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12 December 1997. Thought for the Week: "The history of modern political society is in large measure the history of the ordinary citizen trying to exercise some influence upon government - and of his repeated failure to achieve that modest ambition. All governments control the governed."
Professor (later Judge) G.W. Keeton, in The Passing of Parliament (1952)
PARLIAMENT REQUIRES MORE THAN 'CIVILITY'
by Eric D. Butler
Sir James claims that he is a "fit" 72;
he might have listed British Prime Minister Gladstone among
some notable politicians who had revived their political careers
after the age of 80. One of the more superficial charges leveled
against Winston Churchill when it was proposed early in the
Second World War that he should take over the leadership of
Britain, was that he was "too old". Whatever criticism may
be leveled against Winston Churchill - and his record has
come under increasing critical assessment over the years -
it cannot be disputed that Churchill displayed amazing energy
in his conduct of the War and following the 1945 election
of the Attlee Socialist Government was able to lead the British
Conservatives back into office.
While Sir James correctly mentions some of the major issues confronting Australia - most of them having developed vigorously while he was a Senior Minister in the disastrous Fraser Government - his main concern appears to be the state of parliament itself. In a typically colourful comment, he charges that parliament has "just become an occasional gathering for an exchange of ill-mannered insults". But while most people would like to see more civilised behaviour from their political representatives, they are more concerned about fundamental issues. While the old adage remains true, that manners maketh the man, more civilised behaviour in the nation's parliaments will not of itself solve the nation's problems.
As C.H. Douglas pointed out in his Realistic Position of the Church of England clergy, concerned about a liturgy which certainly reflected a nobler day, almost purr with delight every time a new batch of taxes are imposed - generally under the plea that some sections of society are not paying their "fair share" of the tax burden. Completely overlooked is that under the modern finance economic system, it is a monstrous lie that crushing taxation is necessary to finance government.
As a number of eminent authorities have been warning over the years, government itself is the main threat to the rights and freedoms of the individual. The central problem is how to control government. It is as certain as the sunrise that the re-election of the Coalition Government or the election of a Beazley Labor Government will not solve any of the problems progressively destroying traditional Australia.
I was not surprised upon recently returning
from overseas that all the evidence suggested that the Howard
Government is in deep political trouble. Last weekend public
opinion polls provided further confirmation. What appeared
unthinkable following the last Federal elections, that Kim
Beazley could ever lead a Labor recovery, now threatens to
become a reality. Public opinion polls show that a majority
of Australians now would prefer Beazley as Prime Minister.
This, of course, does not mean that current polling figures
will be translated into votes at the election, which now is
certain to take place next year.
If Sir James Killen believes that, if re-elected to the Federal Parliament as a Liberal Member, he can achieve any worthwhile change of policy, I am afraid that he is doomed to disappointment. The Liberal Party he joined as a young man has over the years been afflicted with the deadly rot of collectivism in its many manifestations, including support for "globalism", "economic rationalism" and, of course, "multiculturalism".
The reality of the current Australian political situation is that the overwhelming majority of the electors have no trust in any government, irrespective of its label. The only Federal politician I have ever met who has honestly faced the absolute enunciated by Lord Bryce in his classic work on Modern Democracies - the natural tendency of all government is to increase its own power" - has been Graeme Campbell, currently leading the Australia First Party. Campbell bluntly says that no politician or government can be trusted, and for that reason includes in his "core policies" a version of the Swiss system of referenda with a binding effect on government.
As a result of intense electoral pressure, moves have been made in New Zealand towards such an electoral mechanism, but it is badly flawed because governments are not required to abide by the referendum results. I would not vote for any political candidate who would not give me a firm written assurance that he or she would, if elected, work and vote for the introduction of the type of mechanism outlined by Campbell. A national campaign on this issue is one, which could unite a nation searching for some stability and certainty.
While all supporters of Constitutional Monarchy appreciate the contribution of Sir James, who has brought some intellectual muscle to bear on the Monarchy issues, they can only view his attempt to re-enter Parliament as a type of Quixotic and well meaning project which is doomed. Joining a Liberal Government at present would be like surrounding one with the stench of a decaying corpse. If Sir James wants to make some major national gesture of a dramatic significance, he could always run as an Independent Liberal, pledged to support C.I.R. He might be surprised at the support he would get.
NATIVE TITLE AND CIVIL WAR
by David Thompson
While Australian circumstances are very different from those of Rhodesia in 1965, the elements of a similar conflict certainly exist here. This was driven home when news of an amazingly inflammatory speech given by Mr. Noel Pearson of the Cape York Land Council leaked outlast week. Pearson was addressing Cape York Aborigines last September, and perhaps in friendly territory felt free to express views that he might be most reluctant to express otherwise. However, the Cape York Unity News (30/ 11/97) published the following remarks by Pearson, who was speaking in the context of what might happen if the native title amendment bill were passed by Parliament:
"If they tear the law up and they tell the law to get stuffed and the (High) Court to get stuffed, I tell you there is no other answer than war. If they tear up Eddie Mabo's victory with this 10-point plan, then you know we would be kidding ourselves if we think that this political and legal strategy is the right strategy. "Most of the country want to feel good about Mabo but we (have) got this miserable moral cockroach running the country and he's got no sensitivity to these things whatsoever....This federal government basically despises black people. They hate black people...."
If the boot was on the other foot, and Pearson happened to be a white pastoralist making military threats about war against the blacks if the bill was scrapped, the condemnation would be deafening. But to Pearson's comments, which constitute an incitement to racial hatred at the very least, there has so far been little response.
Talk of declaring war on white Australia has been either disregarded, or shrugged off with the "can't happen here" indifference. Pearson's comments must surely rate as one of the most dreadful cases of deliberate sedition ever uttered in anger in Australia. If true, these statements should ring around the nation as a clear warning that we are not dealing with a few disgruntled part-aboriginal agitators, but with the first emerging signs of organised terrorism.
National Party MP De-Anne Kelly's claim that Queensland pastoralists were stockpiling illegal semiautomatic rifles in anticipation of attempts to intimidate them by native title claimants were rejected with disgust by some graziers in the region. But language such as that of Pearson will certainly encourage such activity. There can be little doubt that Pearson's inflammatory comments will run like an electric current through young, disaffected aboriginal groups.
RELIGION OF 'GLOBAL WARMING'
The international pressure placed upon the Australian Government to adopt "greenhouse targets" designed to limit global warming has been intensified at Kyoto, in Japan, where the global conference on greenhouse gas emissions is being held. The rationale for the pressure has little to do with science, and much more to do with religion. That mankind is gradually destroying his environment by permitting the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to rise to dangerous proportions has become an article of faith, rather than the findings of any scientific measurement of the facts.
Last week another Australian scientist who prefers to deal in reality rather than superstition, Brian Tucker, alleged that there is a lot of "nonsense" involved in the global warming debate. Tucker is a senior fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs, and was chief of the CSIRO's division of atmospheric research from 1972 to 1992. In a feature article in The Australian (3/12/97) Tucker refers to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was set up by the World Meteorological Organisation and the UN Environment Programme in 1987. This panel has projected the image of a worldwide scientific consensus on global warming, and yet, Tucker points out, tended to bend the truth with its Second Assessment Report in 1996.
"This was condemned in some informed quarters for removing the caveats from background documentation prepared by scientists worldwide, and for technical weaknesses, bias and political influence in the most widely read part of the report," he wrote. "Perhaps its main scientific conclusion was that "the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on climate". But this does not mean that the evidence was overwhelming: indeed, some disconcerting aspects of the evidence have not been resolved. "The retiring IPCC chairman, Dr Bert Bolin, (reportedly) publicly refuted claims by many environmentalists that any floods, droughts, tropical cyclones or other extreme weather patterns are the result of rising temperatures. Adamant there has been some human influence on climate, he conceded 'man-made increases in temperature are so small as to be barely detectable." (Our emphasis).
Why, then, do august global scientific panels skew the evidence and leave out inconvenient evidence to arrive at a certain result: that mankind has caused significant global warming, and worse is to come unless we make radical changes to industrial society? Quite clearly, someone (or some group) has a vested interest in the paranoid warming scenario, and is determined to frighten the rest of us into compliance. In the process, we are forced to submit to ever-tighter controls upon our activities, until we will no longer be permitted to even have wood fires.
What is Tucker's answer? "Politics and the urge to make policy has clearly outstripped scientific justification. It is time for genuine debate to replace the specious assertions and reckless proposals with which the general public has been bombarded," he wrote. That is he offers the explanation of 'ineptitude', rather than conspiracy'. But this does not explain the general ridicule or suppression of the views of those who do not accept the "greenhouse" religion.
CORRUPTION IN PNG
That the process towards self-government for Papua-New Guinea, embarked upon by Andrew Peacock, and completed by Gough Whitlam, was too early is now becoming increasingly more apparent. Whether or not the PNG Prime Minister is guilty of racketeering, etc, the levels of corruption at the highest levels are amazing. In the words of one PNG observer, Peter Ryan, some of PNG's public life resembles "a slum run by gangsters".
Ryan edited the encyclopedia of Papua
and New Guinea, and has come to know PNG intimately over 50
years. He reports, in an article for The Herald Sun
(3/12/97) that the depths of corruption are indicated by the
fact that of 109 parliamentarians, over 90% have been investigated
for corruption. During the gold boom, one MP bought gold illegally
using rigged scales, and smuggled it out of the country to
Asia. Altogether over $40 million in gold went unaccounted
Most of Australia's $4 billion in aid to PNG has been wasted. During the last election, many of the corrupt politicians were campaigning as born-again Christians in a Christian-oriented country. Few know that PNG is, by definition in its Constitution, a Christian country. Australia bears some responsibility in all of this. Not only did we hand over a territory grossly unprepared for self-government but we continue to pour huge sums of foreign aid into the hands of corrupt officials. If Australia fails to accept responsibility, and act to retrieve the situation, we cannot expect neighbours like Indonesia to sit back and watch indefinitely.
It is reported that the commonly prescribed anti-depression drug, Prozac, was found in the hotel room in which the rock singer Michael Hutchence was found dead. Robert Lusetich in an article in The Australian (1/12197) claims that both Diana and the driver of the car in which she was killed, were taking Prozac. "Although it has been described as the world's most prescribed anti-depressant, in 1990 (manufacturer) Eli Lilly was forced by a variety of public advocacy groups into admitting that, in a small number of cases, those taking the drug could experience suicidal fantasies....By 1975 the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) 35,230 adverse reactions to Prozac - the most serious being hallucinations, aggression, hostility, assault, manslaughter and suicide - resulting in 2,393 deaths..."
Although the evidence that such drugs are deadly continues to mount, it appears that huge multinational drug companies have the financial clout to ensure that they continue to be prescribed. When someone like Hutchence takes his life with a firearm, the weapon is blamed. But when it is a leather belt, there is never a single call for the banning of leather belts. But nor is there another demand for an examination of the role of the drug.
'FRAUDULENT' GUN REFORM LAWS
Dr Christopher Walker, an emergency medicine specialist, told the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine conference in Adelaide last month that last year's gun reform laws would not reduce the incidence of gunshot wounds. A study he made at John Hunter Hospital's major trauma centre in NSW showed that of 34 patients (of which 5 died) only one had been caused by a military semi-automatic weapon.
According to a report in The Advertiser (13/11/97), Dr Walker said that most wounds were caused by single-shot .22 calibre rifles, which were still legal. Referring to the national gun law reforms following the Port Arthur killings, Dr Walker said "It has been one of the greatest perpetuated against the Australian tax-payer. The only effect of the 1% levy has been to give gun owners the opportunity to turn in their old guns, receive the money and buy new ones."
In view of the fact that much of the hysteria that created pressure for firearms law reform was generated by the doctors in Hobart who had to treat the victims of Port Arthur, perhaps the doctors prominent in the anti-gun campaign would like to comment?
LAND CONFISCATION IN ZIMBABWE
Despite assurances that it would never
confiscate productive land or single holdings that were a
family's sole source of income, the Zimbabwe government has
released a list of 1,500 properties that are to be confiscated
by the State. 700 farms have been allocated for "indigenisation
of ownership"; being turned over to black commercial farmers,
businessmen and civil war veterans instead of the landless
peasants assumed to be the beneficiaries. More than 80 farms
on the list are black-owned, which is inexplicable to some.
Another on the list for confiscation is the family property of former Prime Minister Ian Smith, who lives on another property. The Farmers Union estimates that the value of lost production from the confiscations would amount to around 37% of agricultural production. Properties listed for confiscation include large producers of tobacco, maize, coffee, wheat, tea, cotton, cattle, etc. The fact that it is all held as freehold title did not seem to make any difference to the Marxist government of Robert Mugabe.
POLITICALLY CORRECT RIOTS IN BOURKE
The rioting of about 150 people in the western NSW town of Bourke last weekend might astonish many Australians, who take it for granted that this sort of behaviour is exceptional in Australia. Radio reports, and most newspaper reports completely failed to identify those rioting as predominantly aboriginal. Why would this be? It is clear that the press in general has "adopted" the aboriginal claim for native title rights, and would prefer not to be reporting the violent attack on police by a drunken aboriginal mob just when the Wik legislation was before the Senate.
Of 12 police attending the riot, 9 were injured, with one being treated at the hospital with head injuries. The mob used iron bars, bottles and rocks, and even pursued retreating police to the police station, which was also attacked. Are these the type of people who are to be granted the "right" to enter isolated properties in order to share title rights with graziers? No wonder graziers are concerned for the future of their families living in isolated places, without the facility of a firearm with which to protect themselves. And no wonder a politically correct press sought to suppress the identity of the rioters!
KATTER ON NATIVE TITLE
Much of the debate on the Native Title amendment bill is of a theoretical nature concerning what "rights" of Aboriginal people might be destroyed - the "right to negotiate", for example. Katter, the Member for Kennedy and formerly a respected Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in the Queensland Government, made the following observations in Federal Parliament on October 29th:
MR. KATTER - I refer to the statement made by the member for Brisbane (Mr. Bevis) that people of Aboriginal descent are going to be dispossessed of rights that the High Court has said they have always had, and that they are not going to be given any compensation. In Queensland, there are 1,539 pastoral leases, nine of which are owned by foreign interests and only 20 of which - this is from advice provided to us by the Queensland government - are owned by corporations. So those 1,539 leases are effectively owned by owner/operators.
MR. BEVIS - How many are owned by members of the National Party?
MR. KATTER - The gentleman interjecting has a parcel of income worth about $120,000 a year. That is his income. The income for these people for the last three years has been minus $2,700. With some other people, I recently visited eight stations and we found only two wives and some kids at home. The husbands were 300 kilometres away working on jobs far away from their homes. Those people were left there all by themselves. What compensation is going to be paid to the people who have gone out and bought properties in good faith? In many cases they have built up these stations, investing close to $1 million in today's money over three or four generations. Their ownership of that station has been damaged, and damaged in the most serious manner, by the decision that has already been taken. If the High Court says that was the law, then that was the law. But the governments of Australia never said that. The governments of Australia said, 'You own this land.' I must make that point to this House. Across half of the surface area of Queensland, 1,500 pastoral lessees all had the right to transfer that land over to freehold title. I was one of those pastoral lessees. I am not now, but I was. I looked seriously on four occasions at freeholding our property. On all four occasions I could not see a single reason to freehold and pay the government. It was only a measly $2,000, which when you are turning over a lot of money on a station property is an acceptable figure, but I could see no reason to with what is still a substantial sum of money - $2,000 a year - because I could see no difference between a pastoral lease and a freehold title. The 1870 Supreme Court decision in Queensland clearly stated that we owned that property. Clearly, that decision was that our rights were in rem and not in personam, to use the technical jargon of the legal profession. Look at the marketplace in Queensland. You have to ask yourself: why did nobody in Queensland freehold their land? Why is half the surface area of Queensland still pastoral leases? When anyone, at any time at all and for a negligible figure - we were attacked continuously by the ALP in the state house for having a negligible figure upon it, so it is a matter of public record that it was a negligible figure - could convert their pastoral lease to a freehold title, why didn't they do that? The only conceivable answer was that there was no reason to do it because you already had complete ownership of that land. The marketplace paid exactly the same price for an acre of freehold land as they paid for an acre of pastoral lease. Whether it was the marketplace and the money decision or whether it was the legal decision through the Supreme Court of Queensland - and it may be that we are a bunch of mugs on the land, but I do not think that all 1,530 of us were mugs - none of us converted our pastoral leases to freehold title. The laws of trespass - we keep talking about exclusive title in this place - have been most specific in Queensland. If you owned a pastoral lease, the laws of trespass operated and you could exclude anyone and everyone that you so chose from your land. Where is the compensation for those people?
FROM THE PRESS
Stop War Talk on Wik from Herald-Sun,
From the West Australian, 6/12/97
"The opportunists of the Aboriginal industry
have found the guilty conscience of many Australians in respect
of Aborigines to be an exceedingly rich vein to mine. Rarely
have so few cost so many so much, with benefit to none but
From the West Australian, 6/12/97
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