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17 February 1995. Thought for the Week: "Only in liberty will the flower of civilisation unfold."
BEHIND THE PARTY POLITICAL FACADE
by Eric D. Butler
There are good reasons for believing that the current controversy concerning alleged "leaks" to the Opposition parties about possible major spending cuts seriously affecting lower income earners, and those receiving welfare payments, have been deliberately fabricated as part of a "softening up" process before the coming Federal Budget.
We have it on the authority of a former senior Cabinet Minister of the Keating Government, Graham Richardson, that sophisticated lying is one of the finer arts of modern governments. Aided by the media, Opposition leader John Howard, and his colleagues are contributing to what is a major political charade, by attempting to frighten electors by claiming that the "leaks" prove just how ruthless the Keating Government can be. The reality is that under current financial orthodoxy, to which John Howard also subscribes, the Keating Government proposes to do what all the "experts" recommend: increase taxes and cut government spending, thus reducing the deficit - a type of sacred cow - easing the balance of payments and, most importantly, demonstrating to the International Bankers that Australia has a "responsible" government which makes them worthy of continued debt financing.
The problem for Keating and his strategists is how to appease the International Debt merchants and their local hirelings without creating an electoral backlash, which could continue until the next Federal elections. If electors can be terrified with the threat of a "Horror budget", which turns out not to be quite as bad as projected, and with John Howard and the Opposition being forced to agree with the general thrust of the budget, then the Keating strategists hope to further the widespread public perception that there are no basic differences between the Labor Government and the Opposition and claim that, based on his past record, John Howard can do no better than the Keating Government.
It is as certain as the sunrise that when the budget is introduced, it will not be quite as bad as currently predicted. There will be a sigh of relief with the feeling that "It might have been worse". Anyone who thinks that what has been presented is a little too Machiavellian, might consider another significant development: the back flip by the Opposition parties on the Mabo issue. The conventional view is that the Opposition has done this to deny the Government a "trigger" for a double dissolution and a full Senate election.
Both the Government and the Opposition fear a full Senate election because they know, as the public opinion polls show, that a large and growing number of Australians, including young Australians, are alarmed about an immigration policy which has the support of both the Government and the Opposition.
A series of by-elections has demonstrated that a relatively amateur and poorly funded political group like Australians Against Further Immigration could in a general Senate election, with the smaller quota required, elect at least several candidates holding the balance of power in the Senate. If the Australians Against Further Immigration could broaden their objectives and find a high profile figure like Labor Member Graeme Campbell to lead them in the next Senate campaign, the results could be dramatic. Anyone who has read Graeme Campbell's New England University Address must agree that it clearly enunciates the basic requirements for an effective national survival programme.
While large numbers of Australians are openly cynical in their attitude towards the major political parties, and this cynicism will deepen as the result of the phony Budget "debate", they are desperately seeking the type of leadership which only a politician of Graeme Campbell's standing can provide. It is a fact of history that it often takes a major national crisis to see the emergence of a leader with the capacity to act as a catalyst. The potential for a genuine grassroots Australian movement was never greater: And it would be most appropriate if it started in the Senate, which originally was designed to represent the founders of the Federation - the sovereign States.
FARMERS 'GET BIG OR GET OUT'
by David Thompson
The policy, summarised as "get big, or get out", was invoked as a mantra to eliminate thousands of family farming enterprises, and is vested with the aura or "progress" so that it can never seriously be challenged. It has even now been accepted by the peak rural lobby group, the National Farmers Federation, so that less effort is now made to help primary producers to retain their properties than that made to help them to leave their properties.
The "get big or get out" philosophy emerged again at the recent annual Outlook Conference, held by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE). Dr. Steve Beare warned that the clearly emerging "trend" was for farms to continue to get bigger, with fewer farmers surviving into the next century. Dr. Beare produced figures, showing that this was inevitable.
Observers are reminded of George Orwell's
propaganda pig, "Squealer", in Animal Farm, who was
always ready with a new set of figures on the back of the
barn door to demonstrate how conditions were "improving" since
the farmer had been banished, no matter how the evidence before
the eyes of the other animals suggested otherwise.
A CONSTRUCTIVE FINANCIAL POLICY
The recent rain in many areas of drought hit N.S.W. may, ironically, increase the pressure on struggling farmers. Now that stock feed is beginning to grow again, banks are considering another round of mortgagee sales to eliminate those in the worst financial position. The N.S.W. Rural Assistance Authority, which is incapable of keeping up with pleas for assistance, estimates that almost 20 percent of N.S.W. farmers risk losing their properties.
The truth is that no elaborate allocations of Commonwealth or State drought assistance can preserve a healthy rural sector. Only a financial policy designed to assist primary production is of any long-term value. Ironically, at various times, each major political party espoused such a policy.
Before Whitlam was elected in 1972, the A.L.P. spokesman on rural policy, Dr: Rex Patterson produced a rural policy, which advocated long-term, low-interest finance, to be made available utilising the Commonwealth Bank. But under the present Labor administration, not only would this policy be unheard of, but they are even selling off the Bank!
To match this policy, the Liberal Party's Federal Rural Committee urged the Liberal Party offer "substantial and unlimited" long-term loans to farmers. There is no long-term future for the traditional family farm, the original backbone of the nation, until such policies are adopted. Perhaps Mr. John Howard might take an interest?
PUSH FOR THE DEATH PENALTYIndependent M.P. Tony Windsor, of Tamworth, has prepared a Private Member's Bill proposing a referendum on the death penalty. A group of Coalition Backbenchers has vowed to support the Windsor bill, and demand the death penalty for murder in N.S.W. The Backbenchers, led by former Minister Gerry Peacocke, also propose to hand a submission to Premier Fahey if the Coalition survives the election calling for tougher minimum penalties for serious crimes, including a minimum five years imprisonment for "home invasion" crimes. Mr. Peacocke indicated that the Rural Alliance, a group of conservative, mainly rural, M.P's., would be prepared to cross the floor of the House to achieve more conservative policies on a range of issues.
As we have warned for several years,
"privatisation" is a buzzword designed to confuse the innocent
into believing that they will benefit from the selling of
public assets. The truth is that public assets pass under
the control of multinationals financed by the International
Bankers. Distinguished Roman Catholic commentator B.A. Santamaria
has rendered a national service by using his column in The
Weekend Australian to warn that "Privatisation is a minefield".
In The Weekend Australian of February 1lth-12th, Santamaria
points out what has happened in the U.K. under privatisation,
Well-known commentator Terry Lane has
joined the growing chorus of protest against privatisation
of public assets, stating in The Sunday Age, February
11th, that "Victorian water charges are being increased to
increase the profits (of Melbourne water) so that some Japanese
plutocrat will fall over his cheque book to buy our waterworks..."
As demonstrated by his abolition of Local Government in Victoria without consulting the electors, Premier Kennett (and his minders) believe that they have some divine right to ignore the people, a fact which Victorians should bear in mind before the next State elections.
* * * * * * * * *
Non-Aboriginal Australians, the overwhelming
majority of the population, should reject the carefully fostered
view that they should feel guilty about the appalling health
problems of many Australians of Aboriginal or part-Aboriginal
background. Even the former radical Pat O'Shane, in a letter
to The Age (February 10th), stresses that more money
is not the answer to the problem, pointing out that "A good
deal of ... money has been wasted on excessive bureaucratic
* * * * * * * * *
In his 1978 Budget speech, Mr. John Howard expressed his regret that in order to reduce the deficit, "it was necessary to raise substantial additional revenue..." But the increases were only going to be "temporary"! Now Treasurer Willis says what Howard was saying. And yet there are some naive people who believe that a change from Willis to Howard will improve the state of the economy!
AUSTRALIA DEFENCE ASSOCIATION - S.E. QUEENSLAND BRANCH
"Now the A.L.P. is refloating its idea
of creating 'Land Banks'. Evidently the State is to buy farms
and lease them back to farmers. As our land title deeds have
been destroyed, the socialist state may simply convert freehold
to leasehold at some future date. 'This all makes you wonder
for whom the Government is really working, and why,' he said.
"If we want to keep Australia for Australians, we'd all better
start looking after fellow Australians in the bush a lot better,
Mr. King said.
"A weak Australia is incapable of defending
its people, property, or interests, Mr. King said. "'The time
is well and truly here for us to ask why this is happening,
and how we can stop it,' he said. 'Australia does not have
the luxury of more time. The fight for our future has started.
We must decide whether we will win, or let our children curse
our cowardly inaction."'
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