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16 July 1999. Thought for the Week: "It is characteristic of any sort of monopoly, commercial or political, operating against real and individual people, that it always claims a mandate from The People."
Dr. Geoffrey Dobbs "Responsible Government in a Free Society"
THE DEADLY KENNETT PRIVATISATION PROGRAMME
by David Thompson
Victoria leads the nation in the privatisation programme. Public utilities that have been sold off include the power generation and distribution system, the natural gas refining and distribution system, and the railway system, V-Line. Although the process is known as "privatisation", there is no attempt or intention to place these assets in the hands of individual Victorians. Voters or ratepayers have not been invited to become shareholders in their own utilities, but huge multinational corporations have. The most recent example of this is the selling of V-Line.
Tenders were called for the rail system. The four final bidders may appear to be Victorian or Australian companies, but examination of the fine print reveals otherwise. One of the bidders, Freight Victoria, is dominated by Rail America, which operates rail systems in Canada and the US. Rail America's partners in Freight Victoria include giant multinational construction company Fluor Daniel and Macquarie Bank.
Another bidder is Australian Transport Network, consisting of US rail company Wisconsin Central Rail Transport Corp, Tranz Rail (of New Zealand), a New Zealand investment bank, and Berkshire Partners, a Boston-based investing group.
A third bidder is Genesee & Wyoming Australia, advised by the giant multinational banking firm of J.P. Morgan.
The final bidder is Railroad Development Corporation, owned by wealthy US businessman Henry Posner. His other partners in the bid are GE Transportation Systems (General Electric) and the international bankers S.G. Hambros. So much for "privatisation".
Another public utility that is being privatised is the new multimillion-dollar toll-road that circles the city. The high-tech CityLink consists of electronic tolling points located on the freeway, which automatically charge motorists without being required to stop or even slow down. Motorists buy an E-tag electronic transponder, and pay toll credits in advance. The public protest against the E-tag is growing daily, with motorists asking why they should pay motor vehicle registration, and then be charged to drive on their own roads!
But perhaps the greatest public protest is building up in rural Victoria, where ratepayers have been bluntly told that every country town will be connected to a municipal sewerage system. Any protest falls on deaf ears. One ALP MP, Ms. Garbutt, has exposed the entire programme in her budget speech. In Parliament, she said: "The current situation arises following numerous other steps by the government over recent years to establish water authorities as profitable businesses, which the government wants to sell off Community representatives have been eliminated from the authorities, and all board members are business people.
The [regional] water authorities have now been set up as businesses. They have been systematically amalgamated, and are now very large units. "Recently an assessment and valuation of all the assets was conducted, and there has been a rush to complete sewerage and water schemes, despite fierce opposition from rural areas. Those steps have been taken to ensure that all capital works have been completed - at the expense of country Victorians- so that private companies can simply buy the authorities with no further capital works required and rake in the profits.
In some rural areas, residents are having to pay thousands of dollars per household to do the capital works, and several thousand dollars for their homes to be connected. In other areas (marginal electorates) the capital works are being subsidised.A petition from Minyip, signed by nearly every everyone in the town, opposes the scheme. A Community Committee, having analysed the scheme, claims that in the North East Region Water Authority, sewerage works will be installed at no cost to residents.
The Kennett agenda is clear. Force ratepayers to finance the installation of sewerage schemes, attach these schemes to regional water authorities, and flog off the lot to some multinational corporation. This is privatisation, Kennett style. No wonder the opposition is fierce. The next Victorian election should be an interesting affair, and it may just be that Mr. Kennett has found a way to eliminate the National Party completely, as well as 'privatise' the State's water system.
LAMBS TO THE SLAUGHTER
by Jeremy Lee
Howard's views do not seem to be shared
by his fellow-Australians. The papers are full of letters
questioning his intentions. A swag in The Weekend Australian
(10-11/7/99) made some good points. One asked: "...Why is
it protectionism is a dirty word in Australia, but is absolutely
essential in other countries.... Bill Clinton has proclaimed
'We look after our own'. If only we did the same - just once."
In fact, Howard and Fisher's free-trade policies are right out of step with what the majority of Australians want The Australian Financial Review (8/7/99) reported: "Free traders may have won the intellectual debate, but Australians overwhelmingly back protection for local industry from import competition. "According to a ground-breaking new study compiled by the Australian National University's International Survey Program, the majority of people in most of the 16 countries surveyed have grave reservations about free trade. "In fact, the Australian community is one of the most protectionist in attitudes in the world..."
The figures show that over 70 percent
favour protection for Australian industries. Nor is this feeling
new. The article added: "...As early as 1984, at a time when
trade restrictions in Australia were much greater than they
are now, the survey asked a representative national sample
of over 3,000 Australians whether they agreed or disagreed
that 'our industries need stronger protection against imports
from abroad'. Fully 64 per cent of the population agreed,
14 per cent had mixed feelings, and only 22 per cent disagreed...."
THE REFERENDUM FARCE
Following last week's article about the constitutional monarchists who want to run a campaign that doesn't mention "Queen" or "Crown", the republicans are now trying to get in on the act. The Republican Movement's Malcolm Turnbull came out with the proposal that his campaign should not use the worlds "republic" or "president". His trepidation was not shared by advertising agencies.
The Australian (8/7699) reported: "A leading advertiser said yesterday the excising of the R-word 'republic' from the republican referendum would cause cynicism among voters and harm the republican campaign. "Creative director of agency McCann-Erickson Trevor Purvis said it was 'wholly bizarre that you would not even mention the very product you are trying to sell'. "I think its one of those words that says exactly what it is that you are trying to say. "The first law of communication is to be as clear as you possibly can, otherwise it smacks of bullshit (sic)". One is tempted to ask - a rogue bull? or a turn-bull? Whatever the answer, the whole gilbertian farce of a referendum in which the leaders come up with this sort of stuff is, to put it more delicately, sleaze. Within 48 hours Turnbull had abandoned his new suggestion, and reverted to the original position.
THE 'MINIMALIST' REPUBLICAN BILL
Republicans are still persisting with
the furphy that they only propose a change to a President
with the current powers of the Governor-General. The draft
republican bill is very different. The Queensland 'No republic'
Campaign - which is tougher and more forthright than the 'toe-in-the-water'
ACM - has received a letter from the Clerk to the Senate,
in which he says: "Thank you for your recent letter concerning
the so-called 'minimalist bipartisan' republic proposal. The
suggestion that the head of state could be dismissed by the
Prime Minister at the stroke of a pen with no safeguard except
a possible ability of the House of representatives, which
the Prime Minister usually controls, to discuss the matter
is the most ridiculous Constitution alteration I have ever
The following are extracts from comments
on the Draft Republic Bill:
The Presidential Nominations Bill:
Whew! We can only stress the old adage, "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."
THE CONSPIRACY TO ADVANCE THE REPUBLIC
The republican plotters and planners have encountered a problem. If Australians can be persuaded, by whatever pea-and-thimble trickery, to vote for a republic in November, the States themselves cannot be forced to follow suit, and also remove the Crown. It is, in fact, generally acknowledged that Australia consists of seven sovereign kingdoms - the Commonwealth and six States. But because of a clause in the Australia Act (1986) not only can the States continue on in their status as kingdoms, irrespective of what happens to the Commonwealth, but they are actually technically prevented from removing the Crown in State constitutions.
Section 7 of the Australia Act deals
with the relationship between Her Majesty and State Governors.
It says: "Her Majesty's representative in each State shall
be the Governor".
If every State, as well as the Commonwealth, passes such legislation, then the change can take effect, and the way is prepared for the States to become republics after the Commonwealth does. If, however, the referendum question is lost, then the changes to Section 7 of the Australia Act are of no effect, and the original provision for State Governors remains.
However, in a number of States (Queensland & Western Australia) a referendum is required to change State Constitutions in this way. Section 53 of the Queensland Constitution provides that "A Bill that expressly or impliedly provides for the abolition or alteration in the office of Governor shall not be presented for assent by or in the name of the Queen unless it has first been approved by the electors in accordance with this Section.
It appears that the sneaky Australia Acts (Request) Bill does make provision for the abolition of the office of Governor, and technically should go to referendum of Queensland voters, rather than just slither through the Parliament in the dead of night. But how to force the issue? We understand that a number of Queenslanders propose to challenge the underhanded way in which the States are quietly being prepared to scrap the Crown. They intend to begin proceedings in the Supreme Court of Queensland to enforce the provisions of Section 53 of the Queensland Constitution, requiring a referendum before the office of Governor can be prepared for abolition.
At this stage, we are not in a position to determine the full ramifications of this piece of classical treachery, the Australia Acts (Request) Bill. But we suggest that State Attorney Generals and State MP's be challenged on the issue. In Queensland and Western Australia they should be confronted with the necessity to hold a referendum on the Bill before it can be passed. At least ask for a copy of the Bill, which is before all State Parliaments.
GST CHALLENGE EXPOSES REPUBLICAN LIES
It has been suggested that the new GST Act may be challenged as being unconstitutional under Section 55 of the Constitution. We have no further information on this, and are unable to offer an assessment. However, now that the GST legislation has received Royal Assent (signed by the Governor General), other options for ridding ourselves of this pernicious tax have been raised. For example, it is suggested that it might be dealt with under Section 59 of the Constitution. This provides: "The Queen may disallow any law within one year from the Governor General's assent, and such disallowance on being made known the Governor General... shall annul the law from the day when the disallowance is so made known."(Our emphasis).
We have sought competent advice on this issue, and understand that this section does not mean exactly what it states, insomuch as "The Queen" really means the Governor General. Otherwise, the provision still stands, and could be used to challenge any legislation, including the GST. Two Democrat Senators have also been approached on this question, and asked whether Section 59 is valid, and whether they would be prepared to assist with such a challenge. The Democrat Senators, having also sought legal advice, confirmed that the provision is quite valid, but on further reflection, declined to take any part in such a challenge. The Democrats, having been a party to the 'deal' with Prime Minister Howard, could hardly be involved in challenging the result!
How is a challenge mounted? We understand that a properly drafted petition addressed to the Governor General is all that is required. Australians have the right to petition the Crown. At present, a petition is being drafted, and we expect to be able to provide copies when it is completed. The Democrat Senators consulted were of the opinion that an extremely large petition would be required - perhaps in the vicinity of a million signatures. However, those who are proposing to mount this campaign have encountered difficulties at Government House. The Governor General's staff deny that Section 59 can be used in such a fashion. The Governor General has no such powers, they state. A simple reading of the Constitution says otherwise, however the Governor General's office may squirm. In our view, the attempt is perfectly justified, and a petition should be mounted. Apart from the purpose of removing the GST, the use of Section 59 would also offer extremely valuable educational focus on the republican campaign. It exposes a serious deceit in their approach.
Malcolm Turnbull is on record as pressing for a referendum question, which asks: "Do you agree that an Australian citizen called the president should replace the Queen as head of state with the same powers as the Governor General?" These powers are spelt out in Sections 58, 59 and 60. However, in the Constitution Alteration (Establishment of a Republic) 1999 Bill, the deceit is exposed. This details some of the very specific changes that will be required to make Australia a republic. It is not a simple business - there are dozens of serious changes! One of the more startling changes is that Section 59 disappears completely. It is deleted and replaced by a list of the executive powers of the president, none of which offer the remotest suggestion that the President might disallow any law whatever. Thus, the republican claim that a President would exercise the same powers as the Governor General is no more than a lie!
DICK SMITH AND AUSTRALIAN-MADE
The indefatigable Dick Smith looks as though he will be another fly in the globalist ointment. In a full-page advertisement in The Australian Financial Review (8/7/99) he headed his message: MOST FOOD MAKES ME SICK. He said: "Australia produces the best food in the world ... yet most of the food in a typical supermarket trolley is imported or made by foreign-owned companies. This makes me sick!" He gave his reasons for his decision to set up a food company using only Australian food, processed in Australia, creating jobs for Australians and keeping the profits in Australia. Firstly, because Australia can produce the healthiest and least polluted food in the world ... Australian jobs. We should be employing Australian workers
The Australian economy
After giving a list of once-Australian-owned brands now in foreign hands, Dick Smith said he wanted to hear from as many people as possible who supported the start of a totally Australian company selling totally Australian products. The address to write to: Dick Smith Foods, P0 Box 398. Terrey Hills, NSW, 2084
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