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31 January 1992. Thought for the Week: "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be."
U.S.A. President Thomas Jefferson
THE MESSAGE OF COMPASS
by Eric D. Butler
The Compass question is not merely one of accountancy; it concerns the subject of whether Australia has the spiritual strength to survive. The amazing spirit being demonstrated by Compass staff and supporters is a tremendous tonic at the present time. This is the type of spirit required to save Australia. Bryan Grey, the inspiration and driving force behind the Compass project, belongs to that breed of Australians who made the nation by "having a go". Compass revolutionalised air transport throughout Australia. The social impact has been enormous. For the first time Australians could move around their own country at a reasonable price. Members of families who had never previously been able to come together now found that it was possible to do this. During a time of severe depression conditions, Compass generated growth.
While the accountants will argue that Compass discounted airfares to an unrealistically low level, they demonstrated that the Australian public had been exploited for years by the comfortable arrangements imposed by the two-air service policy. The no-frills policy of Compass was typically Australian. Those who flew Compass can vouch for the friendly, efficient and generally excellent service.
One of the most inspiring aspects of the Compass operation, as witnessed by the efforts of the Compass staff, is the spirit of the staff. It is difficult to recall any parallel in Australian history. It has been stated by a representative on an overseas airline that Compass has developed an asset, which is the envy of other airlines: the tremendous esprit de corps of Compass staff. Compass has been a genuinely all-Australian project.
Bryan Grey was in comparative retirement when the at long last policy of airline deregulation was introduced. From a strictly financial aspect, he did not need to return to aviation. But clearly he was a man with a vision and he believed that Australians deserved better than they had been getting. He decided to "have a go".
His capital base was almost certainly too small, but it was provided by Australians. There was some bad luck. All of his chosen aircraft were not delivered on schedule. The unforeseen Gulf War forced oil prices upwards and had a devastating effect on fuel costs. But one of the biggest problems Compass had to face was its inability to gain ready access to air terminals. Generally overlooked is the fact that in the conflict with Ansett and Australian concerning heavily discounted airfares, Compass lacked the financial backing which Ansett and Australian enjoyed.
One of the most revealing aspects of the Compass affair is the manner in which the mass media has been used to feed out disinformation. There has been little reference to the fact that Rupert Murdoch is the joint owner of Ansett, along with Mr. Bob Hawke's close friend, Sir Peter Abeles. There is little doubt that what can only be described as "dirty" tactics have been used against Compass. But in spite of all this, and the fact that large numbers of people have been left holding Compass tickets, there is overwhelming public support for Compass.
The instincts of the Australian people have been
sound on this issue, which could eventually have far-reaching political
implications. There is no good reason why Federal Government should
not underwrite the finance required to get Compass back into the air.
In financial terms, the amount required is relatively small compared
with what has been wasted on foreign aid and a lavish contribution to
the terrorist from Africa, Nelson Mandela.
There is no doubt that the Compass project has captured the imagination of the Australian people. There is little doubt that the majority of Australians want Compass to continue. What is required is the maximum of pressure on individual Members of Parliament, demanding that they demand the appropriate action to get Compass in to the air again as soon as possible.
THE CANBERRA BLOCKADE
from David Thompson
The tactic of organising at least a thousand
people to stand in the summer sun on a picket line around the Parliament,
and prevent anyone from leaving or entering until the demands are met,
is ambitious. If this is seriously being suggested, it is unrealistic
to the point of irresponsibility. The following points should be carefully
THE APPLICATION OF PRESSURE
ROLE OF THE INDEPENDENT
NEW JAPANESE CITY PROPOSALWe note press reports last week (The Australian, 24/1) that plans for a new technology-testing city are being drawn up by the Japanese construction company, Shimizu Corporation. Under the proposal, the city would be built near Broome in the Great Sandy Desert, in W.A. It would have a population of 300,000, and could become the international headquarters of a future Pacific economic community, according to the reports. It would now appear that the M.F.P., upon which the League sounded the alarm in 1989, has become a bureaucratic nightmare, and has lost significant Japanese support. This must be partly due to grassroots Australian opposition. It is likely that much of the cost of the M.F.P. at Gillman, near Adelaide, will be borne by Australia, while foreign investors/speculators may or may not decide to use the facilities. We have been left "holding the baby". Perhaps Japanese ambition will be transferred to a new city in the W.A. desert?
WHAT IMMIGRATION REALLY COSTSfrom The Australian, January 2nd
"The article by Dr. Colin Rubenstein (The Australian, 23/12/91) provided a shallow and biased account of recent public debate about immigration and multiculturalism in Australia. "For instance, it was claimed that immigration policy was not driven by 'pampered ethnic lobbies'. However, according to Senator Walsh, Australia's immigration program during the late 1980s was dramatically expanded - primarily because of pressure on Federal Cabinet from ethnic leaders. "In addition, Dr. Rubenstein clearly misunderstood the basis of my claim, from my recent book, "The Cost of Multiculturalism", that multiculturalism costs Australia at least $7 billion per year. My estimate of the fiscal cost of multicultural spending was $2 billion per year, not $7 billion as claimed. "Such spending not only involves provision of post arrival services for recent immigrants, it also involves covert funding and subsidisation of ethnic groups, often decades after they have settled in Australia. Multicultural expenditures also involve job preference in government employment, education and training programs for persons with non-English speaking background. There is strong evidence to suggest that these programs are neither equitable nor effective in helping those in genuine individual need.
"The remaining $5 billion cost of multiculturalism comprises indirect costs - including $4.8 billion lost output, productivity and additional government English language training, caused by lack of English language skills in the Australian workplace.
"Collusion or bipartisanship by the major political parties in support of multiculturalism means that an informed public debate about the costs and benefits of multiculturalism has yet to occur in Australia. Recent overseas experience illustrates that the absence of informed debate about multiculturalism and immigration is contrary to harmonious community relations and the national interest." (Stephen Rimmer, Belconnen, A.C.T.)
MIGRANT CHOICE, NOT COMPULSION
from The Australian, January 24th
"So now we know! Ms. Jenny Hoskin, spokeswoman for the Department of Immigration (The Australian, 21/1) confirms that not only do we not have any effective control over immigration, but that if you come into Australia on a totally illegal basis, you will receive a warm welcome that includes free local travel and a guarantee that you will be allowed to stay. "On the other hand, if you overstay your tourist visa time, you will be searched for and deported - unless you are 'ethnic' preferably from central Europe or Asia. "If you apply to come as an immigrant, especially if you are from the U.K. or any other basically English-speaking country, forget it, you will be told that you cannot come. "So there you are, all you would be immigrants; take a boat from any Asian country and receive a government guarantee that you will be allowed to stay. But make it a bit easier on ourselves, get the boat to land at Bondi or somewhere reasonable." (Geoff Cass, Randwick, N.S.W.)
"It has been said that general staffs are busy
preparing for the last war. Ours are preparing for wars that would never
happen, neglecting less spectacular - but more real - commitments. "Thus
we have concentrated our long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft,
the Orions, at Edinburgh in South Australia, to watch for incursions
coming presumably from Russian bases in Antarctica. By the time they
get to the north of Australia their time on patrol is reduced by half.
"Similarly we base our Leopard tanks at Puckapunyal, Victoria, to fend
off attacks from Tasmania, while no tank transporters exist to take
them to the north. "Our airforce looks for AWACS aircraft to control
major air battles while, with the exception of Darwin, there are no
ATC/surveillance radars between Perth and Townsville and aircraft can
land undetected on hundreds (some say thousands) of disused wartime
airstrips in the north.
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