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4 May 1990. Thought for the Week: "Modern education rejects and excludes from the curriculum of necessary studies the whole religious tradition of the West. It abandons and neglects as no longer necessary the study of the whole classical heritage of the great works of great men. Thus there is an enormous vacuum where until a few decades ago there was the substance of education."
Alfred Noyes in The Edge of the Abyss (1944)
CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME
The destructive floods which have affected parts of Queensland, N.S.W. and Victoria, once again remind Australians that, in the words of Dorothy Mackellar's famous poem, "My Country", Australia is a land of great contrasts, a "wild and willful land", periodically experiencing "flood and fire and famine." But Dorothy Mackellar went on to say that Nature does lavishly repay "a thousand fold" for much of the damage done. Large numbers of primary producers have actually benefited from the soaking rains that in some areas removed the spectre of continuing drought.
Although the physical destruction has been enormous, with both crop and stock losses horrendous, with thousands losing both homes and possessions, Australia is such an enormously wealthy nation in terms of productive capacity, of vast natural resources, that many of the losses could be readily replaced in a relatively short time if the Federal Government used its constitutional power to create the necessary millions, debt free, to get a massive re-construction programme under way.
The Australian people will, as usual, respond generously to fundraising and other forms of help in an endeavour to assist their fellow Australians. But much more than this is necessary. No town in Australia should be allowed to die because of lack of finance. Australia has already lost far too many of its small country towns and cannot afford to lose any more.
The Hawke-Keating policy of "cooling" the economy has produced recession conditions. The rate of bankruptcies continues to grow. High interest rates are more destructive than floods. There is an old, and very wise, saying, that charity begins at home, and now is the time for the Federal Government to give attention to the fact that flood afflicted Australians should be given the same consideration as overseas nations benefiting from foreign aid programmes. We offer our sympathy to all those who have suffered.
THE ABDICATION OF THE NATIONAL PARTY
The recent Gallipoli celebrations have demonstrated that a growing number of young Australians are starting to search for their roots. This is a healthy and encouraging development. But few commentators on the Gallipoli epic have dared to mention that the young men who stormed the cliffs at Gallipoli were of Anglo-Celtic background with a very big proportion from rural Australia that in turn had a relatively higher proportion of the Australian population than is the case today.
The forerunner of the National Party, the Country Party, emerged as a major force in Australian politics after the First World War. Its membership contained a large number of ex-servicemen. In its early years it reflected more of the values of traditional Australia than did other parties, although in some areas, such as immigration, there was an affinity with the old-time Labor Party. This affinity reflected itself in Victoria during the Great Depression years when a minority Country Party, one which tackled the subject of debt-finance, governed with the support of the Victorian Labor Party.
At a time when the States had greater financial sovereignty than they have today, the Victorian Country Party pursued a policy of relatively low taxation. Reflecting traditional Australian values, and a greater democratic spirit than exists today, the N.S.W. Country Party permitted multiple Country Party candidates at elections, permitting the rank and file of the Country Party members, as well as the electorate generally, to select their own politicians. It should, of course, be mentioned that at one time the rank and file members of all parties had a bigger say in the choice of their candidates than is the case today.
Rural Australia has been the custodian of the traditional value system of Australia. The spirit of independence and resourcefulness has, under the pressure of a destructive debt system, seen attempts to challenge the dictatorship of finance. Some of the original policies of the Country Party bear witness to this. But there has been a progressive retreat over the years. Rather than take an independent stand, members of the Country, then the National Party, were lured by the temptation of power and "perks" to believe that they could best serve the rural community, including the provincial cities and towns that provide essential centres for social as well as business life, by entering into Coalitions with a Liberal Party suffering from a terminal disease resulting from a retreat from its original philosophical base.
The enemies of traditional Australia have carefully noted that the message of regeneration brought by the League of Rights was more readily heeded in rural Australia than in the big city ant-heaps, and might result in the National Party obstructing the betrayal of traditional Australia. The spiritual infiltrators of the National Party were used to spearhead some of the more venomous attacks on the League. Part of the spiritual infiltration of the National Party is the result of the sons and daughters of rural Australians attending centres of "higher learning" and becoming the victims of a "progressive education" which is one of the biggest threats to the future of Australia.
Image making became increasingly important, resulting in part for the disastrous election of Charles Blunt to lead the Federal National Party at the last elections. He was the first Country-National Party leader to lose his own seat at an election. There are many genuine academics that have a lot of commonsense. But it is the "smart" academics - Prime Minister Hawke says Australia needs more "smart" people - who are primarily responsible for the disastrous road Australia is travelling.
The surprise election of Mr. Tim Fischer as the new Federal National Party leader may prove some type of a small blessing in disguise. Fischer's greatest asset may be the fact that he obviously is not "smart", but he is talking about the National Party going back to its roots in "the bush" and supporting Central Council's traditional values. But in Queensland the members of a desperate National Party have decided that they need someone both young and "smart". Thus the surprise choice of 24-year-old Mr. Bill O'Chee to fill the Senate vacancy resulting from Mr. John Stone's attempt to enter the House of Representatives. We have no doubt that Bill O'Chee is an admirable young man, but his background and reported comments do not suggest that he is going to make any contribution to the regeneration of traditional Australia.
An Oxford law graduate, O'Chee is self-employed trading in Latin American currencies. O'Chee certainly sounds "smart" as witnessed by his comments that the National Party must shed its "old fogey" image. By electing O'Chee from urban Queensland, the Queensland National Party deprived North Queensland of representation, defeating Mrs. Beth Honeycombe. John Stone said that the election of O'Chee was "an outstanding result" and that O'Chee's election "demonstrated the Nationals' ability to surprise". We are not surprised about anything concerning the party system.
The reality is that the National Party's progressive alliance with the Liberal Party means even less effective representation for traditional Australia than previously. Like the National Farmers' Federation, the National Party has been betraying those whom it is allegedly representing, and its eventual formal amalgamation with the Liberal Party would be the logical end of the betrayal.
What is emerging is a greatly changed Australian political situation with traditional Australia awaiting the emergence of some new political movement, which will represent the values upon which Australia was developed. We remain confident that there is a new stirring at the Australian grassroots, which will produce a new type of political leadership.
The division of power is a fundamental principle, which helps to ensure the protection of the individual against totalitarianism. Queensland Premier Goss is upsetting his Federal colleagues by refusing to agree to their national companies legislation. Labor Senator Schacht of South Australia is scathing in his attack on Premier Goss, who says that he should be "disciplined" for his "appalling parochialism and shortsightedness", and for defying Labor Party policy. Schacht was addressing a Fabian Society conference in Melbourne last weekend. Schacht said that it was "extraordinary" that the strongest opposition to national companies legislation was coming from State Labor Governments, not from the N.S.W. Greiner Liberal-National Party Government.
With the renewed attempt to hasten political union in Western Europe, by 1993, Margaret Thatcher is increasingly standing as a minority of one. The major thrust for unification is coming from Germany, where the powerful Trilateral banks are the major force which sees a united Germany as an instrument in an on going programme of global centralisation. There are some horrendous explosions ahead as a result of the changing European and Soviet situation.
The establishment of an Israeli Government headed by former terrorist leader Shamir, will see greater pressure on the Palestinians with more expansion into the occupied areas. The Middle East situation graphically denies all talk of growing stability. Israel under Shamir is capable of fomenting another major military conflict.
THE U.N. CHILD CONVENTION
from The Australian, April 27th "Childhood is a period of learning; a time when, guided by our parents, teachers and other responsible adults, we learn first of all the basic skills of living (walking, talking, etc.); then the information, qualities and virtues required to take our place in society (equal respect for all persons; respect for property; for truth; a balanced attitude to relationships; respect for the law, etc.). "And because as children we are learning and considered to be immature (that is, not yet ready to take our place in the world) we are excused from certain responsibilities (most obviously to earn an income and provide for ourselves).
"The vehicle which over the centuries has acted as the cradle of our learning and which has provided all our needs has been the family. "But the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child would change all this. Because it would grant children absolute civil rights, and largely remove the parental role of guiding children in the exercise of such rights, without at the same time imposing the responsibility on children. "At the most simplistic level, the convention could destroy the concept of an 'R' rated film or books in plastic wrappers under the counter. Because if children are to have the right to seek and receive information and ideas of all kinds (Article 13) surely this means that we can no longer protect them from exposure to Xaviera Hollander, Debbie Does Dallas, or the more grisly offerings of this genre. "And if our children - our girls of 13 - decide to exercise their new right of freedom of association (Article 14) and practise what they've been watching by 'freely associating' with anyone who comes along, what can their parents do?
"Parents Will Be The Losers
"The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child will destroy the protections of childhood, and alter parent/child relationships. It will strip from parents their role as guardians of their child's moral development. "For even if we do not pass laws enacting specific provisions of the Convention, the fact of its signing and its provisions will be taught as part of the human rights component of social studies in many schools. Educational kits on 'children's rights' will proliferate. And parents will be left, vainly attempting to teach children responsibility and family values.
"Of course, there are dysfunctional families, where children do not receive the nurture and loving guidance which is their true right. The answer to this is not to smash all families with a sledgehammer - but to help these families to function better. The answer is not to sign the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. Strengthening the family is the best way of truly protecting 'children." (Susan Bastick, State Secretary, The Australian Family Association, N.S.W.)
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