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"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"
Edmund Burke
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6 June 2003. Thought for the Week: "The test of a natural law is that it is automatic and inexorable, and the proof of the contention which is advanced in this book, that as soon as Society ceases to serve the interests of the individual, then the individual will break up Society, is proved by the course of events at this time: and those persons who wish to preserve Society can do no worse service to their cause, than to depict their idol as an unchangeable organisation whose claims are to be regarded as superior to those of the human spirit…"
C.H. Douglas, "Social Credit" 1924.

HOWARD AND THE TEMPTATIONS OF POWER

If ever example was needed that power is an aphrodisiac it lies in the behaviour of Prime Minister Howard in recent times. He started his period as Prime Minister with enough statements on the value and integrity of the parliamentary system to indicate he understood the principles involved.

But since his ventures onto the world stage those principles have gone out of the window. He has blurred the separation of powers. He has reduced the value of the monarchical system by furthering the notion that the Governor-General is no more than a ceremonial appointee without any teeth. He has taken Australia to war without the expressed consent of parliament. He has elevated his own position from that of first among Her Majesty's ministers in the Executive to that of the first person in the land. He has played the role that was rightfully that of the Governor-General on almost every occasion.
As Commander-in-Chief of Australia's armed forces the Governor-General has been almost invisible. It should have been the Governor-General who visited our forces overseas, and welcomed them home. Howard, in fact, has adopted the role of President in everything but name.

It should be remembered that all executive powers in Australia are in the hands of the Governor-General, who is to act with the advice of an Executive Council - or even alone if necessary, as Sir John Kerr did in 1975. The decisions of Parliament - of which the Crown is a member - are passed to the Governor-General for action. All members of the Executive - which includes the Prime Minister - are appointed by the Governor-General, not the other way about.

In this regard, the Australian Constitution contains a number of specific reserve powers which do not exist in Britain. By a number of 'conventions', - which are no more than that, - the whole process has been reversed.

Nowhere does it say that the Prime Minister, acting alone, shall decide who will be Governor-General. In Australia's early days our Governors-General were appointed from other Commonwealth countries and, although it would not now be accepted, there is much to recommend the idea. Whenever a test match is held in Australia, we have no qualms in accepting an umpire or referee from another country, as a guarantee of impartiality.

The idea of former politicians being appointed to the highest office is an aberration which debases the Governor-General's role of impartial umpire.

"I alone will decide if and when Australia goes to war!" John Howard was quoted as saying prior to the Iraqi affair.

"I alone will decide who becomes Australia's next Governor-General!" he is now quoted as saying after Peter Hollingworth's resignation.

These are the claims of a party politician intoxicated with power. If anything was more guaranteed to lend some weight to the republican cause - which is desperate for some credibility - it is this sort of claim. It relegates any future Head of State in Australia to a lackey's role - to be seen, occasionally, but definitely not heard.

Inevitably, there will be an increased debate on the method of selecting the Governor-General. A Governor-General voted into office by any group is a giant step towards republicanism. Yet some improvement on the present situation is necessary. Politicians should be kept well out of it. A 'peoples' choice' in a national vote would be even worse. The least dangerous, it would seem to me, is for a Council comprising former Governors-General, together with existing State Governors, consulting and acting together, to nominate a selection of three or four eligible candidates to Her Majesty for her ultimate decision. The same process could be extended to the selection of State Governors. Such a move would re-establish a safe divide between politicians and the executive.

It would be a shame indeed if monarchists dogmatically refused to concede the need for correction and blindly defended a crippled system which has almost become a republic with a monarchist label attached.

Again, we need some other sort of body, with some judicial expertise but outside parliamentary control, to whom appeals for advice, and no more than that, can be made where legislation appears in breech of the Constitution. The current situation, where the Constitution is regularly set aside or compromised because the cost of legal challenge is prohibitive, needs to be addressed.

It has been said more than once that the Westminster system and the old idea of Common Law provided so many safeguards for individual freedom that such measures as Citizens' Referendums - as in Switzerland - were unnecessary. That is no longer the case. Almost every check on the abuse of Parliament has been rendered meaningless. The regaining of a true constitutional system, with realistic checks and balances, is now an urgent necessity.


REMEMBER THE POOR

When Sir Robert Menzies stitched together the original Liberal Party at the end of World War II, he picked up a theme that served his Coalition well - the plight of Australian battlers - small farmers, workers and their families on the basic wage, those trying to get into their own homes, struggling small businesses etc. With a surge of support from this hitherto unheard electorate he finally gained power in 1949 and his Coalition remained in office for nearly a quarter-of-a-century.

Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, in his salad days as Queensland Premier, also became the "battlers'" preferred leader and built an electorate that never entirely deserted him, although mystified when he swung away towards big, multinational projects and foreign investment. The cynical statement "See Queensland before Joh sells it!" was never heard in the early stages of his premiership.

Howard, too, played the "battlers'" theme before gaining office, but never did anything about it. The result is a top-heavy, high-taxing, foreign-dominated economy where the growing number of poor don't figure in the 'growth' figures. The following, from News Weekly, 31/5/03, tells the sad story.

John Howard's Government was originally elected on his appeal to "Aussie Battlers". However, the cumulative effect of two decades of deregulated policies - begun by Labor and continued by the Coalition - has seen
· the hollowing out of the middle class;
· the formation of a huge, welfare - dependent underclass;
· the growth of welfare payments to this group; and
· the remaining middle class carrying the welfare cost of this underclass.

The middle class has been hollowed out as the number employed in agriculture declines, as manufacturing industries either shut down or move off-shore, and as imports have flooded in. Consequently, at the 1997 Census, 32 per cent of men aged 25-44 years - in their prime income and family formation years - were not in full time work and living on less than $21,000 p.a.. Indeed, 20 per cent were living on less than $16,000 p.a. and showing disastrous marriage and divorce statistics.
There are 850,000 children living in 435,000 no-income families.

According to Professor Bob Gregory, of those Australians who are potentially full-time workers, only one-in-twenty received welfare in 1970. Today, one in four are welfare recipients….. The result is the unraveling of the middle class as politicians pursue the free-market policies of deregulation and privatization, which are part of the economic ideology of globalism ….

As a first step, the immediate challenge is for strong campaigns to put a halt to further deregulation and to start the rebuilding of industry.
In the rural sector, key campaigns are needed to stop the deregulation of industries like sugar and wheat, to protect farmers' property and water rights, and to stop any erosion of Australia's quarantine standards ….
A new government-backed development bank is needed to develop small businesses, farmers and new manufacturing industries.
Then the huge issue of our burgeoning foreign debt must be addressed….."

These issues are well known and understood by tens of thousands of Australians in all states. Opinion polls regularly show antipathy to globalism and foreign ownership. Yet no party in the federal sphere has picked it up and offered a clear, vote-winning alternative.

The Labor Party is now in crisis, under a leadership which offers no alternative to Howard's disastrous policies The issues on which it attacks the government are peripheral, and it is singing its own swan-song.

Where, then, does Australia look for an alternative? Clearly, not from any existing party. They have either sold out or are compromised beyond belief.

The same scene exists in Britain. Blair's Labour and the Conservative Party are both surfing the wave of globalism and internationalism. Whether or not to accept someone elses' money system is the all-consuming debate among Britain's politicians, and whether they should throw away their own unique constitutional arrangements for the "European Constitution" which is touted for finality in 2004. Will the battlers of Britain be asked? Not if the politicians can help it!

Thus, like the Gadarene swine, the ancient constitutional parliamentary systems of the West - once the model for other nations to follow - stampede towards their own oblivion.


THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL & THE AUSTRALIAN CONSTITUTION

From Philip Benwell MBE, Australian Monarchist League

"Recent events surrounding the accusations levelled against the Governor-General, although disquieting, have proven beyond doubt that our system of Constitutional Monarchy has, as always, worked and worked well. Amidst the controversy, the machinery of Government proceeded smoothly and without interruption despite the standing aside and now the resignation of the Governor-General.
It was the Labor Prime Minister James Scullin who, quite rightly, insisted in 1930 that the decision of the Australian Cabinet on the nomination of the Governor-General was paramount. However it somehow became convention that responsibility for later nominations fell into the sole prerogative of the Prime Minister.

The reasoning of those Labor leaders who are now asserting that the process is flawed and that that flaw is somehow related to our Constitutional Monarchy is not only totally unsound but fails to take into account that there have been five Labor Prime Ministers since Scullin, all of whom jealously guarded their prerogative rather than opening the nomination process to consultation. There is no constitutional impediment to prohibit any Prime Minister from consulting with his or her Cabinet or with the Leader of the Opposition prior to submitting a nomination to The Queen."


THE RICH GET RICH AND THE POOR GET POORER …AND WHY!

by Martin Hattersley: [Martin Hattersley holds degrees in Economics and Law from Cambridge University, England. He is former Director of Research of the Social Credit Association of Canada, and is a former President and Honorary Director of the Economics Society of Northern Alberta.]

It's a real pleasure for me to be invited to speak at this Regional Gathering, and make my way for the first time to this great city of Chicago, in the United States, the richest country of the world.
I don't know whether you realize just how rich the United States is in comparison to the rest of the world. If we shrank the population of the world down to just one hundred people, then fifty per cent of the world's wealth would be in the hands of only six of those people. All of them would be citizens of the United States.
Two thirds of the world's population has an income of two dollars a day or less, and many have to work very hard for it. Yet any one of us North Americans with twenty thousand dollars of net worth can, by investing that, get an income of that size without doing a hand's turn of work, simply by holding the investment. Let alone the capital gains that can come if we know how to profit from the stock or the commodities market.

That being the case, some other statistics about this, the richest country of the world, should cause us concern. There are 200 billionaires, and eight million millionaires in the United States, a number that has increased fourfold in the past ten years. Yet look at some other statistics:
· Thirty million people in the U.S. - about one tenth of total population, suffer from "food deprivation".
· 1.3 million are homeless, a 100% increase in the past ten years.
· One child in five in the U.S. lives in poverty, defined as having less than one half of the median income of the total population.
· Over fifteen years, the family incomes of the lowest 20% of the U.S. population have shrunk by more than a fifth. The incomes of the highest 20% have risen by thirty per cent.
· The poorest fifth of the U.S. population have less than one twenty-fifth of the country's total income: the highest fifth have approximately half.

But this is not just to blame the United States. Alberta, Canada, where I come from, prides itself on being the most prosperous province in all Canada. Yet Edmonton, its capital, has equally high rates of child poverty, concentrated particularly among aboriginals and single parent families. The food bank, set up as a temporary measure after an economic downturn hit the city in 1982, now serves twice as many, about 3% of our population, some on welfare, but nearly one third are members and families of the "working poor".

Ten years ago, our Parliament decided to fight a war on child poverty, yet the situation is worse now than then. The top 20% of our population are actually noticeably better off than they were twenty years ago. The next 20% are about the same. Below that, the poorer you are, the worse your situation has become. Particularly, young males in the 18-24 year old group have worse average wages and worse employment prospects than ever before. For young males, this makes earning a living in the free enterprise drug culture an attractive way of life. For girls, there's the possibility of prostitution. Both of these alternatives generate immense social problems.

There's a real connection between unemployment and crime levels. So while the poorest of the nation fill the jails - one quarter of all persons in prison in the world are in the United States - the richest ones are also forced to live behind walls and bars in their own "gated communities" out of fear of crime.

There are international ramifications also to all of this: Fidel Castro, that Cuban president the U.S. loves to hate, recently addressed a meeting of 100 leaders from the world's poorest nations. Comparing spaceship earth to a ship, he points out that: "trifling minorities are travelling in luxurious cabins ... 85% of the passengers on this ship are crowded together in its dirty hold suffering hunger, diseases and helplessness".

So he proposes: destruction of the International Monetary Fund, cancellation of all Third World debt, a war crimes trial for those responsible for the new global economic order, and a tax on speculative financial transactions to protect vulnerable economies, and raise a trillion dollars for Third World development.

The massive protests around the meetings of G7 leaders in Seattle and elsewhere, the complaints about third world debt coming from the Pope and many churches, perhaps indicate that there is a groundswell of dissent beginning to build; all is recognized not to be well in our self-satisfied economic world. Communism may not be an answer, but the "competitive free enterprise system" obviously is also not delivering the goods to everyone's satisfaction.

Can the good times last?
The strange thing is, that only ten days ago I was listening to a presentation to the Economics Society of Northern Alberta, giving a highly upbeat and positive answer to the question asked in the title of its message - "Can the Good Times Last?" It is as if different elements of society are living in completely different worlds - or perhaps, as one doctor described his work - "The operation was a success, but the patient died."

An understanding of what lies behind the tendencies is missing
What seems to be missing, though, is an understanding of what lies behind the tendencies of our times, and without this, many efforts to put things right are doomed to founder.

· Raise the minimum wage? Then young people will find it even harder to get a job.
· Run a food bank? Then the forces of competition will allow poor people to accept lower wages or pay higher rents, all at the expense of the charitable donors.
· Government make-work projects? They encourage political boondoggles, and statistics show they can actually deter initiative and cause unfair competition with established enterprises.
· Forgive Third World debt? Then banks would no longer be able to balance their books, and we would all be faced with economic collapse.

We have to diagnose the problem
So what I would like to do is to take a sober look at the monetary factors behind this growth, both of extreme riches and extreme poverty. Unless we diagnose the problem, the remedies we propose are not going to make things better, and may well make them worse. In the spirit of our tour of your Forensic Laboratory yesterday, I suggest that we need to look at clues, and that the first clue to what is going wrong around us lies in looking at the actual budgets of the rich and poor.

Whoever we are, we need to buy in order to live. Whatever we buy has a cost. The cost is broken down into a number of factors.

· One is the WAGES of LABOR
· Second is the OVERHEAD of CAPITAL used in production
· Third is the RENT of RESOURCES
· Fourth is TAXES paid for GOVERNMENT SERVICES.
· Fifth is the INTEREST COST of FINANCING the business enterprise.

Each of these costs involves payments that give a stream of income. Incomes do not only come from wages. They come from interest or dividends on investment. They come from rents and royalties on resources. They come from wages in government employment, and pensions and other government assistance programs.

An income of wealth also comes from ownership of property
what we own, we do not have to rent from someone else, so our standard of living can be just as high even when our income of money is smaller.

Look now at the budget of the typical family in poverty.
· RENT is an enormous part of it, unless the homeless sleep in cars, with friends, in shelters, or on the street.
· INTEREST is another - the cost of buying "on time" rather than outright, reflected in the additional cost of finance charges.
· TAXES are likely less of a burden, although even the poorest contribute to the cost of government in sales taxes which put up the price of what they buy.
Contrast that with those in the upper brackets.
WAGES and BUSINESS OVERHEAD go into the prices of all the products they buy.

To balance all these costs, the poor have only one major stream of income, their wages, possibly helped in cases of real destitution by some sort of welfare payment from Government.

The rich…
· The rich own their homes: no rent to pay. Indeed, they may well have invested in real estate or natural resource development, and so receive rents from others.
· The rich do not borrow to survive. Rather they have "money in the bank" and investments, and can live on "unearned income" whether or not they have a job as well.
· The rich do indeed pay taxes, and perhaps receive less in value from government than they pay (though they are likely to receive substantial government help in the cost of their children's higher education): current trends in politics, however, (which are very much influenced by "big money") are to reduce this contribution by the wealthiest, and push it further down the income scale.

To sum up.

· The poor have one and one half streams of income - wages and government help - and five streams of outflow: rent, interest, and taxes, as well as the wage and overhead costs in the products they buy.

· The rich have four streams of income - wages, rents, business profits and interest - and three streams of outflow: wages, overhead and taxes. Further, their budgets do not include the elements of rent and debt payments that consume so much of the budgets of the poor.

The real difference lies in the areas of unearned income - rents and royalties (from ownership of resources), capital (from ownership of productive assets through investment), and interest on the money they have in the bank. What is alarming is that this situation is so rapidly worsening. It is harder and harder to get a job without a high level of education (itself a form of investment), and the jobs of those who do not complete high school are unstable and poorly paid. But when the world's chess champion can be defeated by a computer program, even Mensans should tremble at the challenge that the computer makes to their skills and hardly acquired knowledge. Even Mensans tire of solving complex problems twenty four hours a day. The computer never wearies!…"

Further reading: "The Great Harlot" by Peter Lock, "Social Credit" by C.H. Douglas, "Human Ecology & Social Credit" by Michael Lane, "C.H. Douglas" by Anthony Cooney. All books available from League Book Services.


THE WIDOW'S MITE

Those who have read the book, or viewed the movie, of J.R.R. Tolkien's great fantasy, The Lord of the Rings, will know that Tolkien used the devise of other great story tellers. G.K. Chesterton summed up the ancient devise of story telling: "It was not facts first, truth comes first". The story-teller aimed at 'throwing light' upon the truth and encouraging good morals by exemplifying them in unfamiliar embodiments. Thus tending to, more effectively, 'bring the truth home' to the reader. Hobbits, as an example, in fact might not exist, but they can still teach us valuable truths about ourselves.

In his book "Social Credit", page 100, C.H. Douglas refers the reader to the old fable of the "Fairy Gold which disappeared as it was grasped". The truth it projects is that the Fairy Gold was an inflated money system. Inflation filched the purchasing power of the Fairy Gold. Inflation was the cause of the 'disappearing gold'. The fact of the matter is, gold is an enduring metal, it simply does not 'disappear' when grasped. To the man who has great money wealth, the practical effect of inflation is minimal or nil, but to reduce the income of the middle class or the poor can mean the difference between simple comfort and/or starvation.

Douglas draws us to study the truth of the widow's mite. He writes, "The filching of the widow's mite by a gradual rise of prices is pocket-picking of the meanest type… inflation is the very core of evil."

This takes us to the words of Jesus to the Scribes (Treasury officials) in the Gospel of Mark. "This poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the Treasury; for they have all put in money they had over, but she from the little she had, has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on." (emphasis added…)
This was and is the very core of evil.


BETTY LUKS FOR QUEENSLAND

Betty Luks will be taking part in League 'in-house' meetings whilst in Queensland over the next two weeks. Other public meetings have been organised and details are available from Regional Councillors Ken & Judy McFadzen phone: 07 4950 5164

SYDNEY CONSERVATIVE SPEAKERS' CLUB

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 25th June 2003. Video Showing on the Big Screen: John Pilger, "Paying the Price, Killing the Children of Iraq" and "War on Iraq". 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.

WEST AUSTRALIA STATE WEEKEND

The West Australian State Weekend will be held Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th of August. Make a note in your diaries NOW.

LATEST JEREMY LEE VIDEO PROVING VERY POPULAR

At 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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