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14 July 1989. Thought for the Week: "Truth is like daylight. You cannot pervert its coming. You cannot hold it back. Gently, inexorably it spreads. If you insist upon closing your eyes to it you have not changed its force nor its reality."
Agnes E. Turnball
MEDIA LOBBY EXPLOIT FITZGERALD REPORT
Much more revealing than the Fitzgerald report, issued in Brisbane early last week, is the manner in which the anti-Joh media has exploited the report. Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen was a party politician and far from perfect. But to suggest that he was an all-powerful dictator, presiding over a corrupt Queensland is not true. Time and time again some of Sir Joh's best intentions were thwarted by the President of the Queensland National Party Sir Robert Sparkes. It is common knowledge that Sir Robert Sparkes not only attempted to impose his will on Premier Sir Joh's political activities but has used his powerful position to control the selection of National Party candidates. Sir Robert is the main man responsible for the financing of the National Party. If the National Party of Queensland is to be held responsible for a corrupt Queensland society, then it is legitimate to ask why the most powerful man in that party, Sir Robert Sparkes, was not called at any stage to give evidence before the Fitzgerald Commission.
Typical of some of the more outrageous
comments on the Fitzgerald report has been provided by The
Age, which, generally speaking, with the one exception
of weekly columnist Michael Barnard, is on the wrong side
on most basic issues. It has been almost paranoid in its criticism
of Sir Joh and Queensland. In its editorial of July 4th, The
Age claimed that "With skill, care and courage, Mr. Tony
Fitzgerald, Q.C., has exposed the insidious corruption of
a whole community".
The truth is, of course, that Queenslanders generally are no worse than Australians in other States. Are there more murders, rape, crimes of violence and abductions in Queensland per head of the population than in other States? On the face of what has been revealed, or alleged, the most serious charge of corruption has concerned senior members of the Queensland police.
But while agreeing that corruption among a section of the Queensland police is deplorable and should, if possible, be eliminated, the impression is being created that police corruption is something special to Queensland. We have not the slightest doubt that an in depth investigation of corruption in New South Wales would make the charges of the Fitzgerald Commission look like a Sunday School picnic. Nothing comparable with the killing of the well intentioned but naive anti-drug campaigner, Donald Mackay, and subsequent developments, has happened in Queensland. And there is the case in South Australia of the man directing the police anti-drug squad being exposed as a major drug operator.
Are Australians seriously asked to believe that only Queensland politicians accept direct or indirect bribes? The impression being created by much of the sick media, reflecting the secular humanism of the times is that Queensland under Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen was some type of a "police state" in which the individual had few or any rights. And what has been the basic cause of the general moral sickness, which allegedly has reduced Queenslanders to their present sorry state?
Much to the delight of the one-man-one-vote-one value advocates, Mr. Tony Fitzgerald states, "A root cause of the growth of corruption was an electoral system perceived to be unfair". The essence of a genuine democracy is not voting. Voting is a means to an end, not an end in itself. The traditional British system of representative government was conceived as one of representation of interests, not of numbers. Much of the talk about the Queensland "gerrymander" is part of media folklore. There is no State in Australia where, because of geographical and other circumstances, the number of electors in all electorates is even approximately the same. Little Tasmania has exactly the same number of representatives in the Senate, as does Victoria or New South Wales. Does this mean that there is a "gerrymander" for Senate elections?
By inference Mr. Fitzgerald is claiming that States other than Queensland have "fairer" electoral systems. He claims "In Queensland there are relatively few formal restraints upon the exercise of power by the government of the day". But if Mr. Fitzgerald would care to consult a number of eminent constitutional authorities, he will find that from the time when a former Lord Chief Justice of England, Lord Hewart, wrote his great classic, The New Despotism, down to the present day, there have been warnings that parliaments, irrespective of how elected, are no longer free deliberate assemblies, but rubber stamps for the permanent bureaucracy with Members beholden primarily to party dictators.
It is strange that if Mr. Fitzgerald feels that electoral "reform" is the answer to corruption, he did not draw attention to the corruption associated with the modern dictatorial party system. We can agree with Mr. Fitzgerald about the problems with governments where "there are relatively few formal restraints upon the exercise of power by the government of the day". Why then did he not recommend that at the very least, the Queensland Upper House be restored? The many critics of the Bjelke-Petersen government also ignore this proposal, and in doing so agree with Sir Joh himself, who failed to restore to Queenslanders what a Labor government took away from them. All politicians like power.
The "gerrymander" myth cannot mask the fact that a growing number of Queensland electors related to what they perceived to be the qualities of leadership and values of Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen. As we said at the time, Sir Joh was badly advised on the "Joh for P.M.", and his subsequent political demise started there. Sir Robert Sparkes primarily regarded Sir Joh as a vote getter who could be used to further his own power strategy. But in helping to undermine Sir Joh, he has fatally wounded the Queensland National Party, which will pay a heavy electoral price at the next State elections.
Unless some criminal charges are laid against Sir Joh, and proven, the worst that can be said against him is that in spite of his authoritarian style and his major "blind spot", on Japanese investments, he was extremely naive about some of his appointments. But he did stand up against trade union thuggery, tried to keep "progressive" education out of the schools and his family life reflected Christian values. It was for these reasons that he was anathema to the secular humanists.
In using the Fitzgerald report to attempt to smear the former Premier, what the media are really doing is to attack not only the great majority of Queenslanders but that majority of Australians, who are still basically decent people.
By David Thompson
"The Australian" (5/7/89) reports that key Australian Ministers want States to be legally obliged to limit, and then reduce emissions contributing to the greenhouse effect under the convention. "The convention should also require countries to report to an international body, which would monitor compliance with the convention."
Meanwhile, the "Weekend Australian"
(1/7/89) reported that Queensland has lost a High Court challenge
to the Federal Government's power to use World Heritage Listing
to lock up tropical rainforests: "All 7 judges rejected arguments
by Queensland that the Commonwealth could be required to prove
the listed areas were part of Australia's cultural heritage''
. . . . They said the power of the Commonwealth to control
properties in the State was restricted to those areas "whose
protection or conservation has become Australia's international
duty". And who decides just what our 'international duty'
is? The World Heritage Committee!
So there we have it. The last two Federal governments have succeeded in weakening our sovereignty to the point where the decision of an international body - World Heritage Commission - can now make decisions that cannot be overturned by an Australian court! In both cases 'the environment' was used as the excuse for a transfer of power from Australia to foreign powers.
Hawke proposes to take the next step with the greenhouse convention. His green hit man, Senator Richardson, also believes that it could be possible to win a referendum to transfer environmental legislative power to the Commonwealth from the States. Only 2 newspapers reported that Richardson's remarks were made at a Fabian Society conference at Lorne, Victoria, on May 21st! All this, of course, is grist to the well-oiled Fabian mill. With Prime Minister Hawke also giving his tacit support to the proposal for a referendum on the environment, the stage is being set for another major constitutional battle.
KEATING DEFENDS THE A.B.S. 'HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE SURVEY'
In a letter published in The Australian, July 4th, Paul Keating, Treasurer, reveals that his Australian Bureau of Statistics is feeling the electoral heat over its outrageous "H.E.S.". He takes a swipe at Senator Shirley Walters and Mr. Don Cameron, and airily dismisses the threats, the intimidation, the fines (which have actually occurred!) as "untrue".
It has been an outstanding success, says Keating. He complains, "In the longer term, it is the trust of the community in the overall integrity of the A.B.S. which is being put at risk by the campaign of disruption being waged by a handful of politicians. All Australians have a stake in ensuring that the A.B.S. can continue to perform its vital role". Keating would believe this!
The "role" of the A.B.S. is what is uppermost: the integrity and sovereignty of the individual is regarded with contempt. No, the League of Rights does NOT have full trust in the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Its intimidations of ordinary citizens are outrageous. The "disruption" complained of by Paul Keating is the normal objection of individuals to unwarranted intrusions into their personal lives (with threats of fines, and other intimidations).
DAMAGING BLOW FOR GREENIES"A.G. Stokes", of Elsternwick (Melbourne suburb), makes a good point in The Australian (July 7th):
"I hold no brief for Robin Gray, but I have been saddened by the recent political events in Tasmania. "In his article (26/6) Richard Farmer told us we should not be surprised when a politician dishonours an undertaking given during an election campaign when he assumes office. "I accept this observation on the conduct of professional politicians but I would not have expected that each one of the five independent members would have dishonoured their pre-election promise that they would not form an alliance with either political party and would not move a vote of no confidence in the Government. "It seems that the lust for power corrupts even the purest environmentalist. "I think the five greenies have served their cause a damaging blow which will have a long term effect."
NO CUSHION OF WEALTHIn the Melbourne suburban newspaper, the Malvern-Caulfield Progress (July 5th), Mr. Robert Lawson, M.L.C. (Victorian Upper House) for Higinbotham Province, comments: "The Prime Minister (Mr. Hawke) was not able to make a success of running either Bourke's A.C.T.U. department store or the chain of Solo petrol stations that showed such promise a few years ago. He could not make those enterprises profitable, but he had the vanity to think that he could run a nation. "Australia is unfortunate in that it is led by two politicians, neither of whom would understand the basics of managing a successful business. Treasurer Paul Keating has nothing going for him but an acid tongue and a determination to reject any new ideas for repairing a badly damaged economy.
"He says that our problems are due to our successes. Try telling that to ordinary Australians who are struggling to survive and bring up their families decently as our country heads down the track to becoming a banana republic. "There is no doubt that a lot of people are making a lot of money but this transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich is being done by artificial means.
I am a student of Victorian history and it seems to me that in Australia we have a lot of the frenzy of speculation and the desire to become rich by any means that precipitated the great crash of the 1890s. "In those days, too, we had a load of debt that could not be sustained. We relied then, as we do now, on the export of minerals and farm produce. When the prices of these commodities went down our economy collapsed into a deep depression. Perhaps these things can be managed better now but nothing alters the fact that our overseas debt can only be sustained while our farm produce and minerals are bringing high prices abroad. "Inevitably those prices will go down. We are borrowing money every month to keep the economy on an even keel during this time of high prices and successful exporting. What will happen when our overseas income falls? "The victims will not be the wealthy mates of Mr. Hawke and Mr. Keating. Those who suffer will be the average Australians who do not have a cushion of wealth to protect them from hard times."
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