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Edmund Burke
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19 August 1994. Thought for the Week: "It is widely known, though not publicly so widely acknowledged, that with the breaking up of home life and the decreasing opportunity for the individual person to live a fair amount of his life privately, there has been a related lowering of cultural standards and a partial withering of civilisation. Consistently with that there has been a lessening of respect for women as a sex and a diminishing consideration for her as a private person. That is reversion to more backward stages of civilisation."
Mrs. D. Watts, in Chattels of the Modern World

UNDERMINING THE AUSTRALIAN TRADITIONS

The next sitting of the Commonwealth Parliament could become one of the most destructive periods in Australian politics, with the family, the federation, and freedom of speech all under attack. Although opposition to the proposed racial vilification legislation is growing, with almost every newspaper in the nation editorialising against the new legislation, the entire Parliament appears to be hypnotised by the small but powerful "ethnic" lobby, led by Jewish interests. Every iron clad commitment to freedom of thought and to freedom of speech seems to dissolve under the hot breath of this particular pressure group, and the main question now appears to be whether the new legislation will include criminal sanctions - likely to be lengthy jail terms - or whether this is too blatantly offensive to free speech.

The Jesuit priest, Frank Brennan, has now joined others like Mr. Phillip Adams in opposing racial vilification legislation. Brennan, who is regarded as an influential authority on Aboriginal issues, is making the point that the legislation would be unlikely to be used to deal with the friction between imported ethnic combatants, like the Greeks and Macedonians, or Croats and Serbs. "Presumably," he writes, "the advocates of this law would espouse a selective prosecution procedure under which one would leave warring minorities to themselves while making a show trial of the mainstream community member who had singled out one racial group..." That is, it is not designed to reduce cultural friction, but to increase it.

THE HOMOSEXUAL FAMILY

It also now appears certain that the Commonwealth will legislate to over-ride the Tasmanian Government's own legislation under which sodomy could be prosecuted. The "external affairs" power of the Constitution will be used to force Tasmania to change the law to comply with United Nations non-discrimination conventions. Little thought, however, has been given to where such legislation could lead. Even some press columnists can see that such a process is extremely damaging for the federation, as the centralisation of power in Canberra increases, and the role of the States sabotaged. It also confirms that Australian sovereignty is inexorably passing from the States, via the Commonwealth, to global bodies like the U.N.

In this particular case, the result of over-riding the Tasmanians will also lead to a legal and social enhancement of the homosexual "lifestyle". Already homosexual pressure groups wield enormous influence, and are pushing strongly for homosexual relationships to be awarded the status of families. The homosexual relationship is basically destructive; it cannot generate offspring, and the corruption of sodomy, as well as generating health problems such as AIDS, partakes of nihilism.

The homosexual relationship is a parody of the family, and as such a subversive social force. The demand is now being pressed to give the homosexual relationship the same consideration, as the heterosexual family unit, with leave to care for a sick "spouse," demanded. It is possible that the phenomena of homosexuals attempting to raise children is also a cynical attempt to press the claim for status as a family.

THE LIBERALS VACCILATE

It seems amazing that Mr. Alexander Downer is unable to offer a definition of the family as including heterosexual couples for the purpose of raising children. When questioned in Brisbane about the issue, Downer ducked the issue, saying he "hoped" that the family would provide a loving atmosphere for raising children. He is also on record as claiming that he would be unconcerned if his own children were to "choose a homosexual lifestyle". It would be a personal tragedy if Downer's attempt to be all things to all people was to pave the way for the destruction of his own family.

The homosexual lobby, like the Jewish lobby, appears to have intimidated Downer to the point where the national interest on the homosexual and the racial vilification issues is now compromised. While the Liberals vacillate, the homosexual lobby takes another step towards ensuring that sodomy is legally and socially regarded as simply another valid "lifestyle choice". It seems doubtful that the Liberals will even object to it being taught as such in the schools when the time comes.


THE QUESTION OF 'ORIGINAL INHABITANTS' OF AUSTRALIA

In what appears to be an attempt to "tidy up" after Alexander Downer, and to inject some spine into the Liberals on the Aboriginal issue, National Party leader Tim Fischer is taking a stronger position on "land rights". Fischer is correctly pointing out that although the Northern Territory has had a form of land rights for many years, put in place by the Fraser Government, the condition of Territory Aborigines seems little improved over those in other places.

Fischer also confirms that the National Party would press the Liberals to repeal the Native Title Act if necessary. The truth is that already the Native Title Act is almost unworkable. Lawyers for mining or pastoral interests complain that they find themselves in a no-win situation. Claims are made over mining or pastoral leases, with Aboriginal interests maintaining continuous relationship with such areas. Those defending against such claims find that it is almost impossible to find an anthropologist who will testify against even the most outrageous claims. Anthropologists seem to understand upon which side of the bread to find the butter, and Aboriginal claimants seem to be able to provide batteries of compliant anthropological experts.

There is much scope for genuine anthropological research in having native title determined. The question of "original inhabitants" of the land is one that some Aboriginal interests do not want pursued. New discoveries of different racial groups pre-existing present Aboriginal groups have been covered up for political purposes (see "Australia Before the Dreamtime", Intelligence Survey, July, 1994).
If some Australians of Aboriginal descent are genuinely disadvantaged, as seems obvious, then let assistance be provided in an appropriate way. But let us not resort to selective historical, racial or anthropological fiction, which ignores the interests of non-Aboriginal Australians.

As debate proceeds, it may eventually become obvious that the Native Title Act, and the High Court "Mabo" ruling are little more than politically correct compromises that are also of great long-term damage to the national interest. Many attempts to "restore title to original inhabitants" have become disasters. In 1992, the Commonwealth bought Emeroo Station in South Australia for local Aborigines for almost $900,000, and then spent $86,000 in "property maintenance", expecting that the Aboriginal group would run sheep and cattle. Instead, the Aborigines divided into three groups, in dispute over traditional ownership, requiring resort to professional anthropologists to settle the matter.


DID DOWNER AND FISCHER LIE ABOUT C.I.R.?

The Coalition's organised objection to initiative and referendum is undoubtedly driven by arrogance and misinformation. No satisfactory argument has yet been advanced against C.I.R. by either Fischer or Downer. Neither are prepared to give the electorate the credit for being able to make sensible, responsible decisions on issues that affect them, an 'elitist' attitude that they seem to share with Mr. Keating and the A.L.P.

However, the official Coalition attitude on C.I.R. seems to change with circumstances. Evidence has now come to light that a Victorian group, "People's Law", wrote to many M.P's. asking about their position on C.I.R. in 1988, after Mr. Peter Reith had announced his support for the concept. In his reply dated August 31st, Mr. Fischer wrote: "I indicate my support in general terms for the Peter Reith proposal …"

Mr. Fischer, who now describes C.I.R. as a "lawmaking cancer" seems to have changed his mind.

Alexander Downer's position is even worse, as he indicates that he may have deliberately misled People's Law with his own reply to their enquiry: he offered support for C.I.R. as "a matter of principle". Now, according to press reports, Downer claims that he had originally offered his support to the Reith proposal because "he was worried that if he gave his true opinion in the letter, it would have been leaked and created perceptions of disunity.. ." (Australian, 8/8/94).

Can we believe anything Mr. Downer says now? What is his true opinion on the family, freedom of speech, or native title? The more we see of Mr. Downer, the more we regard him as unlikely to provide a new direction for the Liberals, the Coalition or the nation.


BRIEF COMMENTS

The Moura mining disaster in Queensland emphasises that mining is a dangerous business, particularly when underground mining is required. The courage of coal miners is not questioned, nor their contribution to making coal the most valuable export commodity for Australia. However, we also observe the debate at the A.L.P. Annual Conference in Tasmania concerning uranium mining. The A.L.P's. three-mine policy to limit uranium mining in Australia is designed to satisfy the anti-nuclear faction of the Party. But all the evidence seems to suggest that power generated from uranium is far cleaner and safer than power generated by coal-fired generators. The mining deaths in uranium mines do not begin to equate with deaths in coal mining. Britain has been using nuclear power stations for more than 40 years without serious accident.

While the Hawke memoirs may be entertaining, and emphasise the basic hypocrisy of politicians, they will not contribute much to better government. They are primarily designed to make Mr. Hawke's log of claims to a place in history at Mr. Keating's expense. What Mr. Hawke will not be doing, is making damaging admissions about his own role in Labor's decade of power. For example, at a Brisbane immigration conference last year, Hawke was offended by Dr. Katherine Betts' view that high immigration was less a matter of logic than a trendy symbol of class and status among the "governing classes". Hawke did frankly admit that the electorate has long disapproved of high immigration, and that therefore he and others had to collude with both rival political parties and the trade union leaders to achieve it. Hardly the position of a national leader representing electoral interests!

The issue of council amalgamations may be about to appear in South Australia, where a report that calls for reducing Adelaide's metropolitan councils from 27 to 20 has been leaked. The report argues that next year's local government elections should be postponed until 1996 to allow for wholesale amalgamations of local government in South Australia.


RE-MADE COUNCILS

from The Australian, August 15th
Municipal Meltdown at Melbourne City Council is well underway (The Australian, 1/8). The Council was the first to be sacked by the Kennett Government and the anointed Commissioners have set a blistering pace of anti-democratic procedures and decision-making. "The recently announced corporate plan for the City of Melbourne developed by Ms. Elizabeth Proust, described as a 'tough new business strategy', proposed to reduce the current staffing level of 1,800 to 300 through a process of corporatisation and privatisation of the Council's operations. "In essence, the plan is a gerrymander of the economic, social and political life of the city. The prospect of future Council meetings being of 10 to 15 minutes duration - the time required to approve and sign contracts - will please boardrooms across the city.

"Contrary to Ms. Proust's view that the strategy will provide a good example for other councils, I believe that it will be rejected by local councils across the country as undermining and limiting effectiveness and democratic role of local government. "They will prefer to maintain and even broaden their councils' planning and servicing capacity by working in partnership with neighbouring municipalities, Federal and State Governments, the private sector and the community.

"However with all councils in Victoria being subject to the imposition of commissioners before the end of this year there will no doubt be an attempt to introduce the City of Melbourne plan across the State. This would effectively transfer the role of the sphere of government we call 'local' from the council chamber to the boardroom.

"'Efficiency' is not the sole preserve of the private sector, nor should it define equity and social justice in our community. Local government has a record of achievement and expertise that should not be stripped away by State Government-directed administrators and commissioners."
(Martin Brennan, Former Councillor, Melbourne)


EVOKING GUILT

from The Australian, August 15th
Columnist Rosemary Neill (The Weekend Australian Review, 6/8) is correct to highlight the low societal status accorded women who choose to stay at home and rear their children. However, deriding those who fought jolly hard for, and won right for women in the public sphere (right from which she no doubt benefits) will not invert this status. "Ms. Neill is mistaken in her belief that contemporary feminists neglect the private sphere. I suggest we look at some recent work on the public and private split (to name two authors, Carol Pateman and Susan Miller Okin).

"It is too simple to suggest that there is some sort of moral or monetary zero-sum game between women who stay at home and women who go to work. Further, whether there is 'choice' in this decision is irrelevant. "To highlight choice is to make a moral judgment about women which creates 'the guilt trap' addressed by Kate Legge in The Weekend Australian's leading Review feature (5-6/8).

"The issue that we should be addressing is the relatively low status of child rearing tasks and who does them after the initial birth and breastfeeding process. "If the child rearing activities were one day recognised for their true value (the shaping of future generations is the shaping of future society) through monetary or other reward, there are certain to be positive spin-offs.

"Greater number of men would desire becoming full or equal participants in home tasks (genuinely taking on responsibilities, not merely 'helping') and industry would not quarrel about parental leave to care for sick children as parenting tasks would be accorded to highest status. Tasks associated with children and home would no longer be categorised as 'women's issues', but the concerns of responsible adults."
(Sharon Howe, Woodville, S.A.)

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