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Edmund Burke
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20 November 1998. Thought for the Week: "There is no doubt in my mind that the republicans want to give us a new Constitution and abolish our present Constitution. The factors of certainty and stability which flow from the present Constitution cannot be claimed as ingredients to be found in the constitutions of the majority of existing countries of the world that are republics. I say from the bottom of my heart, without a Crown embodied in a Constitutional Monarchy such as we have, freedom is difficult to achieve and republican countries with few exceptions fall short on freedom."
Brigadier Alf Garland, AM, MID, Freedom Wears a Crown Seminar, Melbourne, October 3rd, 1998

SQUEALER'S STATISTICS

by Jeremy Lee
There's an eerie sense of unreality in some of the analyses and forecasts dotting the media landscape. Growth of anything, apparently, is good - even if it's growth in danger and vulnerability. It's reminiscent of George Orwell's Animal Farm, where the bleaker things got, the more optimistic the statistics produced by Squealer the pig.

It wasn't so long ago that Michael Costello, former departmental chief, pointed to the growth in poverty in Australia as a major part of globalism. Although he didn't actually say so, one gained the impression that he felt quite comfortable with the figures. Over the last week we have been assailed with economists marveling at the way Australia has weathered the Asian storm. Confidence in the economy is apparently strong. An article by Ross Gittins in The Sydney Morning Herald (11/11/98) gave the reasons for this:
The people who manage our economy have been marveling - and patting themselves on the back - over the way it has so far kept steaming on despite the drag from the Asian crisis. This good news is attributable mainly to the fact that consumers, you and me, have kept spending. "Indeed, our spending has been growing faster than our incomes. What this means, of course, is that we've been saving less. Is this good news? Probably not. It certainly doesn't fit with all the exhortations that we ought to be saving more. "We haven't been saving, we've been borrowing.
Over the past year, household borrowing has grown at double the rate of household incomes. At the end of September, households' debt to banks and other financial institutions exceeded $270 billion, up 13 percent on a year earlier. "Most of that, about three-quarters, was borrowing for housing. It's up by 11 percent. The remainder is personal borrowing and debt on credit cards. It's grown much faster, by 17 percent…Over the past year, both the number and the value of credit-card transactions have grown by 30 percent. Fortunately, however, the total amount we owe on our credit cards has grown by a (slightly) less startling 20 percent. Since the interest rates on cards haven't fallen much, this seems to be saying the banks have had great success in luring us into using our cards with the many reward schemes they're offering…
"

Household debt of approximately $16,000 per head of population, or $64,000 per father, mother and two children, which has grown by 13 percent in the last year, is apparently regarded with satisfaction by the world of economists. It's a stark contrast with Japan, where far lower interest rates than Australia's have not persuaded the Japanese to borrow: they just keep saving. The increase in the use of credit cards - besides highlighting the growth of debt-dependency in Australian households - wouldn't have anything to do with the closure of 1,000 bank branches - would it? All of which keeps reinforcing the point made by C.H. Douglas so many years ago: that a productive system that can only be kept operating through over-expanding debt must ultimately blow apart.


STATISTICAL GRAFFITI

The world is littered by statistics, usually denominated in numbers now so immense that all meaning is lost for the average reader. What human mind can envisage a trillion? From time to time, lecturers endeavour to portray comparisons, which might convey something of the size of such numbers.

One of our readers, an engineer in northern New South Wales was intrigued with the problem, and did some measuring with his micrometer. A $100 note, he informs us, is .13mm thick. From this base, the following figures emerge: 100 x $100 notes ($10,000) = 13mm thickness 10,000 x $100 notes ($1,000,000) = 1,300mm = 1.3 metres 10,000,000 x $100 notes ($1 billion) = 1.3 kilometres 10,000,000.000 x $100 notes ($1 trillion) = 1,300 kilometres

By this reckoning, if the household debt of Australians (article above) was assembled in $100 bills piled on top of each other, it would be about 350 kilometres high! What a sign of confidence in the economy!


DEEP DIVISIONS IN APEC

Leaders arriving in Kuala Lumpur for the APEC gathering will probably be stepping into a hornet's nest. Japan has indicated it will not go along with the "globalist free-trade" policies so dear to the heart of John Howard. President Clinton is preoccupied with Saddam Hussein, so will send Vice-President Al Gore. And host nation Malaysia is pioneering a departure from the ways of the IMF, which is being watched with interest.

A discerning article by Peter Alford (The Australian, 11/11/98) explained how former Deputy Anwar Ibrahim, "…ran a 'quasi-IMF' programme…he played to the rules; he tightened monetary policy, clamped government spending, forced up interest rates to bolster the ringgit and imposed tighter controls on bank lending… Alford went on to explain that Dr. Mahathir, not one of the IMF's strongest fans, had watched this programme with concern: On September 1, Mahathir threw the whole programme into reverse, pulling the ringitt out of international currency markets, shutting down offshore trade in Malaysian equities and, thus insulated from a market backlash, sacking Anwar.

"He, Daim and a new and more pliant central bank governor immediately set about reflating the economy. They forced down commercial interest rates, unwound Anwar's prudential reforms, began strong-arming the banks into resuming lending…In less than three months Malaysia had moved from quasi-lMF to anti-lMF.

Yoked to their rescue packages, Indonesia, Thailand and South Korea might not have Kuala Lumpur's freedom of movement, but that doesn't guarantee someone won't break step - at least on capital controls - if the intense pain of IMF adjustment programmes doesn't soon start producing compensatory gains…Malaysia's actions called into question not just IMF policies, Foreign Minister Abdullah Badawi told The Australian recently, but the 'new religion of liberalisation and globalisation'…"

If Japan teams up with Malaysia in resisting the globalist agenda, a whole new ball game will develop from this APEC meeting. It should be remembered that Indonesia has the largest Islamic population of any country in the world. There is deep scepticism about globalism, the IMF and the United Nations, not only in the Islamic world, but in all Asian nations.

Men like Stanley Fischer and Michel Camdessus - with Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer hanging on their coat tails - have not endeared themselves to Asian leaders. The IMF has just completed a $US40 billion bailout for Brazil! The liquidity base for this has been provided by western taxpayers. It is, in essence, a tax-funded bailout for private lenders. No such help was offered to Japanese banks, which have been allowed to crash. These double standards have not gone unnoticed in Asia.
Prime Minister Howard may have an uphill battle persuading Asian leaders that the globalist path is the way to go.


ALGA AND REGIONALISM

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has two hats. There is probably a useful role for a body in which State Local Government Associations and Local Councils can meet to compare notes. As such it is a consultative body with no legal function of its own. Local Government is a State responsibility, and the Commonwealth has no constitutional right to get involved.

Twice Australians have been asked to change this situation in constitutional referendums and have refused. Nevertheless, the Commonwealth Government has sought ways of bypassing the Constitution; firstly, by directly funding local government through the Grants Commission, bypassing the States; and, secondly, by developing regionalism as an alternative to the States.
ALGA has been used in this process in a couple of ways - by being admitted to COAG (Council of Australian Governments) and also as the body, which tries to "internationalise" Local Government through The International Union of Local Authorities (IULA).

A local Councillor and one-time Mayor of Narrabri in New South Wales, Councillor Bevan O'Regan, has written extensively and made two videos giving a background to the misuse of Local Government. A front-page report in The Australian Financial Review, 9/11/98, says that a report prepared for ALGA by Dr. Peter Brain of the national Institute of Economic and Industry Research shows that there will be a collapse in investment, job creation and incomes in depressed regional areas and some city suburbs. The report, which divides Australia into 555 regions, shows that some metropolitan "regions" are growing, while others are deteriorating:
"…Vast tracts of central and southern Queensland, North Adelaide, western Melbourne, south-western Sydney, Tasmania and rural Victoria are facing deteriorating prospects, the report says…
The report goes further, by suggesting that the regions that are growing are those linked most strongly into the global economy: "…The 'globalisation potential' is strongest in 'Global Sydney' (the Sydney CBD and the cluster of wealthy eastern and northern suburbs) followed by inner-Melbourne, north-north-west Sydney, inner-west Sydney, east Melbourne, the ACT and Brisbane, which have highly-educated workforces and industries linked to global production networks… "Dr. Brain called for the Federal Government to follow the example of the Clinton Administration and the European Commission and invest heavily in regional development to stem the political, social and economic fallout of fragmentation…"

Behind all this is the drive - started by Whitlam, extended by Hawke and Keating, implemented by Jeff Kennett in Victoria and advocated by Warwick Smith, when Minister for Local Government under John Howard, to force Councils to amalgamate, and to introduce regional government under central control from Canberra as a substitute for State Governments and the Federal system as outlined in the Constitution.
We were not sorry to see Warwick Smith lose his seat.


NATIVE TITLE AND IULA

Councillor Bevan O'Regan, in his October newsletter From The Parish Pump, gives details of amendments to the Native Titles Act, introduced by the Commonwealth Government on September 30th. After listing the proposed changes, Bevan O'Regan said: "…A major development under the amended Act is a provision for registering Indigenous Land Use Agreements from the lnternational Union of Local Authorities (IULA) with the Native Title Tribunal. It is hard to believe that somehow IULA rules and provisions are now part of Native Title applications. The report goes on to explain that IULA may cover ANY matter concerning Native Title rights and interests. The report gets even more distorted by telling us that if the claimant registers his claim with IULA, such claims will be strengthened. Has anyone in local government stopped to think how this will 'white-ant' our sovereign rights per our constitution?
(Councillor Bevan O'Regan's newsletter From The Parish Pump available from: Councillor B. O'Regan, 'Moema', Narrabri, NSW. 2390.)

"WHATEVER IT TAKES" TO GET THE GST

The accusations of hypocrisy over the Senate vote on the GST enquiry have clearly stung the Prime Minister and his colleagues. It is quite clear that the GST programme is being rushed ahead in order to avoid dealing with the new Senate after June 30th. Government Ministers have admitted as much. This in itself is hypocritical of a Prime Minister who claims to have a mandate for a GST from the people on October 3rd, but refuses to wait until the Senate (that was elected by the same people on October 3rd) can review his GST.

The charge of hypocrisy is reinforced by Mr. Howard's apparent change of heart in accepting Queensland Senator Mal Colston's vote as legitimate, when previously it was a "tainted" vote because of charges that Colston abused his travel privileges. Mr. Howard has now "discovered" that all this time, the ALP was "accepting" the vote of Dr. Carmen Lawrence, who faces charges of perjury in her evidence to the Marks Royal Commission. But haven't Dr. Lawrence's charges been in place for at least as long as Senator Colston's? Yes, they have, but it is only recently that it became urgent for the GST tax to be rushed through the Parliament, and Senator Colston provides a possible avenue.

The Prime Minister's attitude to the introduction of the GST is beginning to resemble that of former Senator Graham Richardson, who even regarded the "political lie" as acceptable to get the job done. It is not suggested that Mr. Howard is lying to us, but the hypocrite is bedmate to the liar.

We suggest that opponents of the GST renew efforts to contact Senators in their State, and ask them to represent the anti-GST position. Queenslanders might contact (now Independent) Senator Colston, and suggest that he use the remainder of his Senate term to stand against hypocrisy, and the GST. It may be worth suggesting to Senator Colston that since Mr. Howard claims the October 3rd "mandate", that Senator Colston insist that the Senate as elected on October 3rd be given the chance to review the GST.


ABC CENSORS YOUR RIGHTS

The ABC, miffed at being taken to task about its bias, has intimidated the distributors of John Bennett's Your Rights 1998 to cease distribution. The ABC has threatened legal action over Bennett's section in the book in which he criticises the ABC and its Lateline host, Maxine McKew, for their anti-Hanson bias in an interview, which took place in May, 1997. Senior ABC broadcaster Terry Lane, who heads the Free Speech Committee, has taken up Bennett's case. Lane has demanded that the ABC explain its "intolerable" threat of legal action against John Bennett and the Australian Civil Liberties Union.

The Australian (5/11/98) quotes Lane as saying "There is no escaping the fact in this case that the large ABC thinks it can get away with squashing the small Mr. Bennett. . . The ABC might dispute (the book's) accuracy, but so what? There is nothing in that section (about the ABC) which you would not expect to see in the letters-to-the-editor column."

The ABC has steadfastly refused to specify what it regards as inaccuracies in Your Rights 1998, despite numerous enquiries by the author. The broadcaster is clearly trying the bluff the distributors, Gordon & Gotch, in order to prevent distribution of the book. This edition includes sections on Hanson and Pasquarelli, the MAI, Farrakhan, Irving and Arena, the republic/monarchy issue and censorship of the Internet. There is also an excellent chapter on the legal aspects of "Freedom of Speech and Movement".

The fact is that the book, now over 100 pages, is an excellent legal guide, and has been used extensively by organisations and individuals over the 24 annual editions that have been published. For those who wish to order copies, we suggest you first inquire of your newsagent for stock. If the ABC has successfully limited the distribution; the League has a limited number of copies in stock: $4.95, or $6.50 posted, from our Heritage Bookshop in Melbourne.


THE (MULTINATIONAL) AMERICANS INVADE

The announcement by BHP earlier this month that it had recruited Mr. Paul Anderson as the chief executive of the company, it brought the 113-year history of being run by Australians to an end. In reality, "the big Australian" has long been a multinational corporation, but the "re-badging" of BHP with a foreign CEO has brought home this reality more forcefully.

BHP is not the only "Australian" company to be run by Americans. The long list continues to grow, and includes Telstra (still 67% owned by the Australian Government), Coles Myer, AMP, Westpac, St. George, Coca Cola Amatil, and AAPT. Few in the corporate world can forget Mr. Kerry Packer importing Mr. Al "Chainsaw" Dunlap to manage Australian Consolidated Press, and the subsequent attempt to install Mr. Dunlap as CEO of Westpac.

Is the management of large Australian companies by foreigners a reflection on the capacity of Australians to run such companies, or is it a reflection on the trends towards the "global market"? Is it now simply a fact of life that with the commitment to the global market, all companies are forced to become multinational corporations, or die the death of a thousand cuts?

It is particularly significant that foreigners now run many Australian banks and financial institutions. For example, Westpac, St. George and AMP have foreign managers. Does this reflect on the ability of Australia to direct its own destiny in financial matters, or is it simply an acknowledgement that we lost such sovereignty long ago? Whatever the correct answer to these questions, it is clear that under the imperatives of globalisation, the multinationals (even the "Australian" multinationals) are no longer faced with the necessity of considering the national interest alongside the interests of their shareholders. The two groups no longer coincide as closely as previously.

The impact of economic rationalism is now being seen in every area of life. In a social context, the welfare agencies (both public and private) and charities have appealed for corporate Australia to meet their moral obligations, and provide essential financial support to the underprivileged. At one time, corporate Australia was relatively generous in this respect, but the new standards of the economic rationalists rule out such unprofitable activity. The "user-pays" philosophy has become rigidly entrenched, and as a result the dissatisfaction expresses itself as support for groups like One Nation. People like Prime Minister Howard wonder why Hanson has been able to generate such support!

That's Country a good resource
Having recently seen a copy of the October edition of That's Country, produced by the Union of Farmers, we can recommend it as a useful source of information. Directed primarily at Members of the Union. It provides a perspective on agriculture, agricultural economics and marketing that is as refreshing as it is rare. This edition provides intelligent advice on the matter of harvest payments and banking, and advertises seminars on the issue. It raises the question of financial collapse, touches on the MAI, and thanks Graeme Campbell for his efforts on behalf of primary producers.
For membership information, and copies of That's Country, write to the Union of Farmers, P0 Box 1071, Griffith, and NSW, 2680.

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