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16 June 1995. Thought for the Week: "It is not possible to see what our society is today except by looking at it from a distance; and that distance is provided by the past, by history. We must see the present with the eyes of the past. We can learn to see with the eyes of the past by entering into the world of our forbears by reading their writings and regarding their works."
Michael Lane, American Social Crediter
KEATING PREPARES GROUND FOR EARLY ELECTION
by Eric D. Butler
Paul Keating's address was designed to project an image of a statesman: a reasonable man only concerned with the long-term interests of the nation. The usual anti-British bias was missing, while references to Her Majesty the Queen were respectful. There was no reference to the highly emotional issue of the Flag. Yes, Australia would remain part of the association now known as The Commonwealth, presided over by the Queen.
The Keating vision included a President with basically the same powers as the Governor General, a point that grated on some of the Republicans. Serving politicians would be excluded from the Presidency. Keating and his advisers were not concerned about any muttering in the ranks of Republicans claiming that he had not gone far enough: he knows that they will be voting for him anyhow, and that he must influence those instinctively opposed to change, showing that he appreciates their views and that he is basically a moderate and reasonable man.
The greatest political asset of Paul Keating is the fact that there are deep divisions in the ranks of his political opponents, and the strong support he has in the mass media. His address on the Republican issue was carefully designed to exploit this fact. The editorial policies of all major dailies praised, with few reservations, the "constructive initiative" of the Prime Minister, proclaiming with one voice that the establishment of a Republic was "inevitable". Even columnists who felt that Keating was using the Republic issue as a diversionary political tactic were forced to concede that Keating was dramatically successful last week.
Writing in The Financial Review, John Stone commented, "That one should be wasting ink on addressing the Prime Minister's republican fantasies is....chiefly remarkable for the fact that I am doing precisely what he wants the media generally to do - namely, allow themselves to be diverted from the practical issues to an evanescent issue of some time well into the next century. "
The Keating initiative forced a response from John Howard which, whatever its merits, achieved what Keating and his strategists sought: a demonstration of the deep divisions inside the Opposition ranks. By the end of the week John Howard had been openly deserted by every State Liberal Premier, with the exception of Richard Court of Western Australia. Even Premier Ray Groom of normally conservative Tasmania joined the chorus of those Liberals proclaiming that a Republic was "inevitable".
Tim Fischer of the National Party, which, to its credit, is the only Opposition Party to issue a positive defence of the Constitutional Monarchy, feels that he has had to compromise his position. The Liberal Party is unable to produce any document similar to that of the Nationals for the simple reason that numbers of the Federal Liberal Party are Republicans.
John Howard is faced with the impossible task of attempting to lead a Liberal Party, which is deeply divided, on basic issues. Paul Keating knows this and his Republican strategy is carefully framed to exploit those divisions. During the events of last week, John Howard temporarily gained the initiative when he stressed the importance of the exploitation of the External Powers. But the prospect of turning this issue to political advantage was lost with what can only be described as treachery in Liberal Party ranks. This type of treachery demonstrates that even if he can defeat a Keating now riding high, he would be leading a government without a coherent philosophy.
The good news is, of course, that irrespective of what happens in the Republic debate, the wisdom and foresight the framers of the Federal Constitution makes it possible for the electors to defeat all centralist programmes. That Constitutional framework is one of the greatest heritages derived by the Australian people from the British. Not even the multiculturalists can deny that this constitution was framed by people of predominantly British stock and voted into existence by the same kind of people.
It has been left to the Australian League of Rights never to falter or compromise in defending that heritage. The decisive battle has yet to be fought and every effort must be made over the coming years to prepare, by education and encouragement, the Australian people to reject at referendum a final betrayal of that heritage. Paul Keating may well be remembered as the man who made this possible.
WHAT'S THE TRUTH ABOUT THE MABO AFFAIR?
The defacing of the Eddie Mabo tomb was a disgraceful act and must be strongly condemned by all decent people. But even more disgraceful has been the manner in which this affair has been exploited by the media and radical Aboriginal activists and, as usual, by mealy-mouthed hypocritical politicians. As we go to press no one has been charged with the defacement of the Mabo tomb. But this has not prevented the charge being publicised that white racists were responsible. How convenient that this deplorable affair has taken place at a time when desperate efforts are being made to ensure that the totalitarian anti-racial vilification legislation is passed into law.
We have had a long experience with the use of the agent provocateur. And we are most interested in an item, which, after a brief appearance in both the print and electronic media, suddenly disappeared. The items suggested that a group of Aboriginal children was responsible for the act of defacement. Until proper charges are laid by the police common decency demands that loose charges of 'racism' cease.
THE 'TREATY POWER' AND THE COMING ELECTIONS
Masterful as his performance might have been in setting the political agenda and out maneuvering an internally divided Opposition, Prime Minister Keating's address to the nation proposing his republic relied partly upon the Keating version of history, and a number of simple lies. His attempt to make a virtue of the assertion that the Constitution can only be changed by the Australian people at referendum, while correct in theory is in fact a gross misrepresentation of the truth. The truth is that the "external affairs power" of the Constitution has been abused and used to adopt all manner of agreements and treaties for domestic purposes without consulting the Australian people at any time, either at referendum, or through their Parliamentary representatives.
What has perhaps been overlooked by the republicans is that many who oppose the republic do so not primarily because they are monarchists, but because they distrust the Prime Minister's attitude. He proposes to carefully stage manage the changes by committees made up largely of republican sympathisers. He claims that changes can't be made without our approval, but his whole record is one of avoiding public consultation whenever possible.
Stealth is used to achieve ends, which are dubious, so why should we permit people with such a record to set the political and social agenda? Mr. Howard and his colleagues are missing a golden opportunity to seize the political initiative if they fail to develop his proposal for Constitutional change to limit the abuse of the external affairs power. Mr. Howard could make a virtue of the fact that he is prepared to offer genuine participation in Constitutional change by proposing to limit the powers of the Commonwealth.
Dr. Colin Howard, respected former Hearn Professor of Law at Melbourne University, agrees that the Commonwealth's use of the external affairs power 'has gone far beyond the reasonable' describing such use as 'illicit', and causing 'widespread disquiet, especially in some States'. Dr. Colin Howard has drafted his own proposed change to the Constitution to limit the federal abuse of these powers, and is of the opinion that such a referendum with a 'simple and attractive message to the electorate .... would have a better chance (of success) than people usually assume'.
Even the Coalition has fallen into the trap of regarding a referendum on the republic as 'inevitable', when this is not so. Mr. Keating's opportunity to hold a republican referendum depends upon his first winning the next election, which, while it may appear increasingly likely, is in itself not inevitable. What Mr. John Howard and Co. need is an issue with which they can seize the political initiative, and give themselves a decent chance to win the election. The 'treaty issue' is tailor made for this purpose. Will Mr. Howard grasp the nettle?
CORPORATISING PUBLIC UTILITIES IN N.S.W.
The State Labor Government of N.S.W. has begun its massive programme of amalgamation of electricity generating and supply authorities by setting out to sack every County Councillor serving on the power boards. As yet, those being sacked are largely aware of the overall picture, with local councillors in such areas of the North West of the State complaining bitterly that their service record is excellent, and that they have been arbitrarily sacked.
The reality is that the sackings are the prelude to the amalgamation of the existing 25 electricity distributors, to form a small number of "viable efficient" corporations to handle distribution and retail supply of power. This opens the way for the entire public power system to be "privatised" under the Federal Government's Hilmer national competition reforms. However, the Carr Government in N.S.W. proposes that this is only the beginning.
Thirteen key government agencies are to be "corporatised", including the three regional port authorities, the T.A.B., the Lotteries, Freight Rail, State Forests commercial pine tree operation, irrigation schemes, the Public Trustee, the Waste Recycling and Processing Service, and the Dairy Corporation. There is obviously scope for private enterprise to compete in some of these fields, but this is not what is proposed.
"Corporatisation" means exactly that: swapping the State monopoly for a private corporate monopoly. State monopolies may be bureaucratic, lazy and relatively inefficient, but at least some public official is accountable for their operation - usually a Minister of the Crown. How is it proposed to hold corporate monopolists - whether domestic or foreign - accountable for the services they provide?
THE SECRET AGENDA
from Herald-Sun (Melbourne), 12/6
'The Hawke and Keating Governments have misused the external powers provisions of the existing Constitution to force laws on Australia without the benefit of parliamentary debate or the irksome problems of getting laws through a Senate they do not control. 'Thus, Australians have already been made subjects of the U.N., its various conventions being given the force of law by the stroke of some Laborite internationalist's pen.
"Should we be subject to the 'laws' of
the U.N.? Do we want to be? Just look at the mess U.N. 'peacekeeping'
forces make everywhere they go. "And, as for Mr. Keating's
proposed method for 'election' of a president in his proposed
republic, why is he so determined that the people should not
directly elect their own president? "But I fear even worse.
Should Mr. Keating call an election this year and lose, he
would probably resign. This would just about qualify him with
having been out of public office for the five years he proposed,
by 2001, for him to stand for elections (by Parliament and
not the people, of course) as president"
ABUSE OF POWERfrom The Australian, 12/6
'Tch-tch Mr. Tickner! Fancy you saying there is an 'abuse of power' by Dean Brown, Premier of South Australian (Women's Secrets Row May Force Enquiry, The Australian, 8/6) when your decision banned the building of a bridge for 25 years on unseen, unread evidence. "Abuse of power, indeed!"
(Stan Walters, Ringfield, S.A.)
LIVING IN THE CUCKOO'S NESTfrom The Australian, 12/6
"Charles Darwin told his fellow Poms they were created by monkeys, looked like apes and if they continued to drink tea, would evolve into public servants. "About 150 years later in the Socialist Republic of Ozasia the president told his subjects that all this talk about monkeys creating people and people looking like apes must stop. 'The Race Relations Board said the Government had radically vilified monkeys and apes and should resign. The Opposition agreed, saying monkeys and apes were more intelligent than the Government and should be given the vote. 'The republican constitution barred journalists and racists from the right to free speech but gave voters the basic right not to vote. 'The election was a draw. "Everyone stayed home and watched re-runs of Tarzan The Monkey Man on pay T.V. 'The High Court ordered the election re-run. "Pay T.V. said new elections could not be held. The Race Board had seized the Tarzan video. 'The High Court ruled that Tarzan was the monkey's uncle and the video non-racist. "A tea-drinking public servant said if people did not pull up their socks they would all have to eat bananas. "Pay T.V. announced that on re-run election day the dawn-to-dusk Tarzan videos would include the all time favourite Tarzan The Monkey Man v. The Planet of the Apes."
(Frank D. Brown, Dingley, Vic.)
UNDERSTANDING GOVERNMENT IN AUSTRALIAThe publication of an appendix to the Report of the Civics Expert Group who are to advise on how the structure of Australian Government is to be taught in schools offers sobering statistics. The accuracy of their survey is uncertain, but on the level of knowledge of what the different tiers of government do indicate that
42% of those surveyed have "only a little bit of knowledge" of what the federal government does.
45% have "only a little knowledge" (that is, almost total lack of knowledge) of what State governments do, and
50% know practically nothing of what local government does.
Around 66% know nothing much about the division of powers between federal and State governments, and
70% know nothing of the history of federation.
On the Constitution, 87% know "a little bit" or less about what the Constitution covers.
60% have almost total lack of knowledge about how the Constitution is changed, and
73% have an almost total lack of knowledge of what the Governor-General does.
Misunderstanding of the role of the Houses of Parliament is widespread, with 61% having almost no idea of what Cabinet is,
47% don't know how the Prime Minister is elected,
42% don't know how to vote for the House of Representatives, and
46% don't know how to vote for the Senate.
In a disquieting result for the republican cause, 62% have a "total lack of knowledge" of what a republic would mean for Australia.
|© Published by the Australian League of Rights, P.O. Box 27 Happy Valley, SA 5159|