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Edmund Burke
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23 February 2001. Thought for the Week: "The great instrument of all these changes and what infuses a particular venom into all of them is Party. It is of no consequence what the principles of any party or what their pretensions are, the spirit which actuates all parties is the same, the spirit of ambition, of self-interest, of oppression and treachery. This spirit entirely reverses all the principles which a benevolent nature has erected within us - all honesty, all equal justice and even the ties of natural society, the natural affections. In a word we have all seen - we have some of us felt such oppression from the Party Government as no other tyranny can parallel."
by Edmund Burke "Vindication of Natural Society"

POLITICAL REALITIES BREAK THROUGH

by Jeremy Lee
This article is being written two days before the Queensland State election. The reverberations of West Australia are still hitting home, and Queensland, not to be outdone, may increase the savage battering the coalition parties received in the West. Only a very few voters analyse the policies of the competing candidates. The majority go on feelings, prejudices and anger, which they mix together to use against the most disliked group. Elemental in the process is the motivation of fear, which impels many voters to seek the "lesser of the evils" on offer, and vote accordingly. When things are bad enough voters are apt to turn on the incumbents using any weapon to hand. For many, One Nation is simply a weapon to bash the party in power. It is difficult to anticipate what will happen in Queensland. By the time you read this you will know. My guess is as follows: The Nationals and the Liberals will be reduced to an ineffectual rump. One Nation, and other minor parties and independents where there is no One Nation candidate, will pick up a sizeable protest vote. After its rorting record I would be surprised if Labor increased its vote. But it won't lose nearly as many as the coalition, whose record of ineffectiveness can be recognised by blind Freddy!


DEAD MAN WALKING

A feature article in The Courier Mail (Qld. 15/2/01) by Matthew Franklin, headed DEAD MAN TALKING, suggested the Queensland election resembled a funeral march and Rob Borbidge (National leader) could be its corpse. It's no overstatement. Borbidge, the Premier at Queensland's last election, was tossed out by the One Nation phenomenon, and has done nothing in the last three years save mark time. A resolute leader would have created and led the protest against the destruction of the State's Dairy Industry, hit the National Competition Policy for six, and come out fighting against foreign ownership and the tax avoidance enjoyed by multinationals at the expense of Australian small business. To do this he should have publicly opposed the weak-kneed federal National Party. But the Nationals and the Liberals have drifted along with nothing but benign smiles, and a series of personal attacks on Labor leader Peter Beattie, which still constitutes the base of the Coalition election policy.

A more perceptive article by Malcolm McGregor in The Australian of the same day pointed out that the Hanson phenomenon was merely the tip of an iceberg which had been developing for a long time, focussed on two main reasons: " .... First the trivialisation of political discourse to meet the demands of television has transformed politics into just another electronic game show. This has impoverished political debate in Australia and substituted game scheme analysis of the tactical and conflict aspects of politics for serious analysis of issues. The media revels in dissecting these aspects of politics that sicken voters.
Secondly, the convergence of the two main parties around a faddish neo-liberal economic agenda, and the privileging of the market over every other aspect of national life, has fuelled a deep anger and a sense of impotence among a significant portion of the electorate .... There is now virtually no legitimate dissent from the arid econometric agenda of balanced budgets and reduced government services. .... Hanson is harvesting the votes of those who feel betrayed by the drab ideological conformity of this debate ....."


ILLEGALS TO BE SHIPPED OUT

For Australians who have been appalled at the self-torturing position of Immigration Minister Phillip Ruddock and the Coalition in Canberra over illegal immigrants, Pauline Hanson has picked up the issue with a simple solution which should have been applied ages ago: " .... She said the Government should intercept the vessels off Australia's north coast, provide them with water, food, fuel and medical supplies and send them back. "'These people are queue jumpers," she said. "'They have destroyed their identification. We do not know of their backgrounds. We don't know if they are criminals, but we certainly know that they are bringing out diseases.'" (Courier-Mail, 15/2/01)

While describing the Hanson remarks as "generalisations", Mr. Ruddock had to admit that both diseases and criminals were coming in. So why won't the Howard government take action? Because the international treaty on refugees prevents them doing so - at least until they are prepared to put Australian interests above "international obligations". With a federal election due later this year, the matters raised in the Hanson revival will dog the Coalition's path every step of the way.


FARMERS UP IN ARMS

Queensland's main rural paper, The Queensland Country Life, in its February 15th issue, carried the front-page headline
BUSH FURY DRIVES VOTE. It said:
"Rural and regional Queensland is ready to punish the major parties in the forthcoming election, believing neither has served the State's rural interests to the best if their abilities. An exclusive Queensland Country Life survey of rural and regional Queensland sounded out likely voting intentions. "It noted the electorate's disenchantment with politicians in general, increasing frustration at the lack of consultation on issues of importance, and a yearning for the emergence of a strong alternative party in Queensland....."

Symptomatic was an angry protest march in Brisbane of dairy farmers facing destruction due to deregulation. They gained maximum coverage, and have a sympathetic city audience. Another big protest of farmers in Victoria - where there is no election - took place at Tallangatta, with farmers coming from as far away as Swan Hill, Ballarat and Benalla. The Stock & Land (8/2/01) reported:
" .... More than 700 farmers .... voted unanimously to accept a motion by the Wodonga Victorian Farmers' Federation Pastoral District Council, rejecting the Farm Dams (Irrigation) Review Committee draft report ..... The motion endorsed the Murray-Darling Basin cap but objected to its use to deny farmers' existing rights to store and use water falling on their farm as they pleased if it was not a waterway ...."
It is doubtful whether even concerned farmers in Victoria understand the full ramifications of the threat confronting them.

A recent American media report claims the World Bank is now behind the programme to control water globally: " ....The World Bank states that current governments mismanage their water resources by: Misallocating and wasting water; enforcing weak and distorted policies which damage the environment; neglecting financial accountability and user participation; charging too low a price for water; failing to effectively deliver water to users, especially the poor and by administering water policy under a centralised structure...... The World Bank proposes three solutions to the water 'problem'.
(1) Productive water users will be charged fees to subsidise the poor water users
(2) Benefit taxes will be charged for any benefits received from the water 'owners' land
(3) Pollution charges will be assessed for any pollution that may be generated in the use of water for industrial purposes.

The World Bank proposes to remove federal government authority over water policy by replacing all country and state political boundaries with geographical 'River Basins Boundaries'. This will be accomplished with the transfer, by contract, of all water jurisdiction by governments to private corporations and user associations ....." (The Idaho Observer, 15/11/00. https://www.proliberty.com/observer/20001013.htm)

The excerpts above are only a small part of the whole article. To get a copy of the 1993 World Bank "Water Policy Paper" contact the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, 1818 H. Street, NW Washington, DC 20433, USA.


MEDIA MONOPOLIES

Stephen Romei, writing from New York in The Australian Media (15-21/2/01) described the ever-increasing threat to democracy through media monopolies. The world was already in the hands of eight media giants, with the possibility of further mergers. The eight, with the number of employees and their annual revenue are:
AOL Time Warner: 81,000 employees, annual revenue: $US 36.2 billion;
News Corporation (Murdoch): Employees, 30,000; Annual revenue: $US 13.4 billion;
Disney: Employees, 120,000; Annual Revenue: $US 25.4 billion;
Viacom: Employees: 126,820; Annual Revenue: $US 33.4 billion;
General Electric: Employees: 340,000; Annual revenue: $US 129.8 billion;
Vivendi-Universal: Employees: 250,000; Annual Revenue: $US 41.9 billion;
Sony Corporation: Employees: 189,700; Annual Revenue: $US 63.1 billion;
Bertelsmann: Employees: 76,257; Annual Revenue: $US 15.5 billion.

Mind boggling! Seven world media corporations earn between them a revenue equivalent to $60 for every living person on the planet! And the news isn't all that good!


THE WA ELECTIONS

by Betty Luks
Why do I feel such a sense of unease with all the media hype about Pauline Hanson and "One Nation" and its deals with the Labor Party in WA? It could be because it takes our eyes off the real issues, the effects of the oppressive taxes on us all, the usurious money system and the continuously upward-spiralling debt and the erosion of our freedoms and sovereignty. One report from WA says Labor won because the Liberal and National primary vote collapsed - not because of One Nation's preference deals. Not enough consideration has been given to the effect of the Green vote and their preferences. Labor gained only 37% of the primary vote; the other minor parties - including One Nation - and the Independents gained just over 30% and this left the Coalition with just over 30% - a rout without a doubt!
The dust needs to settle before any realistic analysis can be made, but one thing is certain, many people have had enough of tweedle-dum and tweedle-dummer! They are looking for genuine alternatives. But they must exercise their own muscles...the freedom/responsibility muscles! They must not vote blindly and must insist on results whether their representative belongs to One Nation, Liberal, Labor or Calathumpian!
The People must play their part in this thing called Democracy.

MULTIPLE CHEMICAL SENSITIVITIES UNDER SIEGE (part 1)

Pamela Valenti Australian Chemical Trauma Alliance: E-mail. pamelav@cairns.net.au Forwarded with permission from Dr. Ann McCampbell, Chair, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities Task Force of New Mexico.

"Movies like Erin Brockovich and A Civil Action depict the true stories of communities whose members became ill from drinking water contaminated with industrial waste. Their struggles clearly show how difficult it is for people to hold corporations responsible for the harm they have caused. Whether individuals are injured by exposures to contaminated air or water, silicone breast implants, cigarettes, or other chemicals, their quest for justice is usually a David versus Goliath battle that pits average citizens against giant corporations. When confronted with the harm they have caused, corporations typically:- . blame the victims, . deny the problem, and . try to avoid responsibility for the harm caused.
The corporate response to people with multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS) has been no different.

People with MCS are made sick from exposures to many common products, such as pesticides, paints, solvents, perfumes, carpets, building materials, and many cleaning and other products. But the manufacturers of these products would rather silence the messenger than acknowledge the message that their products are not safe. To that end, the chemical manufacturing industry has launched an anti-MCS campaign designed to create the illusion of controversy about MCS and cast doubt on its existence. What has been said about the tobacco industry could easily apply to the chemical industry regarding MCS, that is, "the only diversity of opinion comes from the authors with industry affiliations (1)."

It is a credit to the chemical industry's public relations efforts that we frequently hear that multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS) is "controversial" or find journalists who feel obligated to report "both sides" of the MCS story, or attempt to give equal weight to those who say MCS exists and those who say it does not. But this is very misleading, since there are not two legitimate views of MCS. Rather, there is a serious, chronic, and often disabling illness that is under attack by the chemical industry.

The manufacturers of pesticides, carpets, perfumes, and other products associated with the cause or exacerbation of chemical sensitivities adamantly want MCS to go away. Even though a significant and growing portion of the population report being chemically sensitive, chemical manufacturers appear to think that if they can just beat on the illness long enough, it will disappear. To that end, they have launched a multipronged attack on "neurotic" and "lazy," doctors who help them as "quacks," scientific studies which support MCS as "flawed," calls for more research as "unnecessary," laboratory tests that document physiologic damage in people with MCS as "unreliable," government assistance programs helping those with MCS as "abused," and anyone sympathetic to people with MCS as "cruel" for reinforcing patients' "beliefs" that they are sick.
They also have been influential in blocking the admission of MCS testimony in lawsuits through their apparent influence on judges.

Like the tobacco industry, the chemical industry often uses non-profit front groups with pleasant sounding names, neutral-appearing third party spokespeople, and science-for-hire studies to try to convince others of the safety of their products. This helps promote the appearance of scientific objectivity, hide the biased and bottom-line driven agenda of the chemical industry, and create the illusion of scientific "controversy" regarding MCS. But whether anti-MCS statements are made by doctors, researchers, reporters, pest control operators, private organizations, or government officials, make no mistake about it - the anti-MCS movement is driven by chemical manufacturers. This is the real story of MCS.


CHEMICAL INDUSTRY

In 1990, the Chemical Manufacturers Association (now the American Chemistry Council) vowed to work to prevent the recognition of MCS out of concern for potential lost profits and increased liability if MCS were to become widely acknowledged (2). It specifically committed to work through physicians and medical associations to accomplish this, stating that it was critical to keep physicians from legitimizing MCS. Unfortunately, this plan has been relatively successful.

The industry has enlisted the aid of vocal anti-MCS physicians who promote the myths that people with MCS are "hypochondriacs," "hysterical," "neurotic," suffer from some other psychiatric disorder, belong to a "cult," or just complain too much. Most of these physicians work for industry as high-paid expert witnesses although their financial ties are usually not disclosed in their journal articles, interviews, or speaking engagements. Therefore, many people, including those in the health care profession, are often led to believe that these physicians' opinions reflect an honest appraisal of MCS rather than the chemical industry's agenda.

At least one industry expert witness has authored two anti-MCS position papers for prominent medical associations. It is easy to see why these papers are biased against MCS and how by helping to combat MCS in the courts, these position statements are quite lucrative for industry and expert witnesses alike.


PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY

The pharmaceutical industry is also involved in the effort to suppress MCS. Drug companies, which usually work with the medical profession to try to help patients, are working to deny help for those with MCS. This is extraordinary, but can be explained by the fact that the pharmaceutical industry is intimately linked to the chemical industry.
That is, many companies that make medications also manufacture pesticides, the chemicals most implicated in causing MCS and triggering symptoms in people who are chemically sensitive. For example, Novartis (formerly Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz) is a pharmaceutical company that makes and sells the widely used herbicide atrazine (3).

This helps explain why a Ciba-Geigy lobbyist submitted material to a New Mexico legislative committee in 1996 opposing all legislation related to MCS and declaring that the symptoms of people with MCS "have no physical origins" (4). The legislation being proposed would have, among other things, funded a prevalence study of MCS, an information and assistance program and "800" telephone number, hospital accommodation guidelines, and an investigation of housing needs of people with MCS (5). Novartis is also a large manufacturer of the organophosphate insecticide diazinon (3), a neurotoxic pesticide currently being reviewed for its safety by the US Environmental Protection Agency (6). The EPA recently banned a related organophosphate pesticide, chlorpyrifos (commonly sold as Dursban), from household uses because of concern about its toxicity, especially to children (7).

The pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly used to be a part of DowElanco (now Dow Agroscience), the primary manufacturer of chlorpyrifos (8). Aventis (formerly Hoeschst and Rhone-Poulenc) manufactures the allergy medicine Allegra as well as the carbamate-containing insecticide Sevin (active ingredient carbaryl) (9).

Monsanto, known for making Roundup and other herbicides, is a wholly owned subsidiary of a pharmaceutical company called Pharmacia (10, 11). Zeneca manufactures pesticides (12) and pharmaceuticals (AstraZeneca), including drugs to treat breast and prostate cancer, migraine headaches, and epilepsy (13) - illnesses whose cause or exacerbation have been linked to pesticide exposures.
Pfizer and Abbott Laboratories make both pharmaceuticals (14) and pesticides (15), while BASF makes pharmaceutical ingredients and pesticides (16). Even Bayer, famous for making aspirin, manufactures the popular neurotoxic pyrethroid insecticide Tempo (active ingredient cyfluthrin) (17).

Novartis, Ciba, Dow, Eli Lilly, BASF, Aventis, Zeneca, and Bayer are all members of the American Chemical Council (formerly the Chemical Manufacturers Association), as are other pharmaceutical manufacturers, such as Dupont, Merck, Procter & Gamble, and Roche (18).

The pharmaceutical industry has been able to spread misinformation about MCS and limit the amount of accurate information received by physicians and other health care providers through its financial influence over medical journals, conferences, and research. It is well known that magazines containing cigarette ads are less likely to publish anti-smoking articles. Similarly, because medical journals rely on pharmaceutical advertisements for funding, they are not likely to publish positive MCS articles. In fact, researchers supportive of MCS have long complained that it is very difficult to get their studies published in the medical literature.

Pharmaceutical companies may also influence medical organizations such as the American Medical Association, whose funding relies in large part on the sales of drug advertisements in its journals (19), and the American Academy of Family Physicians, whose major donors are drug companies (20). Corporate financing of medical conferences has also been shown to bias the information presented (21).

Since continuing medical education is becoming increasingly reliant on corporate sponsorship, industry influence over physician education is a growing concern in the medical community (22). Other ways the pharmaceutical industry can influence physicians are also of concern. In a 2000 Journal of the American Medical Association article (23), the author states that "physicians have regular contact with the pharmaceutical industry and its sales representatives, who spend a large sum of money each year promoting to them by way of gifts, free meals, travel subsidies, sponsored teachings, and symposia" (p. 373).

The study concludes that "the present extent of physician-industry interactions appears to affect prescribing and professional behavior and should be further addressed." (p. 373). This is especially true regarding the effect that the pharmaceutical and chemical industries have had on physicians' professional behavior in response to MCS. Because they do not receive appropriate and accurate information on MCS during their training or from medical journals and continuing education courses, physicians have been largely unprepared to deal with chemically sensitive patients. As a result, their responses to MCS patients have tended to range from dismissive to blatantly hostile. . . . . .To be continued


QUEENSLAND BOOK MAILING SERVICES

Queenslanders please note the Conservative Book Mailing Service is now located in Toowoomba. You can contact the Book Service at: Post Office Box 7108, Toowoomba Mail Centre, 4352, and Phone 4635 7410. Mr. Gerry Patch, who took over from Margaret McFarland says to tell Queenslanders the service is "up and running". Our sincere thanks go to Margaret, and her husband for his support, for their years of service to the people of Queensland.

SYDNEY CONSERVATIVE SPEAKERS' CLUB 2001

The Sydney Conservative Speakers' Club request the pleasure of your company at the Tuesday Evening, February 27th, 2001, meeting. Guest speaker - Mr. Jeremy Lee. Subject - "Australia's Unique Position to Challenge the Menace of Globalisation". The venue is as usual: The Estonian Club, 141 Campbell Street, Sydney. Meeting commences at 7.30pm. The usual excellent supper will be provided. Entrance is $4 per person.

Date for your diary: Tuesday Evening, March 27th, 2001. Guest speaker - Mr. Welf Herfurt. Subject - "The Threat to Freedom & Democracy in Germany Today".


ADELAIDE CONSERVATIVE SPEAKERS' CLUB

The next dinner and meeting will be held on Monday, March 5th, 2001. Dinner will be served from 6.30pm and the public address will commence at 7.30pm. A collection will be taken to help cover costs. Books, videos and audio tapes will be available for sale on the evening. Dinner bookings to be phoned in by Thursday, March 1st. Phone: 8395 9826

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