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23 November 1990. Thought for the Week: "It is legally unchallengeable that the party system exists and operates ONLY because the Australian people have been deliberately misled into believing that, other than by a dictatorship, there is no other way that Parliament could function effectively and efficiently; that despite its many faults the party system is the only effective and efficient democratic way of governing the country. This is Constitutionally and legally false .Once the Australian people are given the opportunity to learn and grasp that their Commonwealth and State Constitutions, and judicial interpretations thereof, provide the people with a practical legal alternative to the party system to democratically operate the seven Australian Parliaments then, save those with a vested interest in the party system and its manipulation, the electors will cease to use the party system."
A.A. Chresby, in Your Will Be Done
SWISS CONCEPT 'CATCHES ON' IN CANADA
Eric D. Butler reports
But there is a ray of light in the situation: The Federal Government's attitude is helping to generate increasing interest in the adoption of at least some features of the Swiss system of the electors' veto. Independent Western Canadian M.P. Mr. Alex Kindy, from Calgary, Alberta, has moved a private Members Bill at Ottawa, seeking an amendment to the Canadian Constitution to permit electors to initiate binding referenda on any matter falling under federal jurisdiction. Kindy is a former Conservative M.P. who was expelled from the Conservative Party after representing the clearly expressed views of his electors by opposing the G.S.T.
In moving his bill Kindy stressed what is now generally accepted throughout the English-speaking democratic countries: The traditional parliamentary system has broken down and is so far removed from the needs and interests of the voter that it requires an overhaul. The most significant reaction to Kindy's bill was that the two major Canadian parties, the Conservatives and the Liberals, united in strongly opposing it. In spite of their conflicts concerning who should govern Canada, the major parties reject any proposals that would enable the electors to break up their cosy little world in which they take turns in exercising almost complete power.
Mr. Kindy said, "We have a system which, in effect, places our leaders for a period of five years in a position that is quasi-dictatorial. In Canada we need a system of checks and balances. This can be provided by a direct poll of people, a referendum process." He went on to say that party solidarity snuffs out individual initiative observing, "If you trust people, you'd be amazed at how good the judgment of the average person is".
Government opponents of the Kindy proposal made the astonishing claim that there was nothing wrong with the present system, the Liberal Opposition also agreeing, claiming that the only problem was the policies of the Conservative Government, and that all would be well if the Liberals were in office!
While the major parties easily crushed the Kindy bill in the House of Commons at Ottawa, the moving of the bill has resulted in a growing discussion across the nation. Ugly incidents in Ontario, where militant English speaking activists oppose the imposition of compulsory bilingualism, and the unrest in French speaking Quebec, are focusing increasing attention upon the urgent necessity for the adoption of the basic principles of the Swiss system in Canada - if the nation is to hold together. Genuine unity is only possible through decentralisation and diversity. The Kindy move is a significant contribution to a growing grassroots movement across Canada. I have yet to meet one person on my current lecture tour who does not agree that Canada needs a major constitutional change to avoid disaster.
MIDDLE EAST MYSTERY UNRAVELS
from Jeremy Lee
As our previous report showed, it was
not simply silence from the U.S. President Bush's Ambassador
in Iraq, April Glaspie, was instructed by James Baker to convey
to Hussein the information that the U.S. was "not concerned"
with any dispute between Iraq and Kuwait. It is the same James
Baker who is currently trying to drum up sufficient support
from the national leaders whose troops are currently supporting
the U.S. in Saudi Arabia to launch the first strike.
The Victorian Certificate of Education
by Barry Tattersall
"But now Victoria, under the influence of the Socialist Left and its 'equality of outcome' philosophy, has institutionalised the trivia by the introduction of the Victorian Certificate of Education (V.C.E.). "This certificate is awarded to all students who participate in the final two years of secondary schooling, regardless of the subjects studied or their success in them. As long as a student completes the required work assignments, he/she will have satisfactorily completed the course. There will be no discrimination in our education system, thank you!
"All subjects are to have the same value; competitive examinations will be abolished; universities may have to introduce their own entrance exams (and probably remedial numeracy and literacy courses as well!), and able children will be bored, unchallenged and under prepared to gain the most from their future educational opportunities. "Parents will need to oversee their children's education much more thoroughly than they have in the past. They must encourage their children to study the most academic subjects (mathematics, history, etc.) of which they are capable, and to leave the less academic offerings (dance style, media, etc.) to their leisure time.
"Parents must urge their school administrators
to use a standard tertiary education admission test to ensure
their children are prepared as well for tertiary education
as are children from the other States. "A test of this type
is already available and is highly regarded both here and
overseas. The Scholastic Aptitude Test (S.A.T.) is used in
the United States and by teenagers from the U.S. in many countries
of the world. It is available in Australia and is widely accepted
by Australian Universities.
The V.C.E. was designed to be a 'leveler' so that students in these schools, from the working class suburbs particularly, would achieve similar results from their final two years at school, as students from the private schools and from better backgrounds. But this sort of crude social engineering will discriminate against the very students it is supposed to help. Because of the lack of external examinations available to all, from all backgrounds and schools, the name and reputation of a school will determine the response of an employer or tertiary institution to a presenting student under the new system.
"The V.C.E. is just another symptom of a very sick society. Victoria is very ill - financially, socially, politically and educationally. Most of us know this. What we fail to recognise is that we are also spiritually sick, and our spiritual illness is the cause of all our other illnesses.
SUBSIDISING THE SOVIETS
by David Thompson
At what interest rates will the Soviets
be offered credits? Mr. Beggs does not say. At the rates available
to desperate Australian farmers - 17-22%? Certainly not! If
it is possible to make credit available to one of the most
brutal regimes that the world has ever seen when it is on
its last legs, is it not possible to make credit available
to our primary producers to keep them on their properties?
Why offer the Soviet Union better interest rates than our
Opposition leader John Hewson is reported as endorsing the idea, suggesting that counter trade agreements be established between Australia and the U.S.S.R., with Australia exporting wool, and receiving Soviet goods and services instead. What possible goods could Australia import from the Soviets? Food, perhaps, when the Russian people are at the point of open revolt because of food shortages?
Ask Some Hard Questions
The Future of Wool
A YACKANDANDAH ACTIONIST (VIC.) sends us some interesting information. This actionist stated that Gough Whitlam was viewed on T.V. some little time ago addressing some Brisbane supporters of the A.L.P. The matter arose of people being dispossessed of their savings. According to Gough Whitlam, the solution was a simple one. All that was necessary was the proclamation of Part 4 of the Commonwealth Financial Corporation Act. The actionist asks why the so-called Opposition didn't raise the matter. This actionist raised the issue with his Federal Member, who replied: Thank you for your letter enquiring about the Commonwealth Financial Corporations Act passed through Parliament in 1947. "Actually this Bill was passed in 1974. "It is true the Act was designed to give uniform control by the Reserve Bank over all financial institutions right across Australia. "While the Act received the Royal Assent, Part 4 of the Act that dealt with the power of the Reserve Bank over Financial Institutions was never proclaimed. "I have made enquiries as to why this is so and have been informed that it is only because the Government at that time and Governments since that time, have not felt it necessary to give the Reserve Bank these powers ."
'FLEXIBLE' LAWS FOR MINORITIES WILL TEAR AUSTRALIA ASUNDERfrom The Age (Melbourne), November 13th "In April this year, I and many critics of multiculturalism expressed fears that the Federal Government's intention to review laws in the light of the multicultural agenda would lead to separate legal treatment for minorities and split the nation along religious and ethnic lines. "At the time, The Age ran an editorial supporting the review ('Changing Laws for the Changing Society', 17/4). Nevertheless, the editorial warned against 'separate legal treatment for minorities', reaffirmed a commitment to 'the rule of law', freedom of speech and religion, and equality of men and women, and stated that 'the host society is entitled to assume that those who migrate accept the laws of the country'.
"In the report, Call to Make the Law More Tolerant (The Age, 7/11), we now find the president of the Law Reform Commission, Justice Evatt, calling on law making authorities to change the country's laws to take into account 'different religions and cultures represented in the country'. She specifically called for alterations, or 'flexibility', in family and property law to accommodate Islamic laws. "If carried out, Justice Evatt's suggested reforms would open up a veritable Pandora's Box. Presumably, Justice Evatt is aware of the significance of legal precedent, and special legal treatment for one ethnic or religious group would lead to calls for similar consideration towards other communities whose religious and cultural practices conflict with established legal norms in Australia.
"Taking into account a literalist, fundamentalist application of various religious and cultural practices of certain minorities in this country, we could soon see legal recognition of such practices as dowry bargaining, arranged marriages, sexual inequality, domestic violence, enforced sexual, ethnic and caste segregation, and perhaps even 'bride burning' and 'honor killings'. "Mark my words, the day we abandon the concept of equality before the law, this country will be torn asunder." (Raymond Watson, North Melbourne)
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