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16 February 1996. Thought for the Week: "Good will always be vanquished by evil, so long as evil understands its tools better than good, but if good can only be taught to use its tools correctly, the good will vanquish evil. And what I mean by good is something, which is just as much in the nature of things, as gravity is in regard to physics."
THE PHONEY DEBATE CONTINUES
by Eric D. Butler
A feature of last week's campaigning was the blatant contest in electoral bribery. Millions were offered to different sections of the community. Neither Howard nor Keating have offered convincing evidence of how all that has been promised will be financed. Paul Keating has made the convenient discovery that the taxation system is being rorted by the super-rich and that he will get $500 million from this source.
Immigration and multiculturalism did not rate a mention, except in passing. Paul Keating raises the question of what John Howard was going to do about some of the "racists" in the Queensland National Party, instancing the National Party candidate for North Queensland, observing that by expelling Graeme Campbell from the Labor Party he had demonstrated that Campbell's kind of thinking would not be tolerated.
John Howard was not able to provide
a satisfactory answer to the question of how he was going
to fund his grandiose environmental policy if the Senate blocked
his proposed sale of part of Telstra to obtain necessary finance.
Neither Party leader relishes the prospect of operating in
a Parliament where they do not have a majority in the Senate.
In an address to what is now generally described as "the ethnic
community", in Melbourne, John Howard adopted what could almost
be described as a sickening groveling approach. He would not
tolerate "racism" of any description. Millions would be spent
on "educating" the Australian people against the evils of
"racism" and the virtues of multiculturalism.
During the "Great Debate," John Howard raised the question of unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, but as with the foreign debt issue, offered nothing concrete about what he was proposing to do. The best he could suggest on unemployment was that if the unnecessary shackling regulation were removed from Small Business, this would assist. No one disputes that Small Business is penalised, but the reality is that large-scale unemployment is a feature of all Western as well as the Japanese economy.
Germany, often held up as a model for other Western industrial economies, has recently announced that unemployment has now reached a record post-Second World War level. Those who believe that bigness is the solution for economic problems should note that Germany has Europe's largest economy. Calls for still greater growth ignore the reality of modem finance economics. The end of an era has come and all attempts at stimulating economies along orthodox lines can only increase trade as well as environmental problems.
One of the most revealing political statements of last week came from John Howard, who said that "The only big reform" that the Government had carried out was financial deregulation. John Howard had advocated this long before Paul Keating had accepted the policy. Paul Keating had, of course, originally opposed deregulation of the banking system, pointing out that Australia would lose its financial sovereignty if it allowed foreign banks to operate in Australia.
Neither John Howard nor Paul Keating
has demonstrated what benefits Australia has gained from deregulating
the banking system. Both continue to stress the necessity
for Australia to develop closer economic links with Asia.
Providing that the "it's time" factor operates, the phony debate should end with John Howard falling over the winning line as a result of default. He will not be able to claim any mandate for any firm policy commitment because he has not given one. The best result for the Australian people would be a government with a small majority in the House of Representatives, but lacking a majority in the Senate.
TEMPERATURE RISING IN AUSTRALIAN MULTICULTURAL MELTING POT
by David Thompson
"Many people of integrity, such as academics, are concerned about the implications of population growth in Australia, but are reluctant to enter into public debate for fear of being branded racist, "he said.
The research was conducted by a United States based demographer, Dr. Lincoln Day, who identifies immigration as the central factor in population growth. He warns that the present high immigrant intake threatens natural habitats, water quality, lifestyle and cultural integrity. Such problems will force the debate upon us sooner or later, the academics warn.
Australia is rapidly becoming unique internationally as one of the last nations in the world to maintain a numerically high mass-immigration policy. In particular, western European countries have taken steps to reduce the number of immigrants, and crack down heavily on illegal immigrants and asylum seekers. Nations such as France, Britain, Italy, Sweden, Holland, Germany and Austria are all moving towards a zero net immigration policy, apparently without the waves of liberal guilt washing over them, and hoarse shouts of "discrimination" and "racism" stifling public debate.
What is wrong with Australians that they are so readily intimidated by such abuse? The backlash against third-world migrants into Europe has been explained as an economic and environmental response. But it is clear that the issue that generates the tension and the friction is almost entirely the social issue of culture.
In Europe the European Union has a new treaty, the Schengen Agreement, guaranteeing passport free travel between member nations. However, some countries, like France, refuse to implement the agreement for social and cultural reasons, rather than the fear of economic refugees from disintegrating nations like Yugoslavia. The fear of Islamic fundamentalism is a significant factor in France, where several serious cases of terrorist bombings have taken place.
The British have been forced to try to stem the flow of bogus asylum seekers by declaring the nations of origin of many of those claiming asylum to be safe. Thousands of economic migrants are now to be returned to their countries of origin. The British Home Secretary, Mr. Michael Howard, dismissed suggestions that the measures were immoral, saying "It is not immoral to protect our asylum procedures against the current massive level of abuse."
The British are threatened with a flood of "asylum seekers" from India, Pakistan, Ghana, Poland, Rumania, Bulgaria and Cyprus in particular.
THE AUSTRALIAN EXPERIENCE
In Australia the most politically correct justification for reducing the migrant intake is for environmental and economic reasons. While these reasons are entirely justifiable on their own, it is clear that, as in other countries, the key issue, which generates rising passion on immigration, is that of culture. As yet, the climate of intimidation is such that relatively few dare to challenge the dogma that multiculturalism is "good". Relatively benign comments, such as that by a National Party candidate in North Queensland, describing naturalisation ceremonies as "de-wogging" procedures are still greeted with righteous indignation. Increasingly, however, the social friction is causing genuine frustration to be openly expressed.
Last month a tourist official on Queensland's Sunshine Coast was the target of the same kind of self-righteous abuse when he observed that the interests of tourism were not well served by high numbers of Asian visitors to the region. Don Moffatt expressed the view that the Sunshine Coast should not try to attract the Japanese tourist trade as the Gold Coast had done, because other tourists do not want to mix with them. When accused of racism, Moffatt defended himself: "I've done my own research worldwide, and I know tourists from South Africa, South America, North America and most of Europe will go out of their way not to holiday with Asians.... they don't like lining up for breakfast behind 56 Asians..." Moffatt also noted that the Asian tourist boom in the southern coastal region of Queensland was beginning to jeopardise tourism's "bread-and-butter" clients - Australian holidaymakers living within driving distance of the region.
BUCHANAN ROCKS REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS
The conservative Christian television commentator, Mr. Pat Buchanan, sent shockwaves through the United States political glitterati when he won a devastating victory over the heavily favoured Texas Senator Phil Gramm in the first of the presidential pre-selection primaries. These primaries are perhaps best compared to the Australian political party pre-selection process, except that the Americans will be selecting candidates for head of state as well as their chief executive.
Mr. Buchanan is well known in the United States for his pugnacious conservative views, including opposition to the U.S. open door immigration policy, Christian social policies on issues like abortion, and opposition to the free trade dogma of the global market. In making a virtue of his conservative stance, Buchanan delivered what was described as a "political thrashing" to the other "right-wing" candidate, Senator Gramm; Buchanan winning 62 percent of the vote to Gramm's 38 percent. The fact that the contest was in the Southern State of Louisiana, part of the U.S. Bible belt, obviously assisted Buchanan, but the result is regarded as a serious blow to Mr. Gramm's chances of winning the Republican nomination to run against Mr. Clinton for President later this year.
The Buchanan victory in the United States confirms a growing international trend away from globalist policies of 'free trade', the erosion of national sovereignty, and the dogma of multiculturalism. The United States has one of the world's worst illegal immigrant problems, with thousands of Mexican and other illegal immigrants pouring across its southern borders daily. Together with the recent North American Free Trade Agreement (N.A.F.T.A.), rammed through the U.S. Congress last year, such internationalisation of the U.S. is generating the same type of backlash as that in Australia.
The question is how to give legitimate political expression to such a backlash in the face of a form of monopolistic political party control of the political process. Perhaps Mr. Buchanan can provide the focus for such widespread views in much the same way that Graeme Campbell has become a household name in Australia for similar reasons.
MISGUIDED BUSINESS PUSH INTO ASIA
A former secretary of the Department
of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Duncan Campbell, has warned that the
obsession with Asia as a trading region is jeopardising one
of Australia's strongest markets - Europe. He pointed out
that being "mesmerised by Asia" deflected effort from capitalising
on trade with the European Union, which totalled 40 billion
dollars, or 20 percent of all trading transactions.
An Ambassador to Italy from 1988 to 1993, Mr. Campbell said that the Department of Foreign Affairs orientation towards Asia was lopsided, and bore little resemblance to statistical reality. It is clear, however, that the Asianisation of Australia has little to do with practicalities, and more to do with grandiose ideological dreams by those who hope to be remembered as political visionaries.
Mr. Duncan Campbell's warning tallies closely with the views on foreign trade of his namesake, Graeme Campbell, Member for Kalgoorlie. Graeme Campbell has long argued that the shortsighted obsession with Asia is jeopardising Australian interests in Europe in particular. Europe is still Australia's largest supplier of imported goods, second biggest merchandise trading partner, and biggest trading partner for services. According to the statistics, European investment in Australia exceeds one billion dollars, almost 30 percent of all foreign investment.
What is required when considering trading and immigration policy, is a sound grasp of reality, and a rejection of short-term ideological fashions. In short, put Australian interests first. Anything else is suicidal.
Commenting on the election campaign,
Les Carlyon (former Editor of The Age) writes (Sun-Herald,
Perhaps the applications for registration of new political parties provide a barometer for public frustration. The Electoral Commission reports that the following applications were made since Christmas: Campbell's Independent Movement, Rebuild Australia Party, Over taxed Drinkers Party, Over taxed Motorists Party and Over taxed Smokers Party.
All Election comment authorised by David Thompson, 145 Russell Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.
FLAG SNUBBEDfrom The Australian, February 5th
"At the launch of the Federal Government's Youth Policy last week (29/1) at the Frankston Cultural Centre, when filing past for the usual handshake, I offered the Prime Minister the only Australian Flag on view either outside or inside the venue. The offer was refused with a curt 'I don't want that'. "Joan Kirner, next in line, and Bob Chenowyth, Member for Dunkley, also refused, and Simon Crean, to his credit and discomfort accepted the flag (despite an anguished plea of 'Don't Simon from someone who sounded very like Joan Kirner and was conscious of the photo opportunity). They can all verify the incident.
"Since our flag can be changed without a referendum I have doubts for its future should Keating be returned."
(Len Smith, Frankston, Victoria)
WHEN WAVING FLAGS IS NOT FOR AUSTRALIAfrom The Australian, February 5th
"I was greatly annoyed to read of the comments of Professor Mary Kalantzis in the Australia Day article, Why Call Australia Home? (The Australian, 25/ 1) in which she rubbished the concerns of those perturbed at seeing supporters of Mark Philippoussis waving Greek flags. "She argues that this is an act of contribution, not division. How would she know? Being a tennis fan I have observed their behaviour for several years and can only reach the opposite conclusion. "People in Melbourne have been waving Greek flags for a number of years now, but not for young 'Scud'. They've been waving them for Pete Sampras, an American of Greek descent, who, as far as I'm aware, never mentioned his Greek heritage before he got to Australia as the world's best male tennis player and had it thrust upon him. How Greek is he? His favourite sports team is Superbowl champions and the Dallas Cowboys, 'America's Team'.
"So in Melbourne we've witnessed the bizarre sight of Greeks cheering for an American in Australia. That's why when Sampras played Scud these people couldn't lose. In a display of opportunism that would have made a tabloid journalist proud, they merely switched sides when Scud got on top of Sampras, all the while waving the Greek flag.
Or what about those people who wave the Croatian flag for Goran Ivanisevic? Professor Kalantzis probably thinks they're 'contributing' too. The only problem is that Ivanisevic is Croatian, not Australian.
"Surely Professor Kalantzis has not let her own Greek heritage cloud her objectivity? And no, I'm not an elderly, disgruntled 'Anglo'. As my name indicates, I have my own share of immigrant blood, an Austrian father, to be precise. If he ever saw me cheering for Thomas Muster over our own Mark Woodforde he would be appalled, and rightly so."
(Adrian Haberhauer, Randwick, N.S.W)
GET RID OF THIS HOCUS-POCUSfrom Herald-Sun, February 12th
"I refer to the letter from Fed Up New Australian (Herald-Sun), Feb.2). "I also came to Australia in 1953 from a non-English speaking country and together with many of my Australian and immigrant friends, fully agree with the comments about multiculturalism. "Yes, Australia is made up of people from many different countries, some with different color, religions and customs, and speaking a variety of languages. "This rich mixture of people should be encouraged to assimilate as quickly as possible and accept the Australian way of life without the confusing hocus-pocus, hog-wash, term of multiculturalism. "May I suggest that from now on Herald-Sun never prints that expression again, as the sooner forgotten the better."
(B. Schutte, Wiliamstown, Victoria)
NO MANDATE FOR SENATE FROM POLLEditorial, The Australian, February 12th
This is an important issue raised by The Australian: "The Senate has no live ammunition to fire in the war of the election mandates. Under our political system, the capacity to form a government and claim a mandate to implement policy arises in the House of Representatives. Only governments have mandates, and only the House can make a government. Yet the Australian Democrats and the leader of Australian Greens, Dr. Bob Brown, have been talking about securing a 'mandate' in this federal election to block the mandate won by the next government. "In particular, they propose claiming a mandate to block the part-privatisation of Telstra should the next government be formed by the Coalition. But it makes no sense in our political system for individual senators to claim a mandate. The Senate is not a rival administration with a mandate to set against that of the government. And even if the Senate could claim some kind of mandate, this is a strange time to assert it. Only half the Senate is up for re-election on March 2 - and the incumbent senators can hardly claim to represent the verdict of the electorate in this campaign.
"An incoming government should not have to be confronted with a Senate bent on frustrating the implementation of policies pivotal to the programmes that were put clearly before the people before polling day. Whenever senators talk about a mandate in this campaign, voters should remember that the Senate as a whole is not facing the people. This is a half-Senate election and the Senate post-election cannot claim a mandate.
DOLLAR BILLfrom The Australian, February 12th
"The Commonwealth Bank has found another way of increasing customers' costs and improving their own bottom line. In letters just received by business, the Commonwealth Bank says it will no longer use its own New York office for processing U.S. dollar payments but will use the Bank of New York. "Until now, the Commonwealth's New York office did not charge a fee for U.S. dollar clearances on top of the fee charged by the Bank in Australia. In future the Bank of New York will deduct a fee from every Commonwealth Bank U.S. dollar payment. C.B.A. in Australia will still charge clients the earlier fee and save the full cost of processing transactions by not using its own office in New York.
"In wording that would do George Orwell proud, the Commonwealth asserts, 'We are confident that the movement of our U.S. dollar clearing business from our New York office to the Bank of New York will provide a better service.'''
(Geoffrey Turnbull, Managing Director, Stassen Australia Ltd., Strawberry Hills, N.S.W.)
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