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1 March 1996. Thought for the Week: "A democratic Parliament is .... from its inherent nature an assembly of representatives, not of delegates. It is concerned with impressing the will of the people upon the institutions of industry, agriculture, and commerce, and that will can only be concerned with results. Methods are for experts, and popular election is an unsound method by which to appoint experts."
C.H. Douglas in The Alberta Experiment


Late last week the Independent Candidate for Kalgoorlie dropped a political bombshell into the Federal Election campaign. In a press statement Campbell said that the impossible promises and cynical pork barreling of both Coalition and Labor were destroying public trust. "Everybody expects campaign promises to be broken. No one trusts any of the political parties.…it is a sad reflection on Australian politics that politicians don't trust the Australian people. Neither Keating nor Howard are really consulting the electorate. They insult the electorate by arrogantly telling us what they will do to us."

Graeme Campbell then challenged the Party political leaders, including Democrat leader Kernot, "to join me in a demonstration of trust for our voters by agreeing to support voters' referendums. Give the Australian people the chance to initiate referendums on any issue of substance that bothers them, and agree to abide by the results. Let them show that they are not afraid of real democracy". Campbell says that he will be sponsoring a private members' bill in the new Parliament for referendums to be initiated by electors. He says, "All major parties denigrate me, but they refuse to ask electors what they want. I know the majority of electors agree with me."

Graeme Campbell has received powerful support from Mr. Ted Mack, former Independent Member for North Sydney and long-time advocate of the principle of direct democracy, who has issued a statement urging the electors of Kalgoorlie to re-elect Campbell. Mack says, "The two major parties are rife with careerists, cronyism, nepotism and the fostering of corruption. They have become like two mafia gangs vying for power, to gain control of the Australian treasury to distribute benefits to those who fund them and their 'mates'."

This scorching comment from a man who has served in both Local and State Governments, is being widely distributed in Kalgoorlie. Ted Mack says that Graeme Campbell had proved himself to be one of the most active and fearless Members of Federal Parliament, adding, "He will be even better now that he is free of the yoke of those who control the Labor Party."

Then came another body blow for the major political parties, particularly the Liberal Party. Former Senator Reg Withers, a Liberal Party Minister in the Fraser Government, has entered the election campaign; urging Kalgoorlie electors to send Campbell back to Canberra. Withers says, "Graeme, rightly or wrongly, believed he was sticking up for what his electors wanted; now if that is to be a crime in a political party, then God help us. I rather thought he was there to represent the electors of Kalgoorlie, and not just be a voter for the A.L.P. in Parliament."

Withers has rocked the Liberal Party with some scathing comments concerning the state of his own Party. Former Finance Minister in the Hawke Government, Senator Peter Walsh, has also joined the growing chorus of support for Graeme Campbell.

We have consistently maintained that Graeme Campbell was a political phenomenon, which could shape the future of Australia. Irrespective of whether Keating or Howard is Prime Minister after the coming Federal Elections, they will find themselves dealing with a completely new force in Australian politics. It will be instructive to see how many Members of Parliament will join with Graeme Campbell in passing legislation which will indicate trust in the Australian electors. History is being made.


The Sunday Age, Melbourne, of February 25th, carries an interesting article by Doug Aiton on Australia's most distinguished historian, Professor Geoffrey Blainey. Blainey gives his views on several questions, including religion, which clearly he sees as most important: ... "I'm religious in an unorthodox sense. For all its faults, religion is the most influential force for good in history."

Blainey admires some aspects of Paul Keating, but says it would have been much better for Australia if Keating had been a stockbroker or a trade union organiser. But he emphatically disagrees with Keating concerning Asia. "I don't see Australia as part of Asia. And I don't see why the majority of migrants should come from Asia." Blainey made it clear that he was not anti-Asian in any way; he had been to a number of Asian countries on several occasions, and was interested in the diversity. He makes the telling point that "I see no more reason why Australia should take a majority of Asian migrants than that the Chinese should take a majority of European migrants".

Blainey's commonsense view contrasted vividly with that of Paul Keating, who continues to insist that Australia's future depends upon a closer relationship with Asia. Keating continues to put the view that the slightest suggestion of "racism" in Australia will prevent Asian nations trading with Australia. The reality is that the Asian nations could not care less about what Paul Keating is saying; they will trade with Australia only if they feel it is to their advantage. Just as the Japanese economy has collapsed; so eventually will the economies of the Asian "tigers" Australia should maintain its independence by diversifying its trading programme.


Pat Buchanan, campaigning for the Republican Party nomination for the United States Presidency, has badly shaken his Republican opponents by winning the crucial New Hampshire Primary contest last week. Historically, New Hampshire is a key ballot and the majority of those who win in this important ballot go on to win their Party's nomination for President.
Buchanan's victory over Senate leader Bob Dole has caused consternation among the Republican Party leadership.

Having Buchanan as their presidential nominee is a nightmare that the Republicans will avoid at any cost: not because he has no chance of becoming President but because if he won the Republican nomination, he would have every chance of becoming President. This would be anathema to the U.S. Establishment, dominated by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission who have controlled every presidential nominee since before World War II, because of Buchanan's policy positions.

Buchanan has made it clear that he rejects the internationalist agenda that the U.S. Establishment consistently promotes through their Presidents. He has campaigned strongly against the "free trade" agenda, which the U.S. has promoted throughout the world as being against the interests of the United States itself. He proposes the breaking up of the North American Free Trade Association, which had to be rammed through Congress by Mr. Clinton, with many Congressmen under immense pressure from their constituents not to agree to a global programme that threatens United States industry, and therefore domestic employment.
Although low by international standards, the unemployment rates in the United States are now directly linked to the policy of farming out U.S. industry to third world countries like Mexico where wage rates are at slave labour levels.

Buchanan also rejects the politically correct "united front" that the two major political parties have presented on the immigration issue. Pointing to an illegal immigrant problem that has assumed epidemic proportions, particularly along the Mexican border, Buchanan proposes to halt all immigration for five years. Pat Buchanan has hit a rather raw nerve by opposing the way in which American troops have been "used" by the United Nations for "peacekeeping" adventures in many parts of the globe, particularly in Bosnia. He has proposed that at a very beginning no American troops shall be commanded by foreigners in any circumstances, a constitutional requirement that has been flouted by Clinton.

A traditional Catholic himself with a huge television programme following, Buchanan has picked up strong support from the "fundamentalist Christian" constituency for his unequivocal stand against abortion, irrespective of the cause of pregnancy. His position on other moral issues reinforces this support base, but Buchanan's main strength is that at last a candidate is resolutely suggesting that voters in the next presidential contest due later this year put American interests first.


His determination to represent the interests of the United States as a priority has also hit another very raw nerve in Washington when Buchanan insists that many aspects of the U.S.-Israeli alliance have also been to the detriment of the United States. In particular, Buchanan points to the huge aid programme financed by the United States, much of which goes directly to military expenditure. The Israeli record of military aggression against Palestinian (many of which are Christian) targets is a serious embarrassment to the United States.

Buchanan has become an unexpected political phenomenon in the United States, made the more powerful because he clearly gives expression to the very large proportion of Americans frustrated with and ignored by big government. Increasing proportions of Americans feel alienated from a government that appears to take Americans for granted; while pandering to minority interest groups or foreign interests. Buchanan's popularity is a direct reflection of this and a direct challenge to the "U.S. Establishment".

What can be done to stop Buchanan? The first strategy to stop Buchanan is already going into top gear throughout the United States, that is personal denigration and smearing with such charges as anti-Semitism, racism extremism, etc. His position on such issues as Israel is being twisted into anti-Semitism. His position on immigration is being misrepresented as "racism", and Buchanan is now accused of consulting with "extremist groups" like the Ku Klux Klan. Anyone on Buchanan's staff who have ever had any links with such groups are now being rooted out, and held up as reasons why Buchanan cannot be trusted.

Pat Buchanan now faces a media hate barrage the like of which the United States has not seen since the destruction of Senator Joe McCarthy, who insisted that communists who had infiltrated the U.S. administration should be exposed. If the insiders of the Republican hierarchy cannot successfully destroy Buchanan politically, the threat he poses the financial establishment in the United States may even resort to assassination.


The case of communist agitator and Maoist, Albert Langer, is perhaps one of the most unusual of recent times. Langer has been imprisoned for contempt of court for refusing to desist in a campaign to inform voters that they are not compelled to allocate their preferences when voting for the House of Representatives. Langer highlights a curious bureaucratic anomaly in the Electoral Commission Act. It is illegal to encourage an informal vote once the writs have been issued for an election. At the same time, it is illegal to inform voters that there is a technical method of casting a vote for the preferred candidate in the House of Representatives, but then preventing the transfer of the second; third; etc., preferences afterwards. According to the Sun-Herald (20/2/96), this is achieved by rejecting candidates for which the voter has no preference by putting the same number against their name on the ballot paper, placing them equal last, after voting for the candidate of choice.

All Election comment authorised by David Thompson, 145 Russell Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.


Dr. David Butler has been coming to Australia for many years to study our election performances. He has much to say and observe that demands serious attention. He admits that Psephology (study of elections) is not an exact science, and that he, himself, is influenced by polls. However, we do disagree with him with respect to compulsory voting in Australia. He thinks that we Australians should retain it. Why? "Compulsory voting relieves the citizen of much harassment by the parties. Since you've got to vote the activists don't need to badger you to use your franchise. This saves the parties a lot of work (compared to, say, New Zealand or Britain). It also saves people in marginal seats from inordinate pressures to get them to the booths. And it spares pollsters and pundits from having to make allowance for the likely turnout"

We'd like a say too, we don't want compulsory voting because we believe it forces an irresponsible vote. We value the freedom NOT to vote. We are not concerned with pollsters and pundits, or most politicians. If they are worth voting for, then we'll vote for them. The word, Dr. Butler, is choice. The individual should have the choice to vote, or not to vote. Never mind all the other stuff, we'll handle that, as do the vast majority of nations that do not have compulsory voting.


from The Australian, February 21st
"I note that the widespread concern expressed about the jailing of Albert Langer as a result of s329A of the Electoral Act which bans people advocating anything other than a full and constructive preferential vote for the House of Representatives. "The Coalition members of the Commonwealth Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (myself, David Connolly, John Tierney, and Michael Cobb) called for the repeal of this section in our Dissenting Report on the 1993 Federal election, tabled in November 1994.
"Senator Chamorette supported our recommendation, but it was opposed by the Labor majority.
"We the Coalition members said that section 329A is a heavy-handed response to a highly marginal phenomenon and should be repealed. Our main objection is on the ground of civil liberties; to vote informally is not an unlawful act, nor is it unlawful to use section 270 to effectively cast a first preference only. It is therefore highly objectionable that someone advocating such a vote runs the risk of spending six months in prison."
(Nick Minchin, Liberal Senator for S.A., Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T.)


The following is the text of the statement issued by the retiring Independent Member for North Sydney, Mr. Ted Mack. Ted Mack's own record is most impressive. He was the Independent Mayor of North Sydney from 1980-81, when he contested and won the State Seat of North Sydney, which he held until 1988. He will go down in history for resigning from State Parliament in protest against his entitlement of $1 million in superannuation, which he refused to accept. He then went on to win the blue-ribbon Federal Seat of North Sydney from Percy Spender, in a shock result in 1990. In a press statement, Mack endorsed a selection of Independent candidates around the country, including sitting Members Phil Cleary and former Liberal M.P. in Moore in W.A., Paul Filing. He has also endorsed television presenter, Mr. Peter Andren in the N.S.W. seat of Calare and the No Aircraft Noise Party candidate for Sydney Seat of Graynbler Kevin Butler.

His statement in support of Campbell reads
"The people of the Federal electorate of Kalgoorlie are fortunate to have a representative like Graeme Campbell," said Ted Mack, the retiring Independent Member for North Sydney. Mr. Mack is the only person to have represented his electorate at all three levels of Government as an Independent.
"Only Graeme Campbell can represent Kalgoorlie. Anyone who votes for Keating or Howard simply hands their rights over to Sydney big business that both major parties represent," he said. 'The two major parties are rife with careerists, cronyism, nepotism and the fostering of corruption. They have become like two Mafia gangs vying for power to gain control of the Australian treasury to distribute benefits to those who fund them and their 'mates'," he said.
"Graeme has proved himself to be one of the most active and fearless members of Federal Parliament. He will be even better now that he is free of the yoke of those who control the Labor Party."
"Elections become multi-million dollar competitions between two advertising agencies, offering false promises and election bribes. The rigid two-party system is dragging the country down, resulting in endless scandals, corruption and personal abuse, and threatens democracy itself."
"Only a vote for Independents like Graeme Campbell can prevent more of the same."


The following is the text of Graeme Campbell's challenge to the political party leaders to represent the interests of Australians rather than impose their own bi-partisan agenda. We are not aware of widespread media coverage of the Campbell statement, but having acquired a copy of the full statement, place it on the public record. The stunning victory by Republican Patrick Buchanan in the U.S. presidential primary on Wednesday was clearly fuelled by the same factors, which will enable Graeme Campbell to win Kalgoorlie.

"Buchanan's defiant stance on reducing immigration, rejecting free trade to preserve jobs and a return to traditional values and nationalism demonstrates that I am in touch with a universal groundswell of public opinion," said Mr. Campbell. "The facade of popular support claimed by big political parties on issues like immigration, is beginning to crack in countries like Canada, the U.S.A. and Australia."
"The blatant lies, impossible promises and cynical pork-barreling of both Coalition and Labor campaigns are also destroying public trust." "Everybody experts these campaign promises to be broken," said Mr. Campbell.
"No-one trusts any of the political parties, and I believe it is a sad reflection on Australian politics that politicians don't trust the Australian people." "Neither Keating nor Howard are really consulting the electorate. They insult the electorate by arrogantly telling us what they will do to us," he said. "I challenge Keating, Howard and Kernot, join me in a demonstration of trust for our voters by agreeing to support voters' referendums," he said.
"Give the Australian people the chance to initiate referendums on any issue of substance that bothers them, and agree to abide by the result. Let political leaders show that they're not afraid of real democracy."

Mr. Campbell announced that he would be sponsoring a Private Members Bill in the new Parliament for referendums to be initiated by voters saying, "If the major parties were serious about consulting the electorate, they will support this Bill." "All major parties denigrate me, but they refuse to ask voters what they want," he said. "I know the majority of Australians agree with me."
"Why did the Liberal leadership silence Mr. Peter Reith, Member for Flinders, on this issue just last year? This is what happens in big parties. They don't want to trust Australians with a genuine political choice. I was thrown out of the A.L.P. because I wouldn't shut up about key issues like immigration, becoming part of Asia, and industry policy. I object to the abuse heaped on Bob Katter and others for expressing quite legitimate views in good faith, even if their language could have been more moderate. Every decent politician should be free to tell it as it is."


What is ridiculous about Langer's situation is that the Electoral Commission is well aware, and does not dispute, Langer's contention that both the casting of an informal vote, and casting a vote through which preferences are not distributed, are both perfectly valid votes, and must be counted as such by the Commission's staff. The ridiculous situation in which Langer now finds himself is, of course, self-imposed, in order to draw attention to ludicrous electoral laws which act against the best interests of the voter. The regulations, which he highlights, are simply another result of the system of compulsory voting: one compulsion requiring successive compulsions in order to frustrate innovative alternatives.

Please note: The League does not recommend the use of the Langer method of not distributing preferences for a House of Representatives vote, because it is as yet unlikely that scrutineers at polling booths will be prepared to oppose the political parties insistence that such votes are ruled invalid. That is, rather than limit the distribution of preferences, such votes are, on balance, more likely to be ruled as informal votes.

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