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14 November 1997. Thought for the Week: "Only by demanding the concrete results of Christian society - the policy of a Christian philosophy - can we emerge from the futile horn-locking of parties. What is the point of staving off little tragedies while hurtling toward the precipice? Or what is the use of making a stand by the decade if we are doomed to go to the dogs by the century?"
Michael Lane, "Triumph of the Past", June 1997.
VICTIMS OF CULTURAL TERRORISM
by David Thompson
The announcement by such people as former National Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Doug Anthony, former Governor General Sir Zelman Cowan, and former Chief Justice of the High Court, Sir Anthony Mason, that they now favour a republic, is a living demonstration of what Malcolm Muggeridge calls "the great liberal death wish".
All have enjoyed the fruits of high
office, and the confidence of the public under a system of
government - the monarchy - that offered them a status unequalled
in the nation. And not likely to be equaled for status in
any rag-tag republic. Anthony still enjoys the title "Right
Honourable", was sworn to Her Majesty's Privy Council in 1971
(and is still a member of it), and accepted one of the Crown's
highest honours in 1982 - the Companion of Honour, which of
course he still holds.
It is perhaps less surprising, but nonetheless disappointing, to see the captains of industry also declare for the republic. In an open letter for publication, the likes of Lindsay Fox, David Farley, Nick Greiner, Doug Shears, Ken Allen, and about 35 others described the republic as a "rebadging opportunity". That is, instead of holding high the symbols under which Australia was pioneered, under which much of the nation's best work was done, we swap the Crown (and presumably the flag) for some marketing manager's idea of a catchy logo to sell more iron ore. This is as mature as getting out the screwdriver and prising the emblems off their Rolls Royces, and sticking on a Holden badge, then congratulating themselves on their independence and maturity. The shallowness of such people has to be demonstrated to be believed.
What drives people like Doug Anthony, Zelman Cowan, Anthony Mason? It is almost certainly vanity and pride, which produces a type of hypocrisy in which they want the best of both worlds; the old one, where substance and quality was recognised by distinctions like knighthoods, and the new one of fast morals, fast food and shallow loyalties in which it is regarded as old-fashioned and boring to support the Crown. The higher they climbed on the social ladder, the more determined they are not to be made to appear ridiculous by a new breed or irreverent trendsetters that "set" public opinion in the press. Such is the great liberal death wish, which approximates a kind of cultural terrorism as well as personal cowardice.
THE ABBOTT COMPROMISE
Last week we speculated about the likelihood of the Liberals bending under the republican assault, and compromising on the monarchy, by turning the Governor General into the head of state. This week Liberal M.P. Tony Abbott has done just that, to the squeals of glee from republican headquarters. This is not the first step backwards, and if it is entertained for a moment, it will not be the last. Already Prime Minister Howard suggests, "the outcome of the Convention should be a model for the republic". What has happened to John Howard?
The role of the Convention, which he set up, was specifically to decide whether we should be a republic first. Has Howard capitulated on this? It has always been an inherent weakness of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy that they have cemented themselves into a defensive position. Kerry Jones still maintains that the A.C.M. position is to "keep Australia's constitution as it is". This implies that no changes should be entertained; that the Constitution is cast in stone, rather than being a living, adapting document that can evolve as necessary to meet unexpected crises. It implies that it can't be improved, which is nonsense.
The A.C.M. defensive position robs them of initiative in the constitutional debate. The best form of defence is attack, and a new initiative could further divide republicans, and undermine their base. For example, perhaps the Constitutional Convention should consider introducing some method of protecting us from the vagaries of party politics, the greatest corrupting factor in politics? What about initiative and referendum? And what about the longer term. Are we to forever share our monarch with Britain? What about looking 100 years ahead, to a situation where Australia had its own resident hereditary monarch living here? Where would such a person come from?
Instead of compromising on the hereditary principle, as Abbott appears to do, and the republicans definitely do, why not seek to enhance it? Little or no debate has encompassed such a view, and yet it is certainly an option. Doug Anthony claims "it is illogical to continue the monarchy in perpetuity". This is ill-considered rot. How long is "in perpetuity"? 100 years? 1,000 years? Since we have had a monarchy for 1,000 years, what is Anthony's point? It might be argued that it is illogical to continue to share our monarch with another country, but that is quite a different matter. It is just as valid to argue that an Australian resident King or Queen, entirely of our own, is inevitable as it is to argue that a republic is inevitable.
If people like Anthony, Mason, Cowan, Abbott and others wish to continue to serve Australia, they would do well to think before they offer ridiculous suggestions, because the republicans will certainly exploit them. Our community and social leaders, the "best" people, continue to let us down because they place self-interest first. That is the essence of 'the great liberal death wish".
MANIPULATING THE CONVENTION BALLOTIt has been pointed out that the republican strategists have again out manoeuvred the monarchists with the ballot for Convention delegates under the Senate-style voting system. In N.S.W. there are over 100 party groupings, with only the first candidate in the group named. The rest of the candidates are unknown, without extensive research. 93% of the N.S.W. candidate groups are republican of various persuasions. The way the voting form is printed, there is no way of knowing where the preferences flow past the leading candidate, although one would assume preferences flow to other candidates in that group. The majority of republican "groups" have only one candidate, not a "team" at all. A vote "above the line" for a candidate "group" headed by well-known figures from theatre, sport, TV, etc. is highly likely to be distributed, as a preference, to Malcolm Turnbull, Neville Wran, Thomas Kenneally, etc., of the republican movement! It is delightfully simple, and may turn out to be devastatingly effective.
NATIVE TITLE DIVISIONS EXPLOITED
"I rule out the possibility in Queensland of people pursuing any rights in relation to pastoral leases owned by non-aboriginal people. I rule that out categorically, because there is a facility now available for us to purchase under the Land Fund, and to convert into native title, pastoral leases." Was this Queensland Premier Rob Borbidge, or some other "racist scum" hailing the Howard government's Native Title Amendment Bill, giving force to the Howard 10-point Wik response? No, it was not. This was Mr. Noel Pearson, Chairman of the Cape York Land Council, addressing the national Press Club in Canberra, on November 18th, 1993, prior to the passage of Keating's Native Title Act 1993 a few weeks later.
Pearson had been a key member of the aboriginal negotiating committee who bargained away native title in exchange for the Aboriginal Land Fund with Prime Minister Keating. Senator Evans then spent a tense week pressurising the Green Senators Margetts and Chamarette to get the Bill through the Senate. It was generally accepted that the Keating bill extinguished native title. This was the major sticking point with the two W.A. Green Senators, and Evans had to point out that it was a position negotiated by aboriginal groups.
But now that there appears a "window of opportunity" for turning back the clock, following the High Court's Wik decision, in which the Court found that the Wik people's native title rights were not necessarily extinguished by a pastoral lease. So the opportunists have come out with a vengeance, with Noel Pearson descending into the political gutter and labeling the Howard government who presented the native title amendment "racist scum". Pressure is being marshalled from all corners of aboriginal influence in an attempt to destroy Howard's Wik amendment. Who is organising this?
It is clear that a two-tiered system of land tenure leads to a double standard society, with one law for "aborigines" and another for "the rest". Even Howard's amendment does not fully address this issue, but in typical Howard style, falls between two stools. It fails to extinguish native title, leaving the way open for anyone with a slim connection with a pastoral lease and a claim to "aboriginality" to make their claim, and begin the court process.
The role of the Church is also interesting. Perth's Anglican Archbishop Carnley supports Pearson, claiming that to legislate to extinguish "rights" based on race is "racist". Does Carnley forget the Mabo decision, which was based on race. Does Carnley support Pearson's "racist scum" attack? Does he apply this to Mr. Paul Keating, with whom Noel Pearson agreed that native title was 'dead' in 1993? Does this apply to Chief Justice Brennan of the High Court, who was one of the three dissenting judges who found that the issue of a valid pastoral lease did extinguish native title? Does it apply to Gareth Evans, who engineered the passage of the Keating Bill through the Senate, in the belief that it extinguished native title?
It is little wonder that the growing
attitude to the churches' ill-judged forays into politics
is one of contempt. Church leaders seem to have a facility
for undermining conservative positions and national heritage.
The Catholic Social Justice Commission announced this week
that it would inform "world leaders" telling them that Australians
should hang their heads in shame over the government's Wik
legislation. It is clear that the international attack on
Australia is being marshalled, and that the issue to be used
to drive us into retreat is that of aboriginal rights, just
as it was used in Rhodesia twenty years ago, and South Africa
more recently. Archbishop Carnley and Archbishop Tutu are
birds of a feather.
As "tolerant" and well-intentioned people, we eventually will begin to doubt our own sanity, and teeter towards the temptation to surrender, just as we are teetering towards surrender on the monarchy. And what of Mr. Noel Pearson. Just whom does he represent these days? Since his days on the Cape York Land Council, he has moved on. He has worked for the Melbourne law firm, Arnold Bloch Leibler & Co. since mid-1996. Is this significant? Only insomuch as the Jewish lobby has, in general, supported the thrust toward native title, and a Zionist spokesman in N.S.W. recently accused the Howard government of "genocide" over such issues as native title. Although only 32 years of age, Noel Pearson has assumed a disproportionate influence in questions of indigenous policy, and those who fail to agree with him are presumably "racist scum". Even though he demands recognition of native title based not on need, but on race.
GREENHOUSE SLEIGHT-OF-HAND CONTINUES
We have long warned that the enviro-fascists have been used by more clever people in the background to use the environmental issues as a sophisticated means for the centralisation of power. One of the more enduring fear issues has been that of man's greenhouse gas emissions leading to global warming. Australia is to go to the Kyoto conference in December on global warming, where an attempt will be made to force nations to conform to targets to reduce greenhouse gases, in the form of an international treaty. It was A.L.P. Minister Ros Kelly who signed the Rio "earth-summit" treaty in 1992 on Australia's behalf, even though scientists had still not worked out what "greenhouse" really meant.
In August a 'Countdown to Kyoto' conference, organised by A.P.E.C. Study Centre of Monash University held in Canberra, was told that the figures on which the Toronto Statement in 1988 was made have been found to be quite wrong. In 1988 the C.S.I.R.O. was predicting temperature increases of around 4 degrees by 2030. By 1996 this forecast had dropped to about 1.5 degrees. Dr. Brian O'Brien, foundation chairman of the Environmental Protection Authority of the 1970s said: "Mind-sets from Toronto still dominate the international responses on greenhouse, but it was only the threat of urgency and imminent doom that gave any credibility to taking early remedial measures."
In an article for The West Australian (30/10/97) O'Brien wrote: "In the early 80s there was ridiculous talk of a sea-level rise of 5 metres by 2030. Greenhouse 88 promoted misleading images of Australian cities drowning under rising sea levels... People are not being told that costly cuts to greenhouse gas emissions will have little effect on global warming compared to the effects of other scientific uncertainties. Satellite data even suggests that the planet is cooling. The picture is not one of total doom and gloom... In 'Postponing Greenhouse' in 1990, I criticised Australian governments for not taking advantage of the fact that the 1990 I.P.P.S. (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report had postponed the worst fears of 1988 by about a century....The 1995 I.P.P.C. report postponed them even longer....It is a fact that the schedule and negotiating terms for the Kyoto convention in December were agreed in March 1995, six months before the I.P.P.C. reduced by a third its best estimate of global warming. The public may be conned into believing many things about greenhouse and its management. Greenhouse governance in Australia has generally been disgraceful. The zealots have been allowed to influence political decisions using outdated fears for far too long. Greenhouse effects are neither as urgent nor as serious as touted before the Rio treaty...."
PRAYER IN SENATEWe note that Senator Bob Brown, homosexual green activist from Tasmania, has moved to "update and upgrade" Senate procedures, by eliminating the Lord's Prayer with which proceedings are opened daily. Senator Harradine opposes this. We suggest that notes of protest should be sent immediately to the Clerk of the Senate, Mr. Harry Evans (The Senate, Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T., 2600), to be passed on to the President, Senator Margaret Reid (Liberal Party), and to as many Senators as possible. The Senate will vote on this in November.
EXTRAORDINARY RESPONSE TO LETTER ON ASIA
Traders warn of an extremely "volatile" market for some time to come, but the political climate is becoming just as volatile. As an indication of this, we recently received the following account of an extraordinary response to a supporter's letter to the editor:
"Enclosed is a letter I had published in The Newcastle Herald (October 4th) and The Sydney Morning Herald the following day. I have been a League supporter for 30 years, and a letter writer for 20. The response that I received from this one letter was amazing. I have been deluged with phone calls and mail - all congratulatory - that was both completely unexpected and exceeded total responses over 20 years many times over. I seemed to have touched a raw nerve that you people know only too well. Also note the date; a full two weeks before the finance markets' meltdown accelerated. Just guesswork? You have been warning of this for some years. . ." The letter to the editor in question is reproduced:
"Asia's 'tiger' economies. Our generous
government has just given Thailand $1.5 billion. Would the
Thais do the same for us? "Malaysia's Dr Mahathir and the
Thai Finance Minister attacked speculative raids by international
finance sharks, conceding that 'the market' could now seriously
intimidate a country in the new global economy. These two
countries are the 'Asian tigers' that the economic gurus confidently
predicted would form the engine room of global economic prosperity.
But when the financial powers who helped build up the Asian
tigers became nervous about their investments, they quickly
began pulling out. I believe this illustrates who are the
masters and who are the servants in countries relying on large,
continuous foreign investment.
'NO' TO HANDGUN CONTROL IN WASHINGTON
Gun control campaigners attempted to
end the unrestricted ownership of handguns in Washington State
last week, by initiating a referendum (Proposition 676), which
would have required people to pass a test and obtain a licence
to own a handgun. When the (binding) state referendum was
held, the Proposition was heavily defeated 29% for gun control,
71% against. One of the key issues upon which the referendum
was fought was the right to self-defence.
Gun control campaigners here are beginning to reflect on their shrill anti-gun campaign last year, when Howard rammed through a nation-wide gun control programme. As a result, more than 60,000 shooters have joined gun clubs in order to qualify for licences, giving the gun lobby financial and political clout they have never previously enjoyed. It is estimated that gun club membership has doubled, and created a fighting fund of around $3 million. Now nervous rural backbenchers are wondering how the additional campaign funds will be spent, and who will be targeted. We can assure them that the Queensland National Party will feel the electoral heat next year, when the Borbidge government goes to the polls.
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