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29 June 2001. Thought for the Week: "Shakespeare had conceived with extraordinary force, humour and sympathy, a man to express the ideal of technical justice, formal morality, and the claim of a man to his rights: the man Shylock.
Over against him he set a figure representing the larger conception of generosity and persuasion, the justice that is fused of a score of genial passions, the compromise that is born of a hundred worthy enthusiasms. Portia had to represent the ideal of magnanimity in law, morality, religion, art and politics. And Shakespeare made this figure a good woman because, to the mind of his day, to make it a good woman was to ring it with a halo and arm it with a sword."
The Heroines of Shakespeare" by G.K. Chesterton (republished 1990)
CRAVEN VICTORIAN IGNOMINY
by Jeremy Lee
"The Bill is extremely difficult for me, as it touches on two of the principles that I hold to be enormously important. Intolerance and racism are abhorrent to me, as I am sure they are to most members of the house. Conversely, freedom of speech is one of the most important things our society possesses. The Bill limits society's right to free speech in the name of furthering racial and religious tolerance.
How does an individual evaluate this trade-off between these two important principles? Each individual can, on the one hand, abhor intolerance and racism, but on the other hand see great dangers to our society and the democratic principles from limitations to free speech. The Bill is an insult to the tolerant society we have built in Victoria because by its very existence the Bill says that we have a problem. Otherwise why would we need it?
By its very existence the Bill takes out of society's hands the need to work together and find solutions to this problem. It relieves society of the discipline of the need to find solutions and simply hands that problem to the politicians and the lawyers. That is hardly a step forward, because both those institutions by their very nature are adversarial. That is not what is needed to build an inclusive solution to society's problems.
But can we outlaw racism and hatred, or legislate away religious intolerance? We simply need look at what is happening today in Israel and the Middle East generally to get an answer. The truth is that simply passing a law achieves nothing. Free speech in a free and open society, that acknowledges that all people have the right to believe and say what they think, where no individual or group in society can have their voice silenced or be muzzled by the law of the land, this is the first, continuing and enduring prerequisite of building a tolerant and inclusive society. I note that the United Kingdom has had racial vilification laws on the books for many years, and given the recent race riots this illustrates again that simply passing a law to outlaw something like racial hatred is a simplistic and unrealistic solution.
Society has to work through these
things together. I, like most of us here, am an adherent of
the philosophy built round the primacy of the individual -
characterised by the saying 'that while I may totally and
utterly disagree with what you're saying, I will equally as
passionately and vigorously uphold your right to say it'.
That to me is absolutely fundamental to our democratic system,
to our rights, beliefs and freedoms, and something I strongly
believe in. This Bill turns that in its head - saying 'that
while I totally and utterly disagree with what you are saying....
I am now going to make it illegal for you to say it'.
We can only nod in agreement with the Hon. Chris Strong, and note how well his speech contrasted with the shallow-thinking of the majority of his colleagues. The threat to Australia's freedom has been immeasurably heightened by this Bill. Writing in The Atlantic Monthly just before World War I the internationally-known journalist and commentator Walter Lippman made these points about free speech:
" ..... there is a much stronger foundation for the great constitutional right of freedom of speech. The compelling reason why, if liberty of opinion did not exist, we should have to invent it, why it will eventually have to be restored in all civilised countries where it is now suppressed, is that we must protect the right of our opponents to speak because we must hear what they have to say ..... If we wish to understand why freedom is necessary in a civilised society, we must begin by realising that because freedom of discussion improves our own opinions, the liberties of other men are our own and necessary..... This is the creative principle of freedom of speech, not that it is a system for the tolerating of error but that it is a system for finding the truth. It may not produce the truth, or the whole truth all the time, or often, or in some cases ever. But if the truth can be found, there is no other system which will normally and habitually find so much truth. In a totalitarian state the people are being addressed through one broadcasting system by one man and his chosen subordinates. The orators speak. The audience listens but cannot and dare not speak back. It is a system of one-way communication. Nothing comes back to the rulers from the people except the cheers. Even a dictator cannot govern by his own one-way inspiration alone. In practice, therefore, the totalitarian rulers get back the reports of the secret police and of their party henchmen. If these reports are competent, the rulers may manage to remain in touch with public sentiment. Yet that is not enough. It is indispensable that there should exist the freedom which causes opposing opinions to be debated ...... The essence of freedom of opinion is not in mere toleration as such but in the debate which toleration provides .... Experience tells us that it is only when freedom of opinion becomes the compulsion to debate that the seed which our fathers planted has produced its fruit. When that is understood, freedom will be cherished not because it is a vent for our opinions but because it is the surest method of correcting them ...... By bringing men face to face with their opponents, forcing them to listen and learn and mend their ideas, they cease to be children and savages and begin to live like civilised men. Then only is freedom a reality, when men may voice their opinions because they must examine their opinions ......"
Such enlightened concepts, developed through centuries of striving towards liberty in Britain and America, have been trampled in Victoria. Behind the legislation is an agitated fear that suppressed facts of history might be forced through into the light. Those accused of disobeying the global form of censorship being remorselessly expanded may not even use truth in their defence. The Victorian legislation has been fostered and lobbied for by those who are in deadly fear of an open debate on historical events since World War II. It is heartening to see some discomfort, even in the mainstream media, with the sort of legislation just passed by the Victorian parliament. But the main battle is yet to come.
THE CENTRALISED CORPORATE WELFARE STATE
The Australian Financial Review (19/6/01) reported on a detailed survey, comparing the administrations of federal Coalition and Labor governments over the quarter-of-a-century since the end of the Whitlam period. The study examined such things as growth rates, foreign debt, the stock market, interest rates, unemployment and inflation. It was remarkable for the fact that the differences between the major parties were so marginal.
In one area, however, the Coalition outpaced Labor governments. That area was "Government Spending and Taxing as a share of GDP". The report said: "This section looks at the size of the total government sector in Australia; that is, the sum of Commonwealth, State, territory and local government sectors. Figures for the Commonwealth, in isolation, are often distorted by payments undertaken by the Commonwealth on behalf of the States .... In terms of the size of government, the Coalition has an undoubted propensity for big spending and high taxing. Under Fraser, general government outlays as a share of GDP rose from 30.6 percent in 1975 (the last Whitlam budget) to 33.7 percent of GDP by 1983-84. After 13 years of ALP rule, when Keating lost to Howard in 1996, Budget changes were all but unchanged at 33.8 percent of GDP. " In the Budget handed down on May 22, 2001, total general government outlays as a share of GDP are estimated to have risen to 37 percent in 2000-01, a figure without precedent in the 40 years of Budget history compiled by the ABS ...."
Such findings don't tally well with the repeated claims of Howard and Costello that theirs is a "low-taxing government".
THE POWER OF THE LOBBY
Another AFR survey (19/6/01) gave some idea of the clout of lobby groups in Canberra. " .... As chief executive of ACCI (Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry) Mark Paterson presides over an organisation that is by far the most influential business group in terms of access to government and influence on policy. " It is also one of the richest. It has retained profits of $4.3 million, 35 staff and a collection of policy directors churning out research on topics such as the environment, education and small business ...."
The article pointed out that membership subscriptions from corporations and businesses could cost up to $300,000 a year. It's nice to know that our constitutional democracy is in such safe, secure and prosperous hands! And that members, apparently, get such a good return on their investment!
GLOBALISATION AND THE PRICE OF EGGS
by Antonia Feitz
Zeus and Sisyphus
A NOTE TO OUR SUPPORTERS AND FRIENDS
from Betty Luks, National Director
Under the heading "Dirty politics" the Sydney Morning Herald, June 12th, 2001, questioned the sources of party political donations: "Australian political parties are taking donations from people with highly dubious backgrounds, including an accused killer..." the article read.
The long-term battle to retain freedom
In a response to the criticism the Sydney CSC Committee had this to say: "If the CSC is to uphold freedom of speech, we must be prepared to tolerate views that do not conform to our own particular viewpoint. We do not endorse the views of all speakers, but this Club came into existence in 1973 to offer a platform for speakers with a conservative and constructive viewpoint, which on some points we may have disagreement. If we allow ourselves to be intimidated in this way, we are already on our way to enslavement..."
BASIC FUNDSlowly, but surely we are filling the annual appeal. Since the last report we have received a further $6,447.00 thus bringing the total up to $39,525.80. Thank you to those who have made generous contributions. We now make an appeal to those who mean to contribute and don't get around to doing so. The target has been held at $60,000.00 for quite a few years now. Your contri-bution will help to fill the appeal.
THE CASE AGAINST OLGA SCULLYOn June 14th, the Federal Court heard arguments from both sides, for the case against Mrs. Scully to be dismissed. The judge has reserved his decision. Further developments will be reported as they come to hand.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
"The letter from Phillip Benwell for the Monarchist League to Archbishop Peter Hollingworth on his acceptance of John Howard's offer to become our next Governor-General may well become a negative in what eventuates. Even Bishops are not beyond conversion to the experience of occupying the key appointment in our Trinitarian government charged with the responsibility of safeguarding our Trinitarian Constitution. There are spiritual powers at work in that office which affect the most unlikely candidates as we well know from others like Bill Hayden, William McKell and John Kerr whose fidelity to their high office confounded those who appointed them.
In the Monarchist-Republic debate there was a distinct failure by the pro-Monarchists to understand the role of John Howard and how as a centralist he has consistently undermined our Trinitarian Constitution. The bald fact is John Howard is a globalist pursuing an anti-Monarchist path in political and constitutional matters. Globalism and the Monarchical institution are completely incompatible. The former is the essence of dictatorial centralised power, the latter the essence of that non-power which decentralises power and works as a medium of love and concern for the individual.
In my view John Howard is a closet republican and played a devious role in the recent promotion of the referendum ensuring the republicans always had the initiative. His lip-service to the Monarchy was just that, mere lip-service. Mr. Benwell rightly declares he should not be muted on Peter Hollingworth's support for the republicans, but possibly had the Monarchists not been muted on the political realities behind the push for a Republic Peter Hollingworth would have been forced to rethink his position.
Over many years, perhaps thirty or more,
I have debated these matters with Peter Hollingworth in correspondence,
and on his appointment, wrote commenting, that having accepted
this appointment he must now come face to face with problems
arising from the exercise of power. He replied thanking me
for "another of my challenging letters" and requesting that
I support him in prayer. I am committed to that request and
suggest O.T. readers follow the same path.
P.S. Have just come from Ken Smith's MLC (Liberal) office. He voted against the Racial Vilification Bill. He has been inundated with faxes, e-mails and letters from all over Australia.
WEST AUSTRALIA'S STATE WEEKEND
Saturday, August 11th - 35th Annual Seminar & Dinner for the Australian League of Rights
Sunday, August 12th - Australian League of Rights "Action Day": Venue for both days: Perth - Rose and Crown Hotel - Guildford - Phone: 08 9574 6042 For further inquiries and information please contact Maureen Burton, State Secretary: Phone/Fax: 08 9574 6042. After hours: 08 9574 6260
SCHEDULE for Australian League of Rights
Tour July/August 2001 with speaker Mrs. Betty Luks, National
ADELAIDE CONSERVATIVE SPEAKERS' CLUBMonday, July 2nd: The meeting will be held in the Public Schools' Club, 207 East Terrace (cnr. Carrington), Adelaide as usual. The invited guest speaker is Mr. Jack King, a retired chemical engineer. Jack is a well-known Adelaide 'whistle-blower' who believes that Truth is the most important tenet in life. He was one of a group of 65 Australians who recently went to Iraq and Syria seeking the lifting of sanctions still imposed on the Iraqi people and also working towards peace in Palestine. It is planned to show a video of the trip revealing the shocking conditions the so-called 'civilised' West has imposed on the innocents of that land. The title of his address: "A Mission for Peace in the Middle East". Dinner bookings to be in by Thursday, June 28th. Phone/Fax 8395 9826/7 to make your reservation. The public address commences at 7.30pm.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA'S STATE WEEKENDAugust 18th-19th, to be held in Adelaide. Speakers for the SA seminar include Mr. Jeremy Lee and Mrs. Wendy Scurr, who will recall what she saw and experienced at the Port Arthur massacre. After having heard her and former policeman Andrew McGregor at the Inverell Forum we believe her story needs to be told. Keep these dates free. Wendy will be doing a series of meetings prior to the SA Weekend. At this stage meetings have been arranged for Melbourne, Horsham, Nhill and Apsley in Victoria. Further details as they come to hand.
NATIONAL WEEKENDA major shift is planned for the National Weekend. The event will be moved to the Victorian/New South Wales border to enable more of the country League supporters and those New South Welshmen - and women - to get to it. It will be held in Albury. The venue will be The Hume Inn Motel, and the theme will be on The Celebration of Federation. The Hume Inn Motel is situated opposite 17 acres of delightful parkland near the Murray River. At a later date we will circulate information on accommodation available, e.g. Motels (including the Hume Inn), Caravan Parks, Bed and Breakfasts. For those interstate visitors planning to fly in, there is an airport at Albury.
QUEENSLAND SEMINAR TAPES
The following tapes are available on
speeches made at the very successful Queensland seminar of
the Australian League of Rights:
COST: $5.00 per tape, including postage. Money, with order, from: CVA TAPES, PO Box 987, Inverell, NSW, 2360.
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