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10 July 1992. Thought for the Week: "War is a terrible affliction - none of us at this time is likely to overlook that. But the danger which threatens us is that, in sheer horror of even more devastations, and, so far, completely inconclusive wars, we may surrender to a slavery so far-reaching and irrevocable that its contemplation is a glimpse of hell."
C.H. Douglas in Programme For The Third World War
LIBERALS AND THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK
The continuing attack on the Federal Reserve Bank Board by Federal Opposition leader Dr. John Hewson and his deputy, Mr. Peter Reith, obscures the central question concerning the true purpose of the nation's central bank. While it is legitimate to raise questions about the suitability of present members of the Board, including Trade Union official Mr. Bill Kelty, it is more important to ask what has been the role of the members of the Bank Board in fashioning financial policy. When pressed about the matter, Government spokesmen have always claimed that members of the Board are chosen from a wide cross section of community leaders. Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke was at one time a member of the Board. No doubt Mr. Hawke was responsible for his good friend Sir Peter Abeles being elected to the Board.
Dr. Hewson and Mr. Reith strongly object to Mr.
Bill Kelty being appointed for a further five year term, stressing that
they believe the Federal Reserve Bank should be completely "independent"
with the major task of pursuing a financial policy which ensures that
inflation remains permanently low. Dr. Hewson has spoken about creating
"zero inflation", and has made it clear that a major feature of his
proposed anti-inflation programme is "wage reform".
The attack on Bill Kelty does however, raise the important question of whether in fact the members of the Bank Board do fashion financial policy. It is now openly admitted by the officials of the Federal Reserve Bank that it was the bank's policies, which have been primarily responsible for the depression, which Prime Minister Keating has said, "we had to have". As in New Zealand, where similar financial policies have been imposed, one result has been a big reduction in the inflation rate.
Even Dr. Hewson and Mr. Reith admit that the inflation rate has been substantially reduced, but want a further reduction. The price for a lowering (not abolition) of the inflation rate is a national disaster, with record bankruptcies and massive unemployment. The social cost has been catastrophic. There has been widespread human suffering. Which raises the vital question, "Has Bill Kelty, as a member of the Bank Board during the years when his own trade union members have suffered along with everyone else, been one of those responsible for the worst depression in Australian history?"
What about the business representatives on the Board? If Kelty and his fellow Board members have not been the architects of the current financial policies of disaster, then what is their role? The reality is that all Federal Reserve Bank Boards have generally endorsed policies proposed by the executive officers of the Board, the Governor, Assistant Governor and other senior officials. But the Board members are just as guilty of what has happened, as are the bank's officials.
So far from the Federal Reserve Bank being granted complete independence to impose whatever policies it thinks fit, it is the responsibility of the elected representatives of the people, against whose real credit, productive capacity, all financial credit is issued, to direct the bank to implement the type of policies they feel would be in the best interests of the Australian people. The first step necessary is that the de-regulation of banking policy be abolished and banking policy be directed by the constitutionally elected Government of the people. Any political candidate who will not support the re-regulation of the Australian banking system should not be supported at the next Federal Elections.
THE MADNESS OF BEING POLITICALLY CORRECT
from David Thompson
THE ROLE OF THE CROWN
The new Liberal Premier in N.S.W., Premier Fahey, has struck a refreshingly new note for a Liberal leader. In an indirect criticism of Federal Liberal leader Hewson, Fahey says, "It's time to stop talking about fiscal restraint, rationalisation and privatisation and start telling ordinary people in ordinary terms what we're doing to keep taxes down and giving them and their children the opportunity to enjoy a safe and secure future." Fahey, who urged Dr. Hewson to stop talking like an accountant, says that while electors are "desperate to get rid of these failed Labor Governments, they remain unsure of where we wish to take them". Premier Fahey has a long way to go, but if he can persuade his State colleagues that they need more realistic policies, not simply a re-hash of the same policies being pursued by the Keating Government, he could shift the Liberals off the disaster course on which they are travelling.
In spite of the fact that the Adelaide Magistrates Court dismissed the major charges brought against Ivan Polyukhovich at the committal hearing, the prosecution in South Australia has announced that it was proceeding with the original charges. Hopefully this decision, which makes a mockery of the committal trial, will result in widespread protests to the Federal Attorney General.
The Prime Minister casts about to find any starting
point for his anti-Monarchy programme. He thinks he is on solid ground
in the attempt to remove the oath of allegiance for new citizens. In
this he was encouraged by an editorial in The Australian last
week. Keating insists that migrants should not have to swear allegiance
to Her Majesty the Queen, but to "Australia". Peter McDermott, Senior
Lecturer in Law at Queensland University, points out that the present
oath already includes this. McDermott (whom we have quoted before) gives
the full text of the oath, from the Australian Citizenship Act, 1948:
The farcical nature of Australia's war crimes trials was again demonstrated in Adelaide last week during the first stages of prosecuting the second victim, Mikolay Berezowsky. A 78-year-old witness was asked to identify Berezowsky. Instead of identifying the accused, the witness confidently put his glasses on, and pointed to a 76-year-old Texan lawyer, Mr. Robert Caswell, who was seated in the public gallery about 10 yards from Berezowsky! The astonished Texan said he was on the first day of his visit to Adelaide, and was attending because he was interested in court procedure. Despite the demonstrable injustice of such trials, and the enormous expense, now running into tens of millions of dollars, certain lobby groups insist that we proceed.
According to an article in the West Australian (l/7), Mr. Keating is now admitting the obvious: that increasingly efficient Australian industry will, generally, not re-absorb recession shed employees. Also, increased productivity will militate against the expansion of employment ... Our economy must grow faster, says Mr. Keating. And so say all of us, say the manufacturers of Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Indonesia, for starters. Gosh!
The new Baroness Thatcher, delivering her maiden speech in the House of Lords, ferociously condemned the British Prime Minister, Mr. Major, for his servile compliance with the Maastricht Treaty for the new European Community. She provides a focus for those Tory backbenchers who have grave misgivings about Europe, and who are beginning to feel increasing electoral "heat" on the issue. Major is not game to put the elements of the Treaty to a vote in the Commons, because 94 Tory M.Ps. defied him shortly after the election by signing a parliamentary motion opposing aspects of it. Mrs. Thatcher said that the British feel that too many of the rights that have been theirs for centuries are being given away. Mr. Major bleats about Europe being led by France and Germany, while Britain trails along in the rear.
The incredible psychological influence of the African National Congress has obviously captured the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Evans, with its "demand" that visiting sports groups visit the scene of the recent massacre at Biopatong. Evans thinks that this would be appropriate. How is the A.N.C. able to force the West to express guilt for killings of black Africans by other black Africans? It is admitted that all the evidence points to black violence by other blacks. The truth is that the A.N.C. is still strongly under the influence of the Communist Party of South Africa, past masters in the art of psycho-political warfare. The Australian rugby captain, yet to be captured by such devices, has said that it is quite inappropriate for players to make political statements to the world on South Africa, and that no conditions upon an Australian visit are acceptable.
While he remains within the confines of economic
orthodoxy, the astute columnist and analyst, Gregory Clark, provides
a refreshing and vigorous criticism of "economic rationalism". In his
column (The Australian, 3/7/92) last week, under the heading
"Rationalism a rabid dog that must be put down", he comments: "Even
if Australia carries out all the reforms the rationalists want, it will
still not be competitive - it will end up sacrificing its manufacturing
sector and creating massive unemployment for nothing ... every Asian
economy has relied on heavy government intervention and in most cases,
heavy protectionism. The lesson of Asia is that intervention and protectionism
can succeed if they are part of an intelligent industrial strategy.
They failed in Australia in the past, and in countries like India, because
such a strategy did not exist..."
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