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16 May 1997. Thought for the Week: "The essence of virtue consists in the good rather than in the difficult."
JOHN HOWARD VERSUS PAULINE HANSON
by Eric D. Butler
At the height of the Cold War, when some believed that it was "Better to be red than dead", that a major nuclear holocaust would result in all human life being extinguished on earth, one in-depth assessment came to the conclusion that this scenario was not justified. It concluded that an exchange of nuclear attacks between the two major nuclear heavyweights, the Soviet Union and the U.S.A., would inflict massive damage in the Northern Hemisphere, with considerable nuclear fallout drifting to the Southern Hemisphere. And that the country likely to be least affected would be little New Zealand, in the South Pacific.
But the real danger to New Zealand would be that with much of the world devastated, the nation would have to face an even bigger threat: there would be nowhere to export. This story helps to highlight the drama now confronting the whole of mankind. There was no suggestion that the New Zealanders, with some of the most innovative farmers in the world with a variety of climates and rich volcanic soils, could not feed themselves. There was no claim that they could not house themselves, clothe themselves or warm themselves. Divorced from the rest of the world, the New Zealanders could, having changed their financial rules to reflect reality, live a type of life, which those who can afford it, seek to find in an endeavour to "get away from it all".
The creativeness of Western man, starting with the British, resulted in an industrial revolution, which made it possible to lift the burden of human labour from the shoulders of man on to the machine, powered with solar energy. Failure to adapt the financial system to what offered the prospect of a new golden age for mankind, surpassing that of the Greeks who had relied upon slavery to make possible the development of a leisured class, which could devote the whole of its time to creative achievements, was missed.
A few Christian leaders glimpsed the possibility of a big step forward for a Western Civilisation, which in its institutions and culture reflected the core values of Christianity. But the misdirection of the industrial revolution helped to create the conditions in which the collectivist virus took root. Initially the basic flaw in the finance economic system was masked by what appeared to be unlimited opportunities for expansion into the new world. The creative energies of the British found an outlet in the American colonies and later in other parts of the British Empire. But the growth of the industrial revolution in all Western European nations led inevitably, under financial rules which generated increasing debt, in a "fight for foreign markets". The end result was two world wars, which temporarily provided unlimited export markets in the form of wholesale economic destruction.
The value system of the Christian West was badly shattered. Rebuilding shattered economies temporarily masked the basic problem. Following the first great disaster of the century, the First World War, a few sane voices, prominently that of the Scottish engineer C.H. Douglas, were raised concerning the disastrous direction in which mankind was headed. "Was mass industrialisation essential to serve the true purpose of man?" A number of distinguished thinkers warned that not only was mass industrialisation completely unnecessary to provide man with greater economic freedom and security, but that it was progressively destroying the natural environment.
The famous biologist Dr. Alexis Carrel in Man The Unknown warned that the philosophy undergirding increasing mass production was in essence one of anti-life itself. The attempt to impose this philosophy on the African, whose temperaments are very different to that of the European, are doomed to produce even greater psychological damage than has been created among Western peoples. The mass destruction in Africa, and the collapse back into charnel house conditions, merely provide a bottomless pit into which Western resources can be poured. But what of Asia, now openly touted as the big hope for Western based economies, as witnessed by the statement of John Howard.
What has happened is that Western technology, a product of Western industrialisation, has been exported into Asia whose main value, according to the new breed of orthodox economists, the economic rationalists, is that there were vast markets awaiting to be developed in China and other Asian countries. The nature and philosophies of the Oriental people are such that they may more readily adapt to mass industrialisation than Western man. But for a Western nation like Australia to commit its future to what must inevitably happen in Asia is a form of national suicide.
John Howard and his fellow economic rationalists do not see this, and in the nature of reality cannot be expected to grasp the more fundamental issues involved. Protestors against ecological vandalism are not tolerated in Asian nations. The damage done to the environment in Western nations is nothing compared with what is already happening in Asia. John Howard, like other Western politicians, closes his eyes to violations of human rights in China and elsewhere because of the fear of losing export markets.
Those who have read that revealing book, The Asian Mind Game, the author being of Chinese background, know that the Asian culture is so different to that of Westerners, that it is dangerous folly to talk about fairness, decency, and similar values, all associated with Christianity. Genuine trade between Asia and Australia can only be conducted with Australia re-organising its internal economy so that it can deal with all Asian nations from a position of strength. The first requirement is some moral strength.
Pauline Hanson towers above John Howard and his fellow internationalists. In boxing parlance, Pauline Hanson is easily winning on points after the first round with Howard. In the rounds to come, Howard may easily experience a complete knockout. But before this happens, he might ponder on that question which asks, what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul?
PEDIGREE OF THE ASIA SOCIETY
by David Thompson
But while the casino opening might have been a spectacular circus, it was really only a sideshow, compared with the main event in Sydney. While Premier Kennett and the glitterati were performing in Melbourne, Prime Minister Howard was attending the launch of the Asia Society in Australia, in Sydney. Howard took the opportunity to open up on Pauline Hanson and the One Nation party, hoping that if he thoroughly condemned her, perhaps she would go away.
While Howard's attack on Hanson was anticipated,
the real significance was the vehicle he used - the Asia Society.
Where did it come from, and what is the Asia Society? Peter
Harcher, The Financial Review's Asia correspondent,
outlined the background of the Asia Society on May 9th. It
is not merely another study group or "think-tank" on Asia.
It was founded in 1956 in New York, by John D. Rockefeller
III, as the American financial spearhead into Asia following
World War II, when the American banking houses and multinationals
were positioning themselves in Asia. American business groups
wanted, in particular, to establish a strong presence in Japan,
which was then beginning to westernise. Rockefeller's Asia
Society was the forerunner to the Trilateral Commission, which
was established to begin to mould the world into three major
trading blocs, in the Americas, Europe and Asia. This programme
is now well advanced, and the Asia Society exists simply to
facilitate the programme.
The key organiser of the Asia Society launch was Western Mining's Hugh Morgan, but some 400 of Australia's top industry and financial elite paid $250 each to help launch it. Among them were BHP's John Prescott, Mrs. Janet Holmes a Court, and executives from Telstra, CSR, Woolworth's, James Hardy, Deutsche Bank, Visy Industries, Arthur Anderson, and many others. Many companies donated between $5,000 and $30,000, including the National Australia Bank, Australian Consolidated Press, and the ANZ Bank, which has emerged as a major sponsor of the Asia Society.
It is significant that there is no reference anywhere to any trade union representative attending the launch. How will the Asia Society help John Howard's "battlers", whom he loves to mention? How will the working Australian benefit from becoming further enmeshed with "Asia"? It is now becoming clear that many of the largest "Australian" companies have shifted their loyalties from "Australia" to "Australasia". The truth is that companies like BHP, although they like the propaganda fillip of being known as "the big Australian", are not really "Australian" companies at all. They are multinationals. They are fully prepared to contribute to closer connections with Asia, through the "American" (Trilateral) network. Their objective is increased profits, but the price of increased profits is the erosion of Australian sovereignty, the international centralisation of political power, and the disappearance of the Australian nation-state.
HOW WILL HOWARD HANDLE LIGHTFOOT?
In his determination to confront the Independent Member for Oxley, who is undermining the Coalition (particularly the National Party) power base, Mr. Howard has begun to reveal his true colours. "Australia's engagement with the Asian region plays a vital part in the government's strategy...." he said. His attack on Ms. Hanson can only increase the pressure on his own backbenchers, who are already destabilised by opinion polls showing strong support for One Nation, and the Government's mishandling of the Native Title and Wik issues. The attack on Hanson will polarise feeling both inside and outside the Parliament.
While few coalition backbenchers are prepared to reveal their feelings about the issues Hanson raises, one backbencher who is quite prepared to do so is just about to join Mr. Howard in Canberra. Liberal Senator-elect Ross Lightfoot, from W.A., is due to be sworn in this week, and take his seat in the Senate replacing John Panizza, who died. In an interview with The Financial Review (9/5/97) Mr. Lightfoot made his position on the Native Title issue quite clear. "Aboriginal people have enough rights in Australia as it is now. No one can kid me that 1.5% of the people can own over half Australia already and have an implied right to the rest of Australia except the cities," he said.
He also raised questions about the legal
definition of an Aborigine, saying that the native title process
could become bogged down by illegitimate claimants. "Who really
is an Aborigine, and therefore who can make claims on our
land? That's got to be reduced down to people who are actually,
indisputably, unambiguously, ethnically Aboriginal Australian.
I know of a German national who is living and collecting all
the benefits which Aboriginal people do. I know of white men
who are married to Aboriginal women who are classified as
Aborigines. Michael Mansell, the Tasmanian activist, is clearly,
predominantly European: i.e. blond hair, blue eyed. Peter
Yu who heads the Kimberley Land Council is clearly not, in
my view an Aboriginal."
The Liberal Party "establishment" made every effort to prevent Lightfoot winning endorsement to replace Panizza, having his election declared invalid on a technicality. But the W.A. Liberal membership prevailed, and Lightfoot is bound for Canberra. He is on record as supporting Graeme Campbell on a number of issues, and once employed Campbell many years ago when a pastoralist. Lightfoot has confirmed that he will vote with the Government "wherever he could", but warned that his ultimate responsibility was to the people of W.A. As such, he would support secession of WA. from the Commonwealth if Commonwealth funding of W.A. did not begin to balance W.A's. tax contribution to Canberra. It might be interesting to see what effect Lightfoot might have on other Coalition backbenchers, and how Mr. Howard might handle him.
HANSON DIFFICULT TO HANDLE
Public support for the issues Pauline Hanson is raising has forced the Coalition leadership to devise strategies for confronting her growing popularity. But nothing seems to be working. Ignoring Pauline Hanson simply leaves her free to continue to build a nationwide political base. Denouncing her and abusing her, whether through Prime Ministerial statements or violent demonstrations have proven to be equally ineffective.
So the latest strategy is to link One Nation with the Australian League of Rights, which everyone knows is a wicked, racist and extreme group. Mr. Malcolm Fraser was the first to suggest that Hanson's success was "masterminded by the League". He has been joined by Treasurer Peter Costello, who claims that the Hanson phenomena is simply a "front" for the League of Rights. We didn't know we were so popular. In order to further "demonise" the League, the ABC television report, which carried the ludicrous Costello claim, was illustrated with shots of the Ku Klux Klan in the United States! Only the ABC could penetrate such an outrageous exercise in mind-bending.
Since the Costello/ABC effort, former Western Australian Premier Peter Dowding claimed last week that Ms. Hanson was "being guided by members of the League of Rights, whose policies were dangerous, undemocratic and evil". Dowding escaped disgrace for his Government's "W.A. Inc." affair, but he did not outline which of the League's policies were undemocratic, dangerous or evil. The strategy of invoking the League to ward off public enthusiasm for Pauline Hanson is thoroughly dishonest, and a manifestation of gutter politics. We are not entirely surprised to see Costello using such a strategy, nor Dowding, but someone else has made this suggestion to that towering intellect, Malcolm Fraser.
The success of such a strategy depends upon being able to successfully "demonise" the League, and on being able to bend the truth far enough to imply a link between the League and Hanson. The truth is that there is no such link. The League supports Hanson on the issues she has raised, and we have urged others to do likewise. In our view, the establishment of One Nation is a mistake, and may be shown to be so. But the most likely reason that this strategy will also fail is that it is more likely to be to the advantage of the League, rather than the disadvantage of Ms. Hanson.
So far, Coalition leaders have ignored the one strategy that can puncture the Hanson balloon. That is to deal honestly with the issues raised. Perhaps find ways of consulting with those whom the politicians are supposed to represent on the main issues in contention. By denigrating Hanson, Howard, Costello, Downer, Fischer & Co. are sending a very blunt message to the electorate, that those who support Hanson are racists, bigots and uninformed fools. In Howard's language, they are also isolationist, bitter and sour.
The Coalition attitude of arrogance,
that they know best, is reminiscent of Paul Keating at his
worst. John Howard promised on March 2nd to govern "for all
of us". Pauline Hanson's supporters are saying, emphatically,
that he has not done so, and they resent his condescension.
It is clear that the National Party could suffer most from
the present strategy for "dealing" with Hanson.
HERALD SUN INTERVIEW WITH HANSONThe early edition of Melbourne's Herald Sun of May 8th carried a most revealing interview with Ms. Pauline Hanson. The later edition of the same paper had dropped it out. Following are excerpts:
Don't you think Asians are making a contribution to our economy, our culture, Australia generally? "This country is based on the heritage we have. This country is made up of a lot of nationalities but if you have an increase of too many of one nationality there is an imbalance. This country is not Asian and I don't want to be Asianised."
What about your statement that you wouldn't represent Aboriginal people? "No, that wasn't so. That was put out in The Australian. They took a taping of the conversation over the telephone. The word 'represent' was never used. I'll show you the documentation. I'll never live this down anyway; I can do more for Aboriginal people than their own do for them. I believe in restoring people's self-esteem so they do more for themselves."
Are you a feminist? "No." Who do you regard as your closest friends in the Parliament, your confidantes? "I suppose it's the independents. There are only five of us. I have a lot of time for Graeme Campbell and Paul Filing and Allan Rocher. Peter Andren, I talk to him "
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