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16 May 2003. Thought for the Week: Individuals with a realistic faith, I believe, have the potential power to develop an association, organic association, which will enable them to foster the growth of diverse activity and unity of purpose. That out of the decay resulting from centralised power, a new civilisation will emerge. The quality of faith, not a blind faith, but a faith that has been constantly nourished, will be decisive in the drama unfolding. Many battles have been lost primarily because there has been a failure in faith. But many battles have been won when the situation was so desperate that faith was the only justification in continuing the battle.
Eric D. Butler 1970.
The Poll-Driven Lynch Mob
The hunt for the Governor-General's head is on again. There is little doubt that Archbishop Hollingworth's performance with regard to scandals in his own church was inadequate. But there is nothing to be gained - except for the republican movement - by sooling the nation, provoked by salacious and sensational headlines and opinion polls, onto the office itself.
Screaming headlines, proclaiming over 70 per cent of Australians want him to resign, were based on a poll covering 1,400 people. Another poll, a Newspoll published by The Australian (7/5/03) on latest proposals to reform Medicare, covered 1,200 people by phone. It was conducted in all states, and in city and country areas alike. This means an average 170 people in each state. Polls have a valuable part to play, provided a number of principles are observed. Run at a time of crisis or sensation, they can vary widely from the same question two months later. The Iraq war was a classic example, where the results varied by wide margins between the prelude and the aftermath of hostilities. There is no doubt that a retrospective poll in, say, six months time on the virtues or otherwise of the war will produce a far more considered result. In other words, electorates can be stampeded into all sorts of opinions which would be tempered by time for reflection and consideration. For the media to demand instant political reaction to polls run at a moment of heat and controversy is irresponsible - however accurate the poll may be at the instant of implementation.
There have been two periods of intense pressure on Hollingworth; one when the church scandals first surfaced, and now the latest with the church-inquiry findings. Both periods were used to run polls on whether the Governor-General should resign. What would - or did - the same polls find in the intervening periods? Through all this, the really worrying issues surrounding the office of the Governor-General do not appear.
Constitutionally, the Governor-General is appointed
by Her Majesty the Queen - the sole remaining duty she performs for
the Australian people. The Governor-General, as the Queen, is bound
by the principles of the Coronation Oath, and the Governor-General becomes
the operative head of state, bound to ensure the compliance of government
with the Constitution. It has now become a convention that the Governor-General
is selected by the Prime Minister of the day, to whose decision the
Monarch at all times complies. In other words, in practice the Prime
Minister selects the Governor-General, although never given this privilege
by the Constitution. Immediately, the strict non-partisan nature of
the office becomes suspect. It has only been the high quality of past
Governor-Generals that has prevented the political tainting of the office.
What the answer is to this dilemma is a matter that will concern Australians
more and more in the future.
If there is an issue of real concern about Hollingworth's performance while in office, it lies in his apparent failure to ensure that the Constitution was observed in Howard's decision to go to war in Iraq. Constitutionally, the whole Parliament should have had a binding vote on the matter. Constitutionally, the Governor-General's duty was to ensure this happened. That was his duty. It never happened. Governor-General Peter Hollingworth may limp through the remainder of his period in office. It seems unlikely that he will be anything but a lame duck
Who should select our head of state? Short of an Australian hereditary monarchy, it will be a testing question. Whatever else is said, it should not be the politicians, nor any member of the executive - including the prime minister.
FOOTNOTE: Since the above was written,
news has broken that the Governor-General has been indicted on a charge
of rape, alleged to have occurred some four decades ago at a Church
Camp in Bendigo. The allegations were made by a woman who commiitted
suicide two weeks ago. The Governor-General has - foolishly, I believe
- made a public statement on television defending himself.
AFGHANISTAN AND THE RE-EMERGING TALIBAN
US Secretary for Defence Donald Rumsfeld followed
his visit to Iraq with a visit to Kabul, where he claimed the US had
moved from a period of combat to re-stabilisation and construction.
But events seem to be denying his claim. The Weekend Australian
How long before the bombing starts again? In
the name of "peace "n freedom"? Meanwhile, we are getting a clearer
picture of the enormous scope of US ambitions in the Middle East. A
major review in The Australian Financial Review (Weekend, 3-4/5/03)
by Peter Hartcher, described it thus:
A shrewd betting man would bet on the new "road map" meeting the same fate as the Oslo Accords. And on who is really running the Middle East agenda - Israel or the US?
BUDGET TIME APPROACHETH
We're now being softened up for Peter Costello's eighth - and, he hopes, his last - budget. We can almost write his speech for him; how the greatest drought in Australia's history, the international financial crisis, and the war, have made it impossible for the government to deliver the tax cuts it promised when it brought in the GST. But nevertheless, Australia was one of the strongest economies in the world. "Just look at our strengthening dollar!" (which is really a picture of a collapsing $US). Australia will remain in surplus, with high growth figures, and only a few adjustments to such anomalies as Medicare, to carry us forward to a golden future. Almost unanimously, the States have planned their own tax increases. The most innovative is the Bracks government in Victoria, which is indexing fees and fines after massive increases. It is now clear that fees and fines are a major source of state government revenue - so much so that even the police are complaining.
The Australian (7/5/03) reported: "
prompted an angry reaction from the Police Association. "We don't want
our members to be seen as revenue raisers," secretary Paul Mullet said
last night. Mr Mullins said he feared police would be put under pressure
to issue more fines to meet the projected revenue increase rather than
exercise their discretion. "We wouldn't want our members being placed
under pressure to have to book in all circumstances to reach a budget
forecast," he said.
THE LATEST WAGE INCREASEThe latest wage increase has added $17 to the minimum wage. But don't imagine wage earners will receive it. Most will get as little as $3. In order to get any benefit at all, many will sacrifice means-tested benefits such as child payments etc. Employers, on the other hand, will pay not only the $17, but additional indirect costs such as holiday-loading, superannuation benefits etc. Who, then, are the beneficiaries? The government, of course, which will receive what it calls a tax 'windfall'. Actually, it is a deliberate policy called 'bracket-creep', originally designed by Karl Marx, and set out in The Communist Manifesto, by which ordinary families are taxed at an ever-higher rate through "progressive income tax". The other beneficiaries are the trading banks, who simply tie up employers with freshly-created loans to fund the new wage rates. All these new costs - debt, interest, new wage rates, tax increases etc. - finally end up in the price structure which, in aggregate, is lifted further ahead of the purchasing power in Australia's pocket. More people have to borrow to live, more people lose their jobs as employers replace humans with machines and robots, and the poverty level of the country rises. The gap between rich and poor widens to canyon-like proportions. And the unions, like blinkered cart-horses, start preparing their next case for a wage rise. And it could all be altered tomorrow, with some much-needed alterations to the money system.
Under the heading "Menacing Candour" Nicholas Watt of The Guardian (UK) 5/5/03 reports on the move by influential Jews in the UK to take the "scalp" of Tam Dalyell, veteran Labor MP, following his remarks to Vanity Fair magazine that Mr. Blair relied too much on Jewish figures in Britain and the US. Mr. Dalyell faces an investigation 'for inciting racial hatred' after he accused Tony Blair of being unduly influenced by Jewish ministers and officials. Nicholas Watt writes,
leading British Jews criticized Mr Dalyell
for his 'misguided' remarks," and one announced his intention to refer
the matter to the Commission for Racial Equality. President of the Zionist
Federation, Professor Eric Moonman, who believes the matter should be
taken further, said he was seeking advice on whether there was a case
for 'referral'. Mr Dalyell, who has publicly opposed every war involving
British soldiers for the last 20 years, made the 'mistake' of naming
the former cabinet minister Peter Mandelson, the foreign secretary,
Jack Straw, and the prime minister's Middle East envoy, Lord Levy. According
to The Guardian, he said:
Dalyell's critics "took exception after it was claimed that he felt Mr. Blair was influenced by a 'cabal' of Jewish advisers". In his own defence Mr. Dalyell claimed, "he used the word cabal only in reference to the Bush administration, not Downing Street," claiming the cabal he referred to was the US one. He insisted, "That is the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. I was thinking of [Paul] Wolfowitz, [deputy defence secretary], [Richard] Perle, [Douglas] Feith, [Ken] Adelman, [Elliott] Abrams and [Ari] Fleischer, [Mr Bush's press secretary.] Those people drive this policy."
But Jewish figures were furious. David Garfinkel,
the editor-in-chief of the London Jewish News, was quoted as
Comment: What these people are saying
is that a member of the British Parliament, in this case, Mr. Tam Dalyell,
has no right, to express in his own country, his concern about the influence
this group of people has over his country's Prime Minister and the Middle
East political agenda imposed on his country. What were his words? :
"I am worried about my country being led up the garden path on a Likudnik,
[Ariel] Sharon agenda", adding that "Straw, Mandelson and Co." were
leading "a tremendous drive to sort out the Middle East."
THE MORAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE CENTRALISATION OF POWER
By Eric D. Butler.
The following is taken from a 1970's paper by Eric Butler. It is of such relevance to today, we have represented a portion. Readers wishing to read the full address will find the full text on the League's website. Moral Implications of Centralised Power
"Historian Christopher Dawson expressed the view
that all the greatest civilisations have admitted the existence of a
higher law, above that of tribe and nation. And as a result have subordinated
national interests and political power to the higher spiritual values
which are derived from this source. At this point, says Dawson, there
is a consensus of principle which unites all the world religions and
all the great civilisations of the past, alike, in the east and the
Men like the great Cicero who, even in the pre-Christian era was
drawing attention to the subordination or the necessity for the subordination
of man's political, economic and secular activities, to the higher law
... what some philosophers would call Natural Law. Cicero put it as
In his famous classic Man the Unknown, Dr. Alexis Carroll wrote that "man has been the victim of a disastrous illusion ... the illusion of our ability to emancipate ourselves from natural laws. We have forgotten that nature never forgives never forgives". Something that we have referred to today, pollution, is the price we are paying for policies that run contrary to the natural law. And as we continue to attempt to defy that natural law, then the price we have to pay is continually going to become greater. That is one of those absolutes which I believe is inescapable.
The Traditional Moral Limits: Dawson makes
the important point: "The changes in the condition of war and world
power (and remember this was written a few years ago) make it more important
than ever to re-establish the traditional religion: the traditional
moral limits in man's social activities and to make the nations conscious
of their responsibilities to God and to their neighbour".
"Belief in the law of nature and the law of God,"
continues Dawson, "is an act ancient and so universal that it has been
taken for granted and dismissed, sometimes as a platitude. Or else it
has been misrepresented in accordance with the philosophical fashions
of the moment, and thus denied." Today, however, it has become the vital
principle on which the survival of civilisation and indeed humanity
depends and all events which have occurred since those words were penned
have only vividly demonstrated the truth of them, because the plight
of civilisation has deteriorated disastrously.
Subordination of power and its use, means that it must be subordinate to an authority external to itself. One of the most dangerous delusions afflicting the minds of many who have grasped some aspects of the problem is to suggest that we can appeal to power in an attempt to curb power. That, I believe, to be a fatal philosophy. We can only curb power by an appeal to that which is outside power, and make power subordinate to it - proper authority.
Rejection of World Dominion: In St. Matthew we read the following: "And the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. And saith unto Him "All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me." Now, surely that dramatic incident was not something that merely happened 2000 years ago, lost in antiquity of time, without any relevance to what is happening in the world today. Surely we have a clear revelation of the rejection of world dominion by the Son of God. A rejection of the temptation of complete power, because as we will see, Christ's message was not concerned with solving the problem of the world through the imposition of power, but by an appeal to another law much higher and a much more constructive law, the Law of Love.
Today we have many who would have us believe that if only governments had sufficient power, what good they could do for us, in spite of the mess which centralisation has produced. The very people who have in fact produced it, or helped to produce it, would have us believe that if they had still more of it, something at long last, of great benefit, will come out of it.
Power is in the Nature of Reality: Power has been defined as the capacity to act, to exert influence, control, to impose one's will. Power is exerted by human beings over other human beings. Power is the capacity to impose a line of action upon individuals. Centralised power is the capacity to impose from one focal point, a desired line of action upon all other individuals.
Centralised power requires the sanctions of administration; the pressure of administration is probably the greatest in the field of finance, with all it's manifestations - debt, taxation, the control of the issue of finance, the terms on which we get it, and the conditions under which it is taken away. Once we grasp this in essence, the subject of power is the central question concerning man in the world and living together in society.
It is essential, if we briefly examine the historical growth at least in the English-speaking world, of the attempt to modify the use of power, to curb power by the balance of authority. Now let us be realistic. The word power cannot be eradicated from human beings. It is in the nature of reality. Only the idealists believe it can be eradicated and perhaps the idealist and the Utopian have been the greatest godsend of all the major power-lusters of the world. These are the people, who, in many cases sincerely believe that because they have a fixed ideal of how man should live together, if only they had sufficient power, could compel man to live quite harmoniously like that.
It has been observed that right throughout history, the will to power has been expressed through those who impose their concept of Utopia upon their fellow men. The Americans were the first to coin that most descriptive statement "the do-gooder". He is very prevalent in the world today. They are constantly wanting to do good to their fellow men, whether their fellow men want good done to them or not. They know of course that their fellow man does not love his children, is completely ignorant of the value of pouring sodium fluoride into the public water supply. And while he would not go quite so far as to forcibly enter his neighbour's home, and daily dose his neighbour's children, nevertheless protected by the anonymity of the public water supply, he, in essence, does exactly that. He is not prepared to rely on converting his fellow man to his points of view, he is determined to impose it on him.
We seem to have a self- opinionated view of ourselves to the point that having progressively destroyed our own environment with our gadget civilisation, we are convinced that this is the best civilisation to impose on benign Hottentots, the New Guinea natives, (the Iraqi people ed) or any other people we believe also need the value of our do-goodism. And so, of course, if you are going to do good to people that don't want good done to them, you have to have the necessary power to do it. And this is one of the manifestations of the problem that confronts us today
The physical death of the individual does not necessarily mean the death of the values which governed his private, personal and social activities. These values can, and are, passed from generation to generation. And so long as this is achieved and these values find expression, civilisation continues. Therefore the regeneration of our collapsing civilisation must start with individuals. There is nowhere else to start. But individuals must have access to a source of power of a different type, if they are going to effectively influence events.
St. Paul said there is no power but God. The powers that be are ordained by God. If God is the source of all power then we can see a most stimulating significance in Christ's statement that the Kingdom of God is within the individual. The individual has access to a source of power, which, if applied in accordance to the laws of the universe, could change the course of events. And this ultimate source of all power can only be tapped by those with a faith based upon understanding that ultimate reality is more than matter in motion. This sort of faith is not a blind belief, a mere man-made superstition, but is based upon a grasp of truth which is demonstrable by results.
Further reading: By E.D. Butler: "Has Christianity
Failed?"; "Releasing Reality"; "The Essential Christian Heritage".
MILLIONS GO DOWN THE 'GURGLER'
Paola Totaro, the state Political Editor for
the Sydney Morning Herald 2/5/03 revealed Sydney Water (remember
the contaminated Sydney water episode?
ed) has written off more than
$61million in its disastrous attempt to establish a statewide computerised
billing system for its customers. The estimated final cost of the project
ballooned from $38.2million to $135.1million before it was abandoned
in October, 2002 according to the NSW Auditor-General.
The CIBS project was put out to tender in 1999. In 2000, Sydney Water contracted PricewaterhouseCoopers to build and implement the new billing system. However, the project was terminated in October after rising costs and delays with the final, most substantial part of the project, known as R3, which was the actual customer information and billing engine. By the time it was jettisoned, the implementation date had been pushed back by more than a year. The SMH journalist wrote the "Sydney Water Board intends to sue PricewaterhouseCoopers over the project losses" and the "Minister for Energy and Utilities, Frank Sartor, told Parliament he had ordered the utility to implement the auditor's recommendations immediately.
Mr Sartor also announced the appointment of a new Sydney Water chief executive, Greg Robinson." Michael Egan, the NSW Treasurer, called for the auditor's inquiry into CIBS last year, and has said "all government agencies would be required to follow new procedures for the management of information and communications technology, including three-monthly reports to Treasury on the projects' status. But according to the Opposition spokesman on utilities $61million had now gone 'down the gurgler" while Labor simply tried to shift the blame on to bureaucrats."
BASIC FUNDEncouragingly the Fund has now reached the figure of $29,463.50, which takes us to near the halfway mark. Thank you to those who contributed, and be encouraged, the 'word' continues to go out. In fact, the numbers reading League material grow monthly! But without the core League fund supporting the work, the spreading of the 'word' would have quite a struggle indeed. Please don't fail us now, give generously to the work of the League.
SYDNEY CONSERVATIVE SPEAKERS' CLUBThe next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 28th May, 2003. Mr. Neil Baird whose subject will be: "Globalisation & Its Economic Effects on Australia". The venue is the Lithuanian Club, 16 East Terrace, Bankstown, where there is ample parking and situated only 600 metres from the Bankstown Railway Station. There are nearby facilities for a meal before the meeting. The cost of attendance is $4.00 per person.
THE SAMUEL GRIFFITH SOCIETY, FIFTEENTH CONFERENCEWe have received notification that the Samuel Griffith Society's next conference will be held in Adelaide over the weekend of 23-25th May, 2003. The worthy list of speakers are Phillip Ayres, Ph.D.; Hon. Justice Ian Callinan, AC; Rt. Hon. Sir Harry Gibbs, GCMG, AC, KBE.; Hon. Trevor Griffin, Prof. Peter Howell; Hon Len King, AC; Julian Leser; Hon. Nick Minchin; Dr. Geoffrey Partington; Hon. Peter Reith; Prof. Geoffrey de Q. Walker and Keith Windschuttle.
Subjects include: The South Australian Constitutional Convention; Citizen Initiated Referendums; Retrospect; Judicial Activism and the Teoh case; The Republic; The Aboriginal Question.
For bookings and further details, contact The Samuel Griffith Society, 17 Fitzsimmons Avenue, Lane Cove 2066. Phone: 02 9428 1311 Fax: 02 9420 0063.
LATEST JEREMY LEE VIDEO PROVING POPULARAt a time of worldwide unrest and disillusion with the vested interests manipulating the lives of ordinary people, the material in Jeremy's video, "Retell the Story!" will prove a bombshell! How can nations, communities and families be so deeply in debt that there is no apparent way out? And, he asks, "Who's the mortgagee?" Send for copies of the video today. Available from all League Book Services for $20 posted.
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