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24 April 1970. Thought for the Week: "There is no wealth but life; that country is richest which nourishes the greatest number of noble and happy human beings."
MORALITY AND THE MORATORIUM
"I question the morality of the moratorium planned for May 8. It could well become a threat to public order." - Dr. James Knox, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, The Age, April 20.
In announcing to the Australian community that the individual has the right to break a "bad" law Dr. Cairns has sought to justify his call to Australian people to "occupy the streets", on May 8. The open alliance between the Communist Party the left wing of the Labor Party, the Church and the intellectuals is bringing tremendous effort into this campaign of mass civil disobedience. Dr. Knox served the community well in drawing attention to the immorality of the campaign.
Dr. Cairns and his followers are challenging the basis of the civilising process, which elevates society above the level of the jungle. That process stems directly from the Christian belief in God and the relationship of man to God and his institutions (his neighbour). Simply stated that process relies upon adherence to the laws of the properly constituted society. With all its weaknesses and inadequacies there is no substitution for authority based upon the moral law, and this is still the basis of western civilisation. To maintain the basis of law and order which stems from government based upon the moral law it is necessary that discipline exercised by the State through the Parliament, the Courts and the police be upheld. This is the process, which Dr. Cairns and his followers are challenging and seeking to replace with mob violence.
The epistle lesson read in Churches last Sunday puts the issue clearly. "Be subject to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or to governors, as sent by him for vengeance on evil doers and for praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that by well doing ye should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not using your freedom for a cloke of wickedness, but as bond servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the King."
The tragedy of our day is that "the ignorance of foolish men" has not been challenged and "put to silence" by those who should understand the irrevocable connection between the maintenance of law and order and the discipline of the Christian faith. Dr. Knox has served the Christian community well by his statement. He needs to be joined by a swelling overwhelming chorus from all Christian leaders.
THE AMERICAN SITUATION
This week our international correspondent Mr. Eric Butler reports on the current American situation
Informed American friends have been telling me that President Nixon could be a one-term President. There is no doubt that President Nixon is in deep political trouble on the issue of school segregation. The programme of enforcing segregation is generating increasing friction, not only amongst the Europeans but also amongst the Negroes. Millions of dollars are being spent on growing fleets of buses to bus children many miles so that a school "balance" can be achieved. Nixon is desperately attempting to create the impression that he personally objects to this programme that parents should have the right to send their children to the nearest local school. This means in effect support for segregated schools. But parents are bitterly pointing out that while the President says one thing, his officials are doing the opposite.
The situation has reached the stage where
there is serious talk of George Wallace emerging as the major
threat to Nixon in 1972. Wallace has been given rousing receptions
at big meetings in the South. But the Wallace organisation
has lost most the pre-1968 impetus, and is seriously short
of finance. However, if Wallace can win back the Governorship
of Alabama later this year he would then have a strong base
from which to operate.
The Vietnam issue still tears at the very vitals of the American community, with President Nixon scoring major political points with his "Vietnamisation" programme - until the news from Laos and Cambodia started to demonstrate that the Communists are not letting up in their campaign to take the whole of South-East Asia. Unless Nixon is prepared to move to a win policy in Vietnam as demanded by the organisers of the recent victory march, he will find massive opposition to any proposal to directly commit large numbers of American troops in Laos or Cambodia. The Communist strategists are well aware that the American political front is the one where they are confident they can score major successes.
This year's Congressional Elections
will be a major test for President Nixon, and he is painfully
aware of this. All his foreign policies are at present influenced
by internal political considerations. One of the most significant
developments is the inconsistency of many of those opposing
the American intervention in Vietnam. They support the dangerous
American pro-Israel policy in the Middle East, making it clear
that America should throw its full weight behind Israel. In
spite of the fact that the Middle East situation continues
to deteriorate in favour of the Soviet, which move steadily
towards its ultimate objective of obtaining control of the
major Middle East oil supplies, there is no evidence of any
realistic shift in the Nixon policy. And local Zionist spokesmen.
prominent in opposing the Vietnam War, are doing all in their
power to ensure that Nixon has no second thoughts.
Get Better or Get Out
"Adjustment and reconsideration was needed in many rural industries, the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Anthony) said today.... He said that reconstruction in primary industry was urgently needed." Daily Telegraph (Sydney) April 4th.
Mr. Anthony has apparently learnt little
from the Melbourne march. He is quoted by Peter Samuel, in
the Bulletin (April 4th) as saying recently:
Why on earth we cannot learn from the mistakes of others is puzzling. In America some 12 million people have left the land during the last twenty years. Today there are fewer than three million farmers. Have they become more viable because of the exodus of their neighbors? By no means, Debt, inflation and resultant bankruptcy are a common condition in many rural areas of the United States. A further "reconstruction" is being considered by the United States administration.
A noted congressman, Odin Langen of Minnesota,
recently had this to say about the latest scheme:
Mr. Anthony's "only possible answer" may well lead to a reply from the electorate in which men who once were members of Parliament will be "engaged in some other employment" as a result of their ineptitude. "Get Better or Get Out" is a slogan which is catching on rapidly among Australia's men on the land.
COUNTRY PARTY CRISIS
"The Victorian Country Party yesterday rejected moves to break up the Federal coalition with the Liberal Party... the party decided instead on a resolution indirectly censuring the Federal CP by calling on them to do more for rural communities. Mr. McEwan clashed several times with State CP members of Parliament during a tense three-hour debate over the Party's dissatisfaction with Federal performance." The Age, 16th April 1970.
It is quite clear that the Country Party faces a major crisis over policy. The division between State and Federal members becomes increasingly bitter. The Age report went on to quote the remarks of the Deputy Leader of the State Parliamentary Country Party, Mr. Bruce Evans, who was particularly blunt: "I want Mr. McEwan to do all in his power to ensure that the speech he gave here today doesn't circulate in my electorate. This doctrine that you can do more as a Member of the Government is dynamite - it is what the Liberal opponent from my seat is saying. We ought not to sell the principles and the policies of the Country Party on the basis that it is more important to have power than principles."
Mr. McEwan reacted angrily to this,
as he did to the vigorous debate, which followed his speech.
At one stage he threatened to get straight back on the plane
to Canberra, and also told farmers that they shouldn't "squeal
like stuck pigs." He warned them that they had nothing to
gain by shooting at their own front-line troops in Canberra.
However, it is clear that fewer and fewer voters regard the
Country Party federal members as "front line troops", but
rather as the "surrender merchants" getting a good position
at the funeral of the family farm.
MR. GORTON INSISTS ON SUICIDE
The most telling warning came from veteran Victorian Liberal Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes. "If you go ahead with this, you will be committing political suicide." - The Age, April 20th.
Faced with revolt from a reported eight to ten members (figures which Allen Barnes the Canberra correspondent of The Age says are admitted by Mr. Gorton himself) over the decision of the Federal Government to legislate for Federal control of offshore limits. Mr. Gorton is reported to have retorted to the above warning from Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes: "Well let's commit political suicide."
Allan Barnes reports Mr. Gorton's "utter refusal to take any notice of criticism voiced at the Government parties weekly private meetings, the inference being this attitude was applied to any criticism whatsoever, after having promised subsequent to the election debacle to place all legislation before the party for criticism. The offshore limits legislation is the culmination of this "arrogance" says Mr. Barnes.
Reports coming in from commentators throughout Australia point to the increasing disrespect in which Mr. Gorton is held. It is certain there is now no chance of the Government improving or even holding their position at the Senate elections in November under Mr. Gorton, but any housecleaning, which must eventually come, must be accompanied by a rejection of Mr. Gorton's centralist policies.
PARENTS TAKING A STAND
"A high school advisory council has called for State-wide parent opposition to secondary teacher strikes. The twelve-member Mt. Beauty High School advisory council wants the Victorian Council of Schools Organisations ''to decry the sporadic strikes backed by the Victorian Teachers' Association." The Age, April 16th, 1970.
The report went on to quote one council member as saying".... we abhor the manner in which the VSTA is proceeding to build a form of anarchy into our schools by their approach to the problem. " He said a recent open night at the school had been turned into a political junket for teachers. Mt. Beauty parents were not happy with the campaign's effect on children. They were being set an example through a rebellious attitude to the Education Department, becoming involved in issues at a time when they should be enjoying life. The fears expressed by Mt. Beauty parents are shared by an increasing number of parents around the country. We should never forget that education is a parental responsibility, and that parents must question vigorously any improper use of educational time. Increasingly, children are used as raw material in political issues, despite the anxiety of parents.
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