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9 December 1994. Thought for the Week: " each human entity is a creation of God - 'a child of God' - and all humanity are 'children of One Father'. To the extent that the individual - the inner human personality - can bring his mind into harmony with the Universal Mind - with God - he will gain a realisation of reality."
L.D. Byrne in Faith, Power and Action
BEHIND THE REGIONAL REVOLUTION
When the Kennett Government was swept to office in 1993, primarily because of the disastrous Cain and Kirner Labor Governments, there was no reference to the most revolutionary programme for Local Government in Australian history. There were 210 Local Councils in Victoria when the Kennett Government took office. Unless there is an effective revolt by backbench Members of the Victorian Coalition Parties, which appears highly unlikely, from early next year there will be only 78 of the original 210 Councils left.
The final reports from the Local Government Board will be presented to the Victorian Government on December 22nd with the State Government expected to finalise its amalgamation programme. When this happens, with the exception of Queenscliff, the elected representatives of the ratepayers of the whole of Victoria will have been sacked and replaced with highly paid Commissioners, these appointed by the Victorian Government.
There is considerable speculation as to why Queenscliff was the only Local Government to have escaped the amalgamation revolution. It cannot be argued that Queenscliff is a small and well-run Municipality; there are many of these around Victoria who have felt the amalgamators' knife, some with a better record than Queenscliff. Can it be that there is some truth in the allegation that some of the high-powered elitists backing the Kennett Government have their holiday homes in Queenscliff? Whatever the answer, what is starting to emerge is a clearer picture of a long-term strategy to use Local Government to subvert the Federal Constitution.
As stressed in the explosive video, "Your Council The Target!" by Councillor Bevan O'Regan of Narribri, N.S.W., the programme for amalgamating Local Government is but part of a long-range strategy for by-passing the Federal Constitution in order to create a centrally planned Australian Socialist Republic.
In order to understand the concept of regionalisation one has to go back to the thinking of Fabian Socialist Australian Attorney General, Dr. H.V. Evatt, who was forced to accept the fact that when given a clear choice, Australians would never vote to increase the power of the Federal Government at the expense of the States - and, of course, the Australian people. Those who may feel that we are being unduly fanciful about this matter might care to consider a report in The Age, Melbourne, of December 1st.
The report, headed DIVIDING A NATION THE NATURAL
WAY, starts by saying that "the first stage of a plan to split Australia
into 40 'Transborder' regional economies will be launched at Warrnambool
today with the south-west of Victoria being bonded to the south-east
corner of South Australia. A new umbrella body called the Greater Green
Triangle Regional Economic Organisation will plan and co-ordinate regional
development in an area defined by common natural resources.
The Age report states that the Federal Government has set aside $150 million over the next four years to help regions to build the necessary organisational structures upon which to build for the future. The Federal planners are making effective use of money power to erode any possible Local Government opposition to the centralist strategy. Ironically, it is the Victorian Liberal Government with its ruthless amalgamation programme, which has paved the way for the long term Fabian strategy to destroy the Federal Constitution.
A study of all the information available on
the Regionalisation strategy leaves no doubt that once Regional governments
crossing existing State borders are established, they will be empowered
to levy taxes and also become increasingly dependent on the Federal
Government. The ultimate objective is of course, to by-pass and eliminate
On the face of what is being done, the Federal planners are in direct violation of the Federal Constitution. Can the West Australian and Tasmanian Governments be encouraged to mount a constitutional battle? It would bring the whole question of regionalisation to the attention of all Australians.
SENATOR FAULKNER DEMONSTRATES ABUSE OF POWERS
Environment Minister John Faulkner's messy intervention in the Port Hinchinbrook development near Cardwell in far north Queensland fits a new pattern in an increasingly fragile federation.The spectacle of a Commonwealth Minister intervening in State Government responsibilities is relatively new in Australian politics, because until recently this was constitutionally impossible, except in narrow, clearly defined areas. Senator Faulkner is said to have used "his constitutional powers" to over ride the Queensland Government's responsibility for the development, in which mangroves were cleared as part of site preparation for a new resort.
But where do these "constitutional powers" come from? There is nothing in the written Constitution, which gives Senator Faulkner any powers to intervene in the Oyster Point development. As in the case concerning Federal intervention in Tasmanian laws regarding homosexuals, Mr. Faulkner relies upon the High Court's interpretation of the "external affairs" power to intervene in the Queensland dispute, because of a nearby World Heritage area possibly affected by the resort development.
The fact that Senator Faulkner's intervention at Cardwell was such a messy operation simply emphasises the abuse of power. The scare tactics of a number of "scientists" predicting environmental disaster effectively panicked Faulkner into intervening. Several environmental studies had already concluded that bulldozing the mangroves would have little impact on sea grasses. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority concurred, and a government appointed scientific panel, headed by the Commonwealth Chief Scientist, eventually found that the panic was unjustified, and not matched by the evidence.
The irony of Faulkner's position is that by far the greatest wreckers of mangrove swamps are governments - particularly the Commonwealth. While developer Keith Williams has bulldozed four hectares of mangroves, it was the Commonwealth Federal Airports Corporation that destroyed around 600 hectares of mangrove swamp to extend the Brisbane airport. In order to expand Darwin port facilities, another 1,000 hectares of mangroves will need to be cleared - by the Commonwealth.
GROSS ABUSE OF POWER
The "founding fathers" who produced the Constitution were acutely aware of the dangers of centralised power, which is why the powers of the new Commonwealth were strictly limited. The protests at Cardwell over Faulkner's intervention have been volatile - even violent - but protesters have shown a good grasp of the basic issues: that international conventions have been used to interfere in local issues. Perhaps it is best summed up by the question: does a mangrove tree belong to the United Nations, or does it belong to the people of north Queensland?
As usual, it is only the unfolding of events that produce political pressure. The interference in State affairs by the application of the "external affairs" power is providing graphic demonstrations of the dangers involved in centralised power. A simple demonstration of how centralised power unjustly influences the relatively powerless individual is worth more than a decade's warning about the dangers.
DOUBLE STANDARDS OVER ABORIGINAL LAND FUND
When the Western Australian State Government
challenged the Native Title Act in the High Court, which produced the
original "Mabo" ruling, a number of Fabian doyens, including Mr. Gough
Whitlam sanctimoniously demanded that they withdraw the challenge. Not
only was the Commonwealth not to be challenged by a State, but since
such a challenge clearly discriminates against Aborigines, it flew in
the face of the l975 Racial Discrimination Act.
The tension that has been generated by the Bill to provide an Aboriginal Land Fund in the Commonwealth Parliament is a result of resentment to special treatment for Aboriginal groups. The Land Fund is designed to compensate those Aboriginal descendents who are unable to take advantage of the Native Title Act to claim title to traditional lands. The spectacle of urban Aborigines, who may be disadvantaged, qualifying for huge financial hand outs, while non-Aborigines who may also be living in poverty do qualify for such largesse, naturally leads to massive resentment. As an exercise in reconciliation, it is a failure, and a public relations disaster.
One reason that the Land Fund legislation has been delayed in the Senate, is that Aboriginal groups themselves are deeply divided over the Fund. Rural Aborigines, who were never consulted over the Native Title Act or the Land Fund, reject both measures. In particular, many rural Aborigines fear that the groups, who will be in receipt of the money from the Land Fund, will use it for a blatantly political agenda not shared by all Aborigines. For example, in Western Australia, the strongly radical Kimberley Land Council, which has campaigned strongly for a black state, is demanding access to the Fund.
The majority of Australians who oppose the creation of the Land Fund do not dare publicly speak out, for fear of the social stigma of "racism". The Commonwealth, especially the Prime Minister, is counting on this fear to ram the legislation through the Senate. The Green Independents from Western Australia may be intimidated by the Government to vote for the fund in the same way that they were intimidated to vote for the Native Title Act in 1993.
ELECTION TIMETABLEProspects of an early Federal election are clouded by inconvenient political obstacles. Two of these occur in N.S.W., where an election must be held on March 25th. The N.S.W. A.L.P. strongly opposes a Federal election close to this date. The other factor concerns the third airport runway, which is a Commonwealth responsibility. Aircraft noise is so severe, that this is now a major issue, and could jeopardise at least four A.L.P. seats, unless a solution is found. A rally at Leichardt Oval last weekend was attended by 10,000 angry and abusive residents. The Sydney Airport has now become a major factor in the election timing; it will not "go away" over the holiday period, but will intensify as each jumbo jet blasts its way over suburban Sydney.
The following letter was sent to an Australian
Democrats Senator by a politically active person
"Opposition to this (Racial Hatred Bill) is widespread, extending to Mr. Don Chipp, the founder of the Australian Democrats. It is widespread in the ethnic communities, many of their spokesmen feeling that the outlawing of thought and expression will, perversely, engender the very actions the Bill will outlaw. "I urge you to vote against racial vilification legislation, whether presented by the Labor or Liberal Parties."
THE CONFUSION WE HAD TO HAVE?
from The Age (Melbourne), December 5th
"Those of us in Australia without degrees in economics, and there are many of us so disadvantaged, reel back bewildered by all this convoluted logic and cerebral gobbledygook. Groucho Marx's seven-year-old child could tell us that higher interest rates must send up the cost of things and thus lead to higher inflation. And for Bernie Fraser to tell Australian employees suffering lower living standards because of higher interest rates that wage rises are bad for the economy (whose economy?) is like telling a hungry Oliver that another serving of porridge would be bad for his cholesterol. Tough cheddar.
"The most revealing segment of the recent A.B.C. documentary Labor in Power was the admission by Paul Keating that the Reserve Bank, the Treasury and the Prime Minister's own advisers got it wrong in the late '80s in pushing interest rates too high and so exacerbating the recession. If these economic gurus got it wrong then why should we trust them to get it right now? Those of us who will be the eventual victims of these Masters of our Universe are deeply concerned and are asking: Do they really know what they are doing?" (Vincent Matthews, Sorrento)
THINK TWICE ABOUT INDONESIA
from The Australian, October 12th
"In contrast, East Timorese accused of organising the peaceful procession, received terms of up to life imprisonment after being convicted of subversion. Yet East Timor is just one manifestation of the fact that Indonesia's legal processes operate under a system of military justice. "General Try is a symbol of that system of government. He may lately have been 'moderate' and 'mainstream' in his pronouncements. But what does that mean in the Indonesia context? "Presumably, 'mainstream' implies support for the prevailing political system overseen by President Suharto, General Try and ABRI, the Indonesian Armed Forces.
"The political system allows only three State approved political parties to exist and the Government party, Golkar, to remain unassailably dominant. All electoral candidates must be approved by the President. Political party activity between elections is illegal. The People's Consultative Assembly, which elects the President, has over half its members appointed by him. All social and political organisations are required to adopt the State ideology, Pancasila, as their sole ideology.
"The legal system is not independent of the President and the executive, and the Anti-Subversion Law, which has been condemned by the United Nations, allows widespread prosecution of anyone deemed critical of the Government or Pancasila. Only one trade union organisation is recognised, and the military and police have intervened in the most minor of labour disputes. The State allows only five religious faiths to exist, and over 500 religious sects have been banned over the years.
"The armed forces are dominant in all phases of society, even down to village level. Special army units like Kopassus have carried out grave human rights violations throughout the country. Human rights abuse has become systemic and elite units act with impunity. Such is the reality of 'mainstream' Indonesia.
The Economist (The Australian, 3/10) faced some of that reality when it spoke of Indonesia's 'darker side' and how 'the world expects higher standards from Indonesia'. Contrary to the editorial's claim there was 'startlingly important business to transact' with General Try. For unless 'mainstream' Indonesia is forced to change, people will continue to die and 'disappear', others will be tortured, while thousands will remain languishing in Indonesian jails. Of course Australia needs good relationships with General Try, but it also needs to confront the reality of the Indonesian political system." (Des Shiel, Clifton Hill, Vic.)
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