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31 May 1991. Thought for the Week: "In order to understand the unquestionable failure of present democracy it is necessary to understand its nature, what it can do from its nature, and what it cannot do. The literal meaning of the word is, of course, 'rule by the people', but I should prefer to call it the will of the people. It is not rule by the majority, an important distinction to note. The idea of party government is comparatively modern . and contains in itself a subtle perversion of the democratic idea . There is key word that forms the solution of... perhaps the greatest of all problems that confront the world... That word is 'responsibility'. We have got to make individuals bear the consequences of their actions."
JEFF KENNETT SHOULD IGNORE N.S.W. ELECTION RESULT
Irrespective of the merits or de-merits
of his campaign to force the Victorian Kirner Government to
an early election, Victorian Liberal leader Jeff Kennett should
not be influenced in any way by the N.S.W. State Election
result. We are not numbered among those who believed that
the slightly arrogant and complacent N.S.W. Liberal Premier,
Mr. Nick Greiner, was certain to coast to a comfortable victory.
But the Greiner Government was a high-tax one, which Labor shrewdly exploited, also raising the prospect of Greiner implementing a consumption tax if re-elected. And electors generally do not like to be told by the media oracles that it is certain they are going to reelect any government. There was widespread disaffection with the National Party, Local Nationals in Tamworth so resented central interference with their choice of candidates that they selected their own and ran him as an Independent. He thrashed the official candidates.
One of the basic truths of party politics is that governments are voted OUT, not Oppositions voted IN. We have no hesitation in predicting that when the Victorian electors have an opportunity to vote, they will reject the Labor Government in a landslide. All that can prevent this is some act of complete stupidity by the Kennett-led Opposition. Jeff Kennett is not our favourite politician, and his proposal of retrospective legislation is dubious, but he must be given credit for being innovative.
On the question of depriving politicians of that part of their superannuation paid by the taxpayers, he has hit a raw nerve. He has brought to the public's attention the astronomical amount they are paying to politicians who have by any standards been disastrous failures. It will be recalled that Ted Mack resigned from the N.S.W. State Parliament on this issue, claiming it was outrageous that politicians, well paid while in parliament, should then continue to draw huge sums after leaving parliament.
If Victorian Labor politicians will not resign in order to make an early election possible, then the Coalition must use the Victorian Legislative Council to force the Kirner Government to the polls. Jeff Kennett and his colleagues have to forget all the nonsense about some alleged sacred convention that Upper Houses do not use their constitutional rights to deny Supply to a government and force a poll. It is not holy writ that, irrespective of what damage it is inflicting on the community, a government is entitled to continue to do so until the next election. And, of course, in the process, the politicians are not only continuing to draw their salaries, but are increasing their superannuation payouts.
There is a short answer to those who argue that politicians must be paid well and offered big superannuation payouts: there is no shortage of applicants for the job! Comparing government with a commercial organisation indicates a false understanding of the correct role of government. The overwhelming majority of Victorian electors want to have a say about their politicians as soon as possible. Jeff Kennett's duty is to ensure that every avenue is explored which makes this possible.
Ironically, while Liberal Greiner in N.S.W. is attempting to downgrade Upper Houses, Jeff Kennett can make use of the Victorian Legislative Council to ensure that the electors have a say as soon as possible. By doing so he will help to demonstrate the value of Upper Houses in a genuine democracy where there is a division of power. There will, of course, be screams of rage from the liberal intellectuals and others. Kennett and his colleagues should ignore all this.
There is no indication that a Kennett Government will tackle the really basic economic issues confronting the State. But he has demonstrated in the past that he is not afraid to criticise Canberra, even when a Liberal-National Government has been in office. He has indicated that he is not enthusiastic about the rapid dismantling of the protection of Australian industry. He might prove a type of counterbalance to the internationalism of a John Hewson Government, which will certainly be elected because the electors are eager to vote Federal Labor OUT. The debate concerning who should lead Labor is one about whether Bob Hawke or Paul Keating is going to be defeated.
President George Bush has at last been forced to admit openly that the Zionist State of Israel is the major obstacle to any peace agreement in the Middle East. Speaking recently in Jerusalem on the 24th anniversary of the 1967 Six Day War, Israeli Prime Minister Shamir bluntly said that Israel had no intention of giving up any Arab territory, including East Jerusalem. Showing their contempt for President Bush, they were blatantly establishing new settlements in the occupied territories at the very time that U.S. Secretary of State Baker was visiting Israel. We seem to recall that President Bush declared war on Saddam Hussein because he would not obey U.N. resolutions. There is no need for President Bush to declare war on Israel to make it comply with U.N. sanctions. All he has to do is to cut off the massive economic and military support provided by the U.S.A. He will not do this because the real strength of the International Zionist movement is in the U.S.A., not Israel. And so there will be more unrest in the Middle East.
"The evil that men do lives after them." Both Liberal and Labor Governments were responsible for the premature granting of independence to Papua-New Guinea, allegedly in response to "world opinion". Former P.N.G. Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, commenting on the nation's slide into chaos, says, "Independence came too early," claiming that it should have continued under Australian control so that the people would have "learned discipline and respect". The recent acts of violence and destruction by P.N.G. university students provide further evidence of the time bomb ticking on Australia's front door. We wait with bated breath to hear what Fabian Gareth Evans, Minister for Foreign Affairs, has to say about developments.
The South African retreat away from law and order towards bloody chaos continues. When 1,000 Zulus invaded a Xhosa squatter camp and hacked at least 27 to death, and injured scores of others, they provided further evidence of the shape of things to come. This massacre came only 24 hours after police opened fire on hundreds of white farmers attacking a black township in Western Transvaal. Objective observers believe that South Africa is sliding towards civil war. No doubt this will result in the sending of yet another U.N. "peacekeeping" force.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed has reacted to a U.N. report that said Malaysia was lacking in human freedom, by launching into a harsh attack upon Australia's alleged treatment of Aborigines. It appears that the Prime Minister has been reading the Report of the Commission into the deaths of Aborigines in custody, accepting its allegations as factual.
CLEAN THOUGHTS NOT NEEDLES from The
Australian, May 21st
RACISM IN A CLASS OF ITS OWN from The
Australian, May 27th
THE FABIAN SCORCHED EARTH POLICYfrom David Thompson
With "free trade" being firmly in fashion, and Fabian front man Hawke moving to eliminate all tariffs by the year 2000, traditional Australian industry faces a bleak future. In general, Hewson and the Opposition support the programme. However, some of those in the Opposition ranks who are feeling electoral "heat" are reconsidering their position.
Senator Ron Boswell, facing the prospect of standing for an uncertain re-election, has attacked Senator John Button's statement that further tariff cuts would not hurt local industry. Boswell, in an attack of good sense, said that our industry cannot compete with third world wage structures, and subsidised agriculture in other countries. He is calling for the Tariff Reduction Bill to be withdrawn from the Senate, saying "this would give primary producers some relief against a flood of $2.134 billion of food products imported into Australia (annually), much of it subsidised". Boswell noted that tomato growers had lost 30% of their market in canning and processing tomatoes last year through the importing of 28,750 tonnes of canned tomatoes, "while our growers ploughed their crops in..." (The Australian, 22/5/91). Can Boswell get this message through to Tim Fisher, or is Fisher's seat too safe?
Meanwhile, in Victoria, Liberal leader Jeff Kennett is unpredictable enough to produce some sound reactions to the Fabian programme. Interviewed by Alan Wood for "The Australian" (20/5/91), Kennett clearly questioned the wisdom of Hewson's support for eliminating tariffs: "I happen to believe that the argument that we can abolish oil protection by ... 2000 is not only going to lead to a ... scorched earth policy, but I think it is naive in the world in which we deal ... I have an awful fear that in the year 2005, a lot of people are going to look back, if we have this sort of policy, and say, 'Gosh, well it was right in theory, but isn't it a pity we have no car industry, isn't it a pity we have no textile industry'..." Can Kennett get this message through to Dr. Hewson, or is he too certain of winning the next election???
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