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3 December 1993. Thought for the Week: "Man has been the victim of a disastrous illusion - the illusion of our ability to emancipate ourselves from natural laws. We have forgotten that nature never forgives. In order to ensure, society, as well as individuals, should conform to the laws of life."
Dr. Alexis Carrol in Man, The Unknown
THE GRAEME CAMPBELL TRAGEDY
by Eric D. Butler
He made it clear that he felt that the MABO decision by the High Court was disastrous, and that the proposed MABO legislation of Paul Keating would plunge the nation into a deep crisis, one in which Australians of Aboriginal background would suffer along with other Australians. Graeme Campbell left no doubt that it would be impossible for him to support the MABO legislation of Paul Keating. But when the moment came to vote Graeme Campbell cast his vote for the legislation he had so strongly criticised.
It would be easy to agree with those critics, and they are numerous, that Graeme Campbell has demonstrated that he is no more than just another Party hack with no real integrity, and that it is dangerous folly to accept the promises and statements of any party politician, but the writer disagrees. Graeme Campbell is a man who in the past has displayed considerable courage and independence of thought.
Having over a lifetime seen a number of politicians wilt when subjected to the standard anti-League of Rights smear tactics, I was well aware that Graeme Campbell had shown extraordinary courage in appearing on a League of Rights' platform. No one could charge the West Australian Member with a lack of courage. He used that platform to attack a number of sacred cows, ranging from "economic rationalism" to multiculturalism. It was a magnificent address in every way and has already enjoyed growing national support.
Why then has Graeme Campbell, who has lifted the morale of large numbers of demoralised Australians, acted in a way, which he must know, himself has badly undermined his credibility? One must sympathise with a man who publicly says he is "ashamed" of what he has done. Even though he describes himself as non-Christian, which probably explains in part the tragedy he is suffering.
Graeme Campbell is generally regarded as an honourable man. He clearly has a conscience and feels deeply that he has failed large numbers of his fellow Australians. He said in one radio interview that it was the pressure of his friends, not the opposition of his enemies, which resulted in him voting for what he had so scathingly criticised. If these friends are fellow Members of the Labor Party who support, at least in part his views, they may well argue that by ensuring that he was not expelled from the Labor Party, he was better placed to help affect changes inside the Party.
Graeme Campbell indicated that he was being influenced by this line of argument when he referred to Independent Ted Mack, whom he admired, but who had little influence in the Federal Parliament because he had been isolated. He felt that as an Independent he would also be isolated. If Graeme Campbell genuinely believes this, he is merely highlighting the reality of modern party politics, which has undermined the traditional system of representative government, which has evolved in Britain.
Every student of the undermining of genuine representative government has observed that the thrust towards totalitarianism has relied upon reducing the individual Member of Parliament to little more than a rubber stamp of the Executive. The breakdown of responsible government is highlighted when even a man of Graeme Campbell's status is forced to vote against his own stated convictions.
The title of Graeme Campbell's League of Rights' address was appropriately described as "The Flight From Responsibility". Graeme Campbell should not be surprised if many are asking if he himself has not abdicated his responsibilities. However, it would be too harsh and uncharitable, not to mention non-Christian, to judge Graeme Campbell in this way. A politician who publicly admits that he has changed his views on some basic issues, and who says that he is ashamed of feeling he had to vote as he did on MABO, has the capacity to recover his standing.
Politicians of the calibre of Graeme Campbell are so rare that every effort should be made to encourage him to understand that he can recover the high moral ground by refusing, whatever the arguments, to compromise his own integrity by declining to vote for what he does not support. There is no necessity for Graeme Campbell to be isolated by expulsion from the Labor Party. He should use his secured electoral base to establish a high national image. Australian electors are looking for someone like a Graeme Campbell to provide genuine leadership. It would be a national tragedy if he fails to grasp what is necessary at the most critical moment in Australian history.
DEMANDS FOR RIGHTS INFLAMES ANTI-MABO BACKLASH
The progress of the Native Title Bill through the Senate will be closely watched by growing numbers of ordinary Australians who are deeply uneasy about the "MABO" issue, and increasingly apprehensive about its ultimate effect. Such apprehension will not be salved by the demands from the "Aboriginal industry", which are made in language almost calculated to be offensive to the majority.
Last week Aboriginal Social Justice Commissioner, Mr. Mick Dodson, released his first Re port, in which he called for 'self determination' for Aboriginal people, as the key to restoring their human rights. Exactly what Mr. Dodson is demanding is not immediately clear, but it appears that he is insisting that certain standards of living and the provision of certain services constitute fundamental "human rights".
Mr. Dodson, like Ms. Pat O'Shane, and other professionals
in the Aboriginal industry, claims that the human rights of Aborigines
have been denied because Aboriginal groups are still forced to contend
with atrocious housing and living conditions, inadequate quality and
supply of water, sanitation and health services, etc.
The truth is that prior to 1788, the Aboriginal people enjoyed "self determination" without enjoying anything like today's living standards. It should be noted that the Aborigines effectively lost control of their "immigration policy" after 1788, and European arrival has had a massive impact on their lifestyle. Large numbers of Aborigines have chosen to abandon their traditional lifestyle to take advantage of the European innovations; they have effectively voted with their feet.
Even with the best of intentions, neither the 'land rights' legislation, nor the Native Title Bill, will provide a single Aborigine with a single acre of property that he can call his own. The statistics show (see Intelligence Survey for November) that the massive welfare handouts provide enough money for the average Aboriginal family to buy a new $100,000 house every four years, if the grassroots Aborigine in need was ever the recipient of the funds.
Native Title Act cannot improve conditions for individual Aborigines. "Self determination" cannot provide employment, health services, etc. Only the European innovation of private property and individual ownership can provide the basis for personal security for Aboriginal or any other kind of Australian. It is farcical that any Australians should have to endure sub-standard living conditions in a country of such natural wealth. It is also certain that continuing demands for Aboriginal sovereignty will continue to inflame the anti-Mabo backlash.
C.I.R. IN CANBERRA
This interest seems to have been prompted by a bill on C.I.R. before the A.C.T. Legislative Assembly, which has received the support of the A.C.T. Liberals. While the Liberals are taking the credit for introducing the Bill, it was actually introduced by Mr. Dennis Stevenson, of the Abolish Self Government Coalition. Nevertheless, Mr. Reith is touting the probable passage of this bill as an historic breakthrough for Australian politics, with Canberra as the "birthplace of direct democracy".
Mr. Reith's only reported reservations about the Canberra bill is that the required number of supportive signatures to trigger a referendum, set at four percent of voters, is too low.
MR. REITH'S POSITION
As far as we are able to determine, Mr. Keith's proposal would make referendums binding upon governments. However, he favours a "trigger" of five percent of voters registered at the last election, or a petition of about 500,000 voters to force a referendum. He proposes that referendums be held on the same day as elections to eliminate the claim that they are too costly. He also favours the requirement for a majority of voters in a majority of States for a referendum to pass, but that this would exclude Constitutional amendments being initiated by voters.
Reith does not advocate regular referendums, but rather as a safety valve for electoral disgust with the performance of their politicians. He points out that the mechanism for changing the Constitution is an adoption of the Swiss model, but that "Since then most Australian politicians have recoiled like Dracula from the stake at the suggestion of actually giving the public a say on the big issues that confront our society".
CULTURAL CONFLICT TO SNUFF OUT ASIAN SUPER-STATE
The programme to cement Australia into the A.P.E.C. (Asia-Pacific) bloc when the G.A.T.T. agreements finally collapse is pursued doggedly by Mr. Keating and others in the face of continually mounting evidence that such systems don't work. As a 'regional super state' the Soviet Union relied on sheer terror to hold the experiment together for 70 years. With the mechanism of terror not being deployed in the European union, it continues to fall apart before it is even properly established.
The attempt to create the "Eurocorps" - Europe's new multilingual armed forces, which is not yet a month old, has already been defeated. Not by force of arms, but by cultural friction within. Belgium has threatened to pull its 12,000 troops out of the Eurocorps unless the marching orders are given in Flemish, as well as French and German. Although the British have refused to participate, the suggestion that the common language, English, should be used instead, was quite unacceptable to the French, resulting in a parade ground babel on a scale never previously encountered.
The Greek Socialist Government, only newly elected, is due to assume the presidency of the European union in a few weeks, but is strongly critical of "Europe's" relations with Turkey, and the "bestial" reunified Germany. Swedish participation is threatened by the European Union's directive that wet snuff should no longer be consumed. Something like 800,000 Swedes consumed over 5,000 tonnes of snuff last year, and if banned by Europe, Sweden's Minister for European Affairs warns that it will be impossible to win a referendum on Swedish participation in the Union. Such momentous issues stand in the way of the regional superstate in Europe, and it is issues of such magnitude that stand in the way of an Asian regional superstate.
Paul Keating's grossly insensitive handling
of questions regarding the absence of Malaysia's Dr. Mahathir at the
Seattle A.P.E.C. Conference resulted in the predictable response from
Dr. Mahathir that the rude and boorish Australian politicians and journalists
simply demonstrated that Australia was not a part of Asia, and never
The Prime Minister's blundering, offensive approach to the issue helps to ensure that the dream of an Asian superstate including Australia is as much a mirage as the Soviet and the European attempts. The danger is that the attempts to form such superstates inevitably require the use of totalitarian compulsion. Australians can expect to see it emerging from the Canberra bureaucracy as the A.P.E.C. bug bites deeper.
NEXT TIMEfrom The Weekend Australian, 27-28/11
As an Aborigine who has lived in the Kalgoorlie electorate all my life, I support Graeme Campbell on the Mabo issue. He has been the only member of the Federal Government who has taken time to get the views of his Aboriginal electors and prepared to put those views. "He knows we don't want Mabo and he is supporting Richard Court's plan because that's what we traditional Aboriginal people in his electorate want. "Next federal election, those Labor Senators who are supposed to represent us won't get our support. They are standing by when the only Federal Labor Member who knows what is going on in Aboriginal affairs is criticised for representing us as we want him to do." (Arnold Franks, Aboriginal Elder and Lawman, Leinster, W.A.)
DON'T LISTEN TO ABORIGINAL INDUSTRY
from The Weekend Australian, 27-28/11
"I have been a member of the State Government's
Social Justice Committee for some months, along with several other respected
Aboriginal people. "We have had the opportunity to speak directly to
the Premier on no less than three occasions and I can tell you that
he is genuinely concerned about the current state of affairs with Aboriginal
people, and absolutely determined to fix it.
"Unfortunately, the only Aboriginal views you read in the paper are put by people in the Aboriginal industry like Robert Riley. If Robert Riley concentrated on delivering legal services instead of playing politics, maybe Aboriginal people in the country could get legal representation, instead of being told there isn't any money." (Aubrey Lynch, J.P., Kalgoorlie, W.A.)
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