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Edmund Burke
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31 March 1994. Thought for the Week: "For us all, roots are important, roots in the landscape and local communities; roots in our cultural and literary heritage, roots in our philosophical and spiritual traditions. If we lose touch with them, if we lose track of where we have come from, we deprive ourselves of a sense of value, a sense of security and all too frequently, a sense of purpose and meaning."
Prince Charles

DEMOCRATS MISLED ON FINANCE

We are no devotees of party politics, but the Australian Democrats under the leadership of Queensland Senator Kernot have improved their image as a responsible Senate check on the totalitarian tendencies of the Government. Large numbers of electors have applauded Senator Kernot's determination to attempt to make senior public servants more accountable.

At a time when the Democrats and smaller groups in the Senate are threatened with elimination by Prime Minister Paul Keating, it is easy to grasp the politics behind the Democrats' budget proposals. The $5 billion package proposal, what might be described as a tax-and-spend package, is clearly aimed at winning support from influential sections of the labor movement. Clearly the Democrat package has been carefully prepared by professionals and seeks to demonstrate that the proposed increases in spending to overcome the unemployment problem and increased payments to the lower income groups, can be financed out of increased revenue from taxes, these to be levied on industry and higher income earners.

Even if implemented, the Democrat proposals cannot make any contribution towards genuine economic recovery in Australia. We suggest that the Democrats go back to the drawing board and start with some fundamental questions. They can first consider the fundamental question of whether the Australian economy is over any given period distributing enough purchasing power to meet the total prices of production. They should direct their attention to the question of why the economy requires a progressive expansion of debt in order to avoid a major collapse.

Taking $5 billion from one section of the community and re-allocating to other sections will not only not increase the total amount of purchasing power in the community, but will increase the nation's problems. Financing capital works out of taxation sacrifices present income earners for the alleged benefit of future generations.

The Democrats might give some thought to financing any required new capital works out of new financial credits, these repaid at the date of the estimated life of the asset. They might even consider the proposals of the Canadian Economist Hotson, who recently visited Australia, recommending the issue of debt free credits to Local Government. This would permit a reduction in rates because the present level of debt charges could be reduced.

If Senator Kernot and her colleagues have any problem with understanding how financial credit is created by the banking system, we would suggest that they contact their former Senator colleague Paul Maclean, who has written and lectured on the subject. If they wish to embarrass the Labor Government, they might remind it that it was a Labor Government, which created the Commonwealth Bank, and then outline some of the constructive policies of that bank in its early years.

With an understanding of debt credit creation, they could see that increased taxation is a backward step in the solution of Australia's problems. With the Democrats targeted for elimination, they have nothing to lose, but much to gain, by injecting a new policy concept into Australian politics, one which does not divide the community.


BRIEF COMMENTS

From Canada comes the good news that while the Canadian Supreme Court has upheld that the Canadian war crimes trial legislation was constitutional, it has rejected the appeal against the non-guilty jury decision concerning alleged war criminal Imre Finta.

Jewish reaction has been predictable: critical. Jewish leaders state that as it is unlikely that guilty verdicts can be obtained against alleged war criminals, the Canadian authorities should follow the American lead of stripping alleged war criminals of their citizenship. They neglect to point out that this procedure resulted in the disgraceful Demjanjuk affair, with an innocent man sent to Zionist Israel and sentenced to death. Only a miracle saved him. But even back in the U.S.A. the former Ukrainian is still being smeared with Jewish demands that he be expelled from the U.S.A. Judaic vengeance rejects Christian charity and compassion.


THE DEADLY "DESERTIFICATION" CONVENTION

by David Thompson
The latest, and perhaps potentially the most deadly of international treaties, the Convention on Desertification, is now being considered by the Commonwealth of Australia to sign. If ratified, it will give the Commonwealth the constitutional right to override the States in relation to land management issues. The implications for primary producers are enormous, and could run as far as influencing farm management plans.

According to N.S.W. Farmers Lands Executive Officer, Fred Goldsen, the new treaty could give Canberra bureaucrats control over crop types, rotation periods between crops, the number and type of stock permitted, all tree clearing or forest management, and even fencing techniques.

The new Convention, originally designed to address problems of expanding desert regions in Africa and other hot arid regions, has obviously been seized upon as an opportunity to eliminate State management of land in arid and semi-arid lands. However, this is easily extended to include land use in all range lands as well as special problem areas such as the Western Lands Division of N.S.W., the high country cattle grazing in the Snowy Ranges, the salt encroachment in wheat belt Western Australia, and the salt and water logging problem in the irrigation areas such as the Murray-Goulburn.

Once the external affairs power has been invoked, the Commonwealth can use the new treaty, along with the Native Title Act, to rob the States of their right to regulate land use without formally changing the Constitution. Since the High Court ruled in the Tasmanian Dams case that there are virtually no limits to the issues that can be dealt with under international conventions, this latest Convention is of the greatest significance for farmers, graziers, and miners.

RINGING THE ALARM BELLS

The greatest difficulty with such a threat to land use, is not discovering that the threat exists, but convincing others that it is real, and should be actively opposed. For example, being interviewed on radio about the Desertification Treaty, Mr. Goldsen was asked why Australia would want to sign such a treaty. He didn't know. Again, asked why we need more than the many effective landcare systems already in place, he again "didn't know"!

What were N.S.W. Farmers doing about it? First, they didn't think the treaty could be stopped, so in order to try to minimise its impact, they helped to secure a representative to visit at the negotiating table in Geneva! Mr. Godsen fails to explain how even the most reasoned argument with an international bureaucrat in Geneva can be any more useful than reasoned argument with a rabid dog. This issue is of such vital importance that it cannot be ignored. The only answer is that Members of Parliament must be tackled about the new treaty immediately. As yet, none of them even know it exists, let alone its significance. Additional pressure must be mounted from the level of State Government, and even local Councils.

It is proposed that the new treaty be signed and ratified by mid-year, although such timing is unlikely. The principle is that all land use decisions are best made on the spot and preferably by the primary producer himself. Local councils may have a limited role to play, and State agricultural bureaucracies useful for offering advice and research services. Nationwide bureaucracies are of little help, but international bureaucracies an absolute menace, and capable of doing only more damage.


THE SYDNEY BY-ELECTIONS

As we foreshadowed last week, the results of the two by-elections held in Sydney last weekend were significant for the support given to Australians Against Further Immigration. Described as a "surprise result" by the press, A.A.F.I's. Robyn Spencer took 14 percent of the primary vote in Warringah, won by Mr. Tony Abbott. Mrs. Spencer, from Melbourne, doubled her A.A.F.I. vote in the Warriwa by-election a few months ago - also in Sydney. In Mackellar, Mrs. Bronwyn Bishop suffered a 5 percent swing against the Liberals, which may cool the ardour of the Bishop-for-Liberal-leadership faction, and further increase Hewson' s breathing space as Liberal leader. Again, A.A.F.I. polled well in Mackellar, with around 9 percent of the primary vote.

It is interesting to note that two other single-issue candidates stood in Mackellar - the Greens, and a Republican Party candidate, Peter Consadine. Consadine received less than 1 percent (509 votes) - only 9 votes more than the lowest polling candidate, an eccentric independent. As we have long suspected, there is much more support for limiting immigration and abandoning multiculturalism than there is for a republic!

The A.A.F.I. also eclipsed the Green vote by several thousand votes. We note National Party leader Tim Fischer's opinion (with which we agree) that the A.A.F.I. vote must be taken seriously, as sending a message to Canberra about immigration and multiculturalism. Their by-election strategy has been astute, and considering that in three cases out of four interstate candidates were fielded, their results have been most impressive. As Fischer remarked, if the Warringah result could be repeated in a half-Senate election, the 14 percent would be enough to win a Senate seat.

If Prime Minister Keating is annoyed by the West Australian Green Senators, one or two A.A.F.I. Senators holding the balance of power could well push him over the edge of rational behaviour completely. The role of A.L.P. Backbencher Graeme Campbell in the Sydney by-elections has been carefully noted by the A.L.P. backroom strategists. Campaigning in Sydney last week, Campbell flayed the A.L.P. policy on multiculturalism, and the 'bi-partisan' immigration policy. While the press affects to be surprised by the A.A.F.I. vote, Campbell, who has listened carefully to grassroots rumblings about the issue for many years, is not surprised.


COMMUNITIES ARE LOSING THEIR VOICES

from The Age (Melbourne), March 25th
Almost 250,000 Victorians, residents of the cities of Melbourne and Greater Geelong and the new Surf Coast Municipality, are without locally elected Council representatives and have in their place at considerable cost, Government appointed commissioners. "Within the next couple of months, about a third of all Victorians could be in the same boat, and nobody outside local government seems to care. "

The Government appears to have forgotten that there is more to government, especially local government, than money. There is local control and accountability and there is community ownership of the decision making process. "The decisions being made by these unelected commissioners will shape the sort of local governance we have for the next decade or longer. Yet they are not accountable in any way to the local communities who are paying for them.

"Will the commissioners be available to answer residents' complaints or provide them with advice at 10 p.m.? Will residents be able to vote the commissioners out if they are unhappy with their decisions or performance? Not likely. "And when the State Government decisions and actions run counter to the best interests of individual local communities, does anybody really believe that the commissioners can take on the very Government that appointed them?

"What makes this continued erosion of local democracy even worse is the fact that it is all avoidable. "Councils across Victoria have demonstrated they accept that many will be amalgamated and are prepared to manage the transition process themselves. "It is an absolute and fundamental right that local communities, through their current elected representatives, participate in the reform process and not be mere observers.

"Commissioners have no local mandate and no local legitimacy - they are little more than agents of the State Government. "Their appointment should be an action of last resort and not a convenient way of removing one of the strongest links in our chain of democratic institutions. (Michael Ingram, General Manager, Metropolitan Municipal Association, Elsternwick, Victoria)


TOUGH FOR U.K. SETTLERS

from Herald-Sun (Melbourne), March 28th
The Federation of Ethnic Community Councils of Australia recently asked the Federal Government to increase the number of migrants coming to Australia in the next financial year. "It was proposed that this should be achieved by allotting more places in the family reunion and humanitarian categories of the migrant selection process.

"Australians of British ethnicity have every reason to be alarmed. "Prospective British migrants are severely discriminated against under the present system. "The planned migrant intake for 1993/94 is about 76,000... Of these, 13,000 will be admitted on humanitarian grounds. "British people don't qualify for this category. Family reunion, with a current target of 45,000, is also effectively closed to most intending migrants from Britain. "British people are therefore mostly forced to compete for the 12,300 places set aside for independent skilled migrants.

"An increase in the family reunion and humanitarian categories will simply increase the discrimination against British people that already exists in the migrant selection criteria, and which is the cause of the decline in migration from the British Isles." (Alan Bouch, President, U.K. Settlers' Association, Melbourne, Victoria)


WHY WOMEN SHOULD SHUN WORK AT HOME

from The Australian, March 24th
The Federal Opposition's 'spokeswoman on the environment', Ms. Chris Gallus, is at least refreshingly honest (The Weekend Australian, 19-20/3). She admits that she regards income splitting for taxation purposes as 'Danger' precisely because many women in the workforce would be 'lured by the extra dollars to stay at home'. "In other words, she sees fulltime homemaking not as a proper female aspiration but as a form of immorality which governments should discourage women from giving way to.

"Her first argument for continued suppression of the fulltime homemaker is that this kind of woman is boring: 'Our occupations signal a particular point of view and expertise that make us interesting.'

"Her second contention is that wives should be made to persist in the paid workforce so they will be in a fit state for divorce: 'The wage earner can move out of the partnership, divorce and still have a large part of his life continue undisturbed.'

"Her third argument is that fulltime homemaking is frequently 'little better than that of a servant', and thus to be discouraged as incompatible with human dignity.

"The first Western Government which sought to make fulltime homemaking financially impossible was that of Sweden, which by the early 1970s was stigmatising wives without paid jobs as 'luxury housewives' (Time, 28/10/74) "The Whitlam Government (1972-75) consciously followed Sweden's lead by combining punitive taxation, discriminatory rebates and massive expenditure on childcare centres in a drive to render fulltime homemaking impossible except for the very rich. Whitlam's feminist social engineering is still in progress, under the direction of the Office of the Status of Women. "Ms. Gallus' anti-choice militancy possibly marks her as a Whitlamite Liberal." (Colin H. Jory, Evatt, A.C.T.)

© Published by the Australian League of Rights, P.O. Box 27 Happy Valley, SA 5159