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Edmund Burke
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23 March 2001. Thought for the Week: "...As far as I can judge, two strongly held opinions are widely shared in the West: that during the last few years democracy has unquestionably been established in Russia... and that effective economic reforms have been adopted to foster the creation of a free market, to which the way is now open. Both views are mistaken...
Democracy in the arguable sense of the word means the rule of the people - that is, a system in which the people are truly in charge of their daily lives and can influence the course of their own historical fate. There is nothing of the sort in Russia today...There exists no legal framework or financial means for the creation of local self-government; people will have no choice but to achieve it through social struggle. All that really exists is the government hierarchy, from the President and national Government on down..."
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, "What Kind of 'Democracy' is this?" NYTimes, January 4th, 1997

THE DEMEANING SPECTACLE OF GROVELLING

by Jeremy Lee
This is being written 24 hours before polling begins in the Ryan by-election. Ryan, the safest seat in the Liberal portfolio, looks like being lost to Labor, and the prospect has the politicians frantic! The Prime Minister has been reduced to door-knocking in the electorate with a desperate plea to erstwhile Liberal voters not to give Labor a chance. In one televised incident the cameras caught someone ramming a banana into Mr. Howard's pocket. While it was suggested by a naive reporter that this was to stave off his hunger-pains, the symbolism of the act was grasped by most viewers.
The Treasurer, smirk working overtime, is still officially denying Australia is in recession.

The obvious hope of Prime Minister and Treasurer is that the third quarter will show the economy picking up again, in time for a triumphant Coalition victory as the year draws to a close. Forget the blood on the floor; just look at the fundamentals!

Peter Costello has a lot to answer for. Prior to the Coalition victory in 1996 he was in charge of the "debt-bus" - an electoral gimmick decrying the growth of Australia's foreign debt. It has more than doubled since he took office. He also attacked Labor for the poor level of the dollar, with justification. At that time it was above 70c. Currently, it has slipped below 50c.

The trouble with the boom/bust cycle created by a debt-driven financial system is that it is perceived entirely differently by economists, politicians and ordinary people. To the politicians it is merely a game. The trick is to "catch the right wave", timing elections to coincide with the "boom", and leave the Opposition floundering with the "bust". The trick, also, is to be as draconian as possible in the early stages of incumbency, so that there is a surplus "war-chest" of excess taxes with which to bribe the voter at the next election. In the process, more and more ordinary people are stranded, gasping, half-drowned and destitute, on the beach.
Politicians don't give a fig for the casualties - unless there is some political advantage to be extracted from doing so.

The "boom" swing which follows a "bust", designed simply by sufficient inducements for people to borrow more money, does nothing to resurrect the casualties. The bankruptcies and broken lives are permanent. A degrading form of conditional welfare, or work-for-the-dole, now catering for a massive section of the Australian community, is offered like manna from heaven to the "un-deserving" by an increasingly authoritarian and puritannical government, which enacts endless legislation administered by swollen, impersonal bureaucracies to control, direct and "guide" the lives of the afflicted.

Government becomes despotic and people become servile. As many who can contract out try to do so. But 'escape routes' are blocked, like the sets of foxes fleeing the hounds. The final result is a Minister for Employment who insists that the majority are unemployed through their own fault, are lazy, and that a little starvation would force them out in search of the jobs that are there. The Abbott of Scrooge Castle is the final star-chamber judge over the lives of broken men, women and children.


AUSBUY ASKS THE QUESTIONS

The latest edition of Ausbuy, which dispassionately lists Australian-owned and Foreign companies in a way which makes it easy for shoppers to select Australian owned-and-made, features gold-medallist Susie O'Neill on the back cover, with Dick Smith on the front. It runs a thought provoking little quiz for readers:

(1) Which of these companies is Australian-owned? (a) Australian Pensioners' Insurance; (b) Ansett; (c) Rosella; (d) Bundaberg Rum.
Answer: None.

(2) How much of the average supermarket trolley contains foreign-owned products? (a) 25%; (b) 50%; (c) 85%; d) soon to be 90%.
Answer: (c) + (d)

(3) How much has nett foreign debt risen since Costello took over as Treasurer in 1996? (a) 25%; (b) 40%; (c) over 45%.
Answer: (c) ABS 5302/44

(4) True or False? In 1976 (Just after Bill McMahon) Australia's nett foreign debt was $3,133 million.

(5) In 1996 (just after Paul Keating) Australia's nett foreign debt was $193,170 million.

(6) In 1999 (in the middle of Peter Costello) Australia's nett foreign debt was $230,129 million, or $12,240 per person. By September 2000 it was $294,455 million.
Answer: (4), (5) and (6) are all true.

(7) Taking into account the geographical size of land mass, population and natural resources; in terms of foreign debts, which country is the worst performing economy? (a) Australia; (b) Thailand; (c) Argentina; (d) Brazil.
Answer: (a)

(8) In 1998/99 Australia had huge deficits in its trading with two countries. Which countries were they" (a) USA and UK; (b) France and Cuba; (c) Canada and Taiwan.
Answer (a): USA $19 billion, UK $6 billion. (ABS 5363/33)

(9) Why are more and more Australian companies being taken over by foreign companies? (a) Government policy; (b) it's not a free market; (c) No reason in particular; (d) Australia is balancing out its increasing foreign debt by selling off our assets.
Answer: mainly (d)

(10) Australia has only maintained its high standard of living by selling off its assets. As a result of this foreign takeover of our companies, land and public utilities, what is our total debt liability (a) $150,000 million; (b) $250,000 million; (c) $350,000 million.
Answer: (c) (i.e. over $18,000 per person)

(11) Just after World War II Australia had the highest per capita standard of living. What is it now? (a) still at the top; (b) top 20 to 30 (c) 30 to 40
Answer: (c)

The latest figure we have seen for Australia's foreign liabilities is $404,000 million, but that was before the latest plunge in the dollar below 50c. The figures compound almost as we look at them. Given the fact of Australia's huge natural advantages (cited by the World bank in a survey in 1995 as the richest country in the world per capita), Australia must also be the worst governed to squander our heritage in this appalling way. If it's any comfort, Robert Mugabe has probably done worse! But not much!


GUTNICK'S EMPIRE COLLAPSES

Beneficiaries as wide apart as Australian Rules Football and Ariel Sharon and the settlers in the West Bank in Israel will rue the collapse of Joseph Gutnick's mining empire. His companies Centaur Mining and Exploration Ltd and Centaur Nickel P/L have been placed into receivership. Whether this will affect Gutnick's private company, Edensor Nominees, remains to be seen. Apparently the debt crisis which has overwhelmed Gutnick has been caused by using the forward selling of gold from Central Mining and Exploration to prop up Centaur Nickel. The gold had been sold through Chase Manhattan, and the forward selling outstripped the company's entire gold production.

By a coincidence, just before the receivership was announced, shares rose from a low of 16.5c to 53 cents - a rise of over 300 percent. The Australian Financial Review (15/3/01) reported: " .... Most of the trades in the stock in the past three weeks were by day-traders who have long regarded Joseph Gutnick as the Harry Houdini of the mining industry. "He epitomises optimism and there were rumours that Joe had found a buyer for Cawse, Joe had done a deal with Twiggy (i.e. Andrew Forrest ed.) whereby Anaconda Nickel Ltd. took over Centaur, and finally that giant South African group Anglo would make a scrip bid first for Anaconda then do the same for Centaur. None appears to have been true ....."


THE TRUTH ABOUT THE 'STOLEN GENERATION'

A battle of words has broken out between the refreshingly-different columnist in The Herald Sun, Andrew Bolt, and La Trobe University academic Dr. Robert Manne. The 'spat' has been caused by a full-page article by Bolt a couple of weeks ago, in which he showed that Aboriginal leader Lois O'Donoghue had not been one of the "stolen generation" forcibly removed from her parents, but had been voluntarily released by her white father . Bolt's apparent position is that the case for the "stolen generation" has been grossly over-stated.

The Australian MEDIA supplement (23/3/01) reported: "..... Manne and Bolt have been locked in a public feud since Manne wrote an opinion piece in The Age on March 5 accusing Bolt of not supporting Sorry Day and wanting to replace it with Gratitude Day. Bolte wrote to the letters page of The Age to challenge this but the paper did not print his letter. So Bolt published an edited version in his own column last Thursday ..... Manne says Bolt is just one of a small number of conservative writers who are seeking to rewrite the history of the stolen generations ....."

Whatever else is said, there is ground to suggest that the "Stolen Generations" report under the authorship of former High Court judge Sir Ronald Wilson omitted considerable counter-evidence that should have been included. If the line taken by courageous journalist Andrew Bolt offends other reporters who have simply taken Wilson's report at face value, so be it. How good it would be to re-establish a fearless, objective media in Australia, capable of putting all sides in an argument.


A FAIR GO FOR THE ISLAND - DE-AMALGAMATION?

by Betty Luks
A public meeting has been called in Cowes, Victoria, for March 30th to discuss the issue of Local Government reform. It was announced in the Phillip Island & San Remo Advertiser, "...the people are no longer prepared to tolerate the adverse effect of amalgamation of councils on Phillip Island."

Organisers say the meeting has been called:
. In the realisation that there is a large and simmering cross section of discontent about the delivery of council services on the Island within the Bass Coast Shire.
. In the belief that democratic processes have been seriously eroded since amalgamation of the councils.
. To create the opportunity for residents and ratepayers to express their point of view on this issue.

The final point made is: . And in the belief that amalgamation of councils has been a dismal, costly and destructive failure on Phillip Island.

Significantly The Advertiser reports, "The organisers come from all sides of the political spectrum and represent a diverse range of organisations and age groups... " and interestingly, "most supported the concept of municipal amalgamation when it was first introduced at the end of 1994. But they now judge amalgamation to be a failure, which has robbed Phillip Island of its assets, its pride, its voice, and the resources and structures built up by the community over a long period of time to suit the Island's specific needs..."

Oh! How we agree with them when they say, "People power can make a difference!" We will keep a watch on the progress of this move to de-amalgamate the council in Cowes and on Phillip Island.

Note: In South Australia politicians are so far off the mark Bob Such (former Liberal) Independent MP has called for the amalgamation of all the metropolitan councils!!! He thinks investors would look on us more favourably and we would have the chance of more investors investing in the State! God save us from these men!


LIBERAL MEMBER'S BILL PAVES WAY FOR GST INCREASE

Of course the following press release was issued just before the Ryan by-election. Premier Peter Beattie has issued a warning to the taxpayers of Queensland - "A Liberal Party-endorsed Private Member's Bill creates a precedent for the Federal Government to unilaterally increase the GST rate above 10% at any time in the future."

He went on to say - "The proposed Bill, endorsed by Liberal Treasurer Peter Costello, overturns the Inter-Governmental Agreement which was signed by the Prime Minister and all Premiers to establish new financial relations between governments. The agreement includes a number of guarantees to the States, including a requirement for the unanimous agreement of all governments to any changes to the GST rate or base.

"It was designed to protect taxpayers from a financially-desperate Federal Government jacking up the GST rate. "It is the fact that the Liberal Party has officially sanctioned this Bill which demonstrates that the Liberals have no compunction about breaking the agreement. "The Government-backed proposal seeks to force the States to create petrol subsidies. The irony is that Queensland already has a petrol subsidy in place."

The Inter-Governmental Agreement signed by Premiers and the Prime Minister explicitly gives the States the right to spend their general revenue grants as they see fit, unless otherwise agreed by unanimous vote. "For the Treasurer to endorse moves by a Government backbencher to unilaterally impose a spending obligation on States is a direct snub of the Inter-Governmental Agreement," said Mr. Beattie.

He continued, "Obviously, as far as Peter Costello is concerned, the IGA is just another promise - a piece of paper which can be thrown in the bin." The Premier said he was deeply concerned that other elements of the IGA were now open to be dumped by the Howard Government. These include:
. A guarantee that the rate of the GST cannot be changed without the unanimous agreement of all States.
. A guarantee to maintain Special Purpose Payments to the States (such as for schools, hospitals and roads).
. A guarantee that State Budgets would be no worse off under the new GST revenue arrangements.

"Mr. Howard and Mr. Costello held their hands to their hearts and gave these guarantees to the States, but the ink is not even dry on the Agreement, and they are already reneging," accused Mr. Beattie. Well Mr. Beattie, we are sure the taxpayers of Queensland put the word of John Howard and Peter Costello on a par with the word of the former PMs Malcolm Fraser and Paul Keating and also Simon Crean and Kim Beasley.

Are you trying to tell the struggling dairy farmers, cane growers, small business people, etc., your word is any better, can be depended upon, counts for more, than the politicians just mentioned? No matter where a GST (or equivalent) has been introduced, Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand, etc., etc., what is now happening to Australians happened to the taxpayers of the other nations! You knew it, your government knew it, the Labor Party knew it - and you think we came down with the last shower!

It can be predicted with complete certainty that what is now happening in New Zealand will eventually happen here. After the Tax Office has got rid of at least 25 per cent of the struggling farmers and small businesses half of the Tax Office GST revenue will come from the fines and penalties imposed on businesses that make mistakes in their BAS statements or fill them out incorrectly.
(Unless Australians start do what the Russian people must do - bring about change through social struggle).

Don't believe me about the GST fines and penalties? Read on...


BAS TIPS FROM THE AUSTRALIAN TAX OFFICE

(From the Master Builders Association SA Bulletin No.11, November, 2000)

The following faults have been identified as areas of concern based on the receipt by the ATO of the July and August monthly BAS returns.
. Don't forget that even if you pay your tax liability to the ATO on the due date or are expecting a refund you are still required to send the original of the BAS to the ATO. This of course does not apply if you are lodging your return electronically.
. We believe that the penalty for late lodgment of the BAS is $110 plus $110 for each 28 days thereafter.
. A number of issues relate specifically to the completion of the form including: -
. Don't use non-standard symbols anywhere on the BAS. Only use numbers and try to keep the numbers within the boxes provided. i.e. don't put any of the following symbols anywhere on the form. $ / - . + or - anywhere.
. Use only a black pen. Don't use pencil, or any other colour.
. Lop off the cents in all circumstances, as the BAS does not provide for cents. Therefore in all cases DO NOT round up or down. e.g. if you have an entry anywhere that is say $2,143.99 only enter 2143. Don't include the $, the comma, the decimal point or the 99c.
. Don't scrunch up the BAS. All BAS's are remitted to Albury in NSW (unless of course you are remitting it electronically). If you crease it too much the scanners may reject it and you will automatically be issued with a fine regardless of the fact that it has been received in time.
. If the scanner can't read it for any reason it will be placed in the reject file and the system will automatically generate a fine.


OLGA SCULLY TO COME BEFORE FEDERAL COURT

It appears likely Mrs.Olga Scully, of Launceston, Tasmania will be brought before the Federal Court in Sydney on April 10th, 2001. And her first contact with the Federal Court will probably be 'a directions telephone conference'. It would be good that Olga had friends present in the Court for moral support. On Target readers who live in Sydney and can get to the Court, please make the effort to do so. Check with the Federal Court beforehand that the case will come before the Court on that day.

Vale Dorothy Hedley

We wish to acknowledge the passing in late February of one of the League's most loyal supporters - Mrs. Dorothy Hedley of Melbourne, Victoria. It was acknowledged at the fiftieth year of the New Times Dinner that Dorothy had attended every consecutive dinner up to that time. We are sad to learn of her passing and offer her family our deepest sympathy. We know that Eric and Elma Butler would want to offer their sympathy to the Hedley family and express their sadness at the passing of a dear friend.

BASIC FUND

We are very conscious of the financial straightjacket the Liberals have imposed on the Australian people through the GST and hesitate to put any more pressure on our supporters - they already have enough pressure. But the Basic Fund needs a really hard push to put it back on track if it is to be filled by the time the appeal finishes. Will you make a donation? If enough people made a small donation it would easily fill. There are those who give so generously and have done over many years, but there are those who have never made a donation to the work of the Australian League of Rights. It is to you that we especially make this appeal. It really is true that the 'widow's mite' will fill the fund.

'RACIAL AND RELIGIOUS VILIFICATION' CAMPAIGN

Enclosed with this week's On Target is a form letter aimed at Christian churches and schools highlighting some of the dangers and the ramifications should this racial and religious tolerance Bill be passed by the Bracks' Labor Government. We ask supporters to photocopy the form letter, personalise it by designating to whom it is sent, (space will be left at top of letter for this purpose) and post out to the persons or groups targeted, or, take information from the form letter and write a personal letter to the selected persons or groups. We ask our readers to set aside the time to select from their local phone book 20 churches or schools in their area and write to them. If you know of another actionist in your area, consult with him/her as to which groups each will contact - so as not to double up. Don't forget letters to the newspapers - this multiplies the effect.

Usually, a well written letter is welcomed by the editor. At the same time, letters must be sent to the Members of Parliament, both Upper and Lower Houses, insisting this proposed Bill is scrapped. Readers from the other States should not be complacent and think it could not happen to them.

As reported in last week's On Target the Queensland Beattie government announced they are going to rush similar legislation through - and with no Upper House and a 40-seat majority they can pass whatever they have a mind to pass! Also, don't forget Max Teichmann's warning in the News Weekly, "I have been told that the passing of Bracks' legislation would initiate a campaign at the federal level to force Howard to accept a more draconian version of the existing legislation." It is not an issue affecting only the Victorians.


BOOKS

Limited numbers of the book "Dissecting the Holocaust" are now available from the Melbourne Book Shop. Please phone and secure your copy while stocks last! Further stock of "The Black Book of Communism" have also come in. Available from all League book stores. Price: $93.00; $100.00 posted.

"World Without Cancer" by Edward G. Griffin. Edward Griffin was one of the first writers to expose the nexus between cancer and big business. One of the chapters is titled "Politics of cancer therapy". Price: $28.00 Posted $33.00


SYDNEY CONSERVATIVE SPEAKERS' CLUB 2001

Tuesday Evening, March 27th, 2001. Guest speaker: Mr. Welf Herfurt. Subject: "The Threat to Freedom & Democracy in Germany Today" Venue: The Estonian Club, 141 Campbell Street, Sydney. Meeting commences at 7.30pm. The usual excellent supper will be provided. Entrance is $4.00 per person. A wide selection of books will be available for purchase. 2001

INVERELL FORUM COMING UP - March 23rd-26th

We are pleased to 'give a plug' for the 2001 Inverell Forum. Over the years this annual event has gained the reputation of providing a platform for speakers of all shades of political opinion - from the most conservative to the most controversial. The organisers of the event aim to attract those who are genuinely concerned as to why Australia is going in the present direction. The speakers are lined up for the purpose of answering the question, WHY, and what to do about it. For further details contact Inverell Forum, PO Box 987, Inverell, NSW, 2360. Phone (02) 6723 2351, Fax (02) 6723 2364. E-mail: rnb@northnet.com.au

ADELAIDE CONSERVATIVE SPEAKERS' CLUB

The next meeting of the Conservative Speakers' Club will be held on Monday, April 2nd, 2001. Mark your diaries NOW. The guest speaker will be Dr. Alec Burton, Director of the Arcadia Health Centre, New South Wales. Apart from his chiropractic and osteopathic qualifications he has a Masters Degree in Human Biology. Whilst he will be speaking on the importance of "A New Concept of Health" he will also speak on the horrendous problems the British farmers are trying to cope with - 'Foot and Mouth Disease', 'Mad Cow Disease' and 'GM Foods'. Bookings need to be in by Friday, March 30th. For this month, please phone 8381 3909 or 8322 8665 to make your bookings. Venue is the Public Schools' Club, Cnr.Carrington & East Terrace, Adelaide. Dinner from 6.30pm and Public Address at 7.30pm.

COMING DATES FOR YOUR DIARIES - STATE WEEKENDS

QUEENSLAND: May 26th-27th, 2001, to be held in Toowoomba

WEST AUSTRALIA: August 11th-12th, 2001, to be held in Perth

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: August 18th-19th, 2001, to be held in Adelaide

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