs. Coxsedge's political background? Not only Catholics, but other Christians, deserve to know what is Father Gore really about.
A large number of Members of the Federal Parliament recently signed a petition calling on the Government of the Soviet Union to permit the Jewish community within the U.S.S.R. freedom to practise their religion free of persecution and discrimination and freedom to be reunited with their families and people in Israel." At least one Member said that he could not sign the Petition because it suggested that Jews leaving the Soviet must go to Israel. He felt they should be free to go where they like. We cannot recall any similar Petition asking for freedom for the persecuted Christians in the Soviet. The great majority of Jews who have been permitted to leave the Soviet have refused either to go to Israel or to stay there.
The Sun, Melbourne, of May 12th, quotes President Botha of South Africa as having recently said, "I must take the Afrikaner along, without giving him the feeling that he is being discarded." The Botha Government, now being confronted with a massive white backlash, is attempting the impossible, of trying to negotiate a "moderate" solution to its problems in an attempt to ease the enormous international pressure. The Rhodesians found that their international enemies had one objective: complete victory. The South Africans are in a much stronger position than Rhodesia was, to make a firm stand against a policy of progressive surrender.
In spite of the growing criticism of the proposal to introduce an Australian Identity Card, allegedly for the purpose of preventing "tax dodging", proponents of the card refer to public opinion polls, which allegedly show that a majority favours the proposal. The usually reliable Morgan poll is quoted. But the Morgan poll was conducted on the question of whether people were in favour of a card "containing information such as name, number and photo". This is a most misleading question, and a very different answer would be given if those polled were asked if they were in favour of an identity card which would enable officials to gain access to every aspect of one's private life.
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