1 December 1967. Thought for the Week: "How often has public calamity been arrested on the very brink of ruin by the reasonable energy of a single man:"
SENATE ELECTIONS SURVEY
"The election of the Victorian DLP candidate, Mr. J.A. Little, to the Senate, was a warning to the Federal Government that people wanted a better financial deal from the Commonwealth, Victoria's Premier, Sir Henry Bolte, said yesterday." - The Australian, November 28.
The overall result of the Senate Elections was
Irrespective of how the final counting of votes develops, it is certain that the four DLP Senators will hold the balance of power in the new Senate. This situation should enable the Senate to keep the Government "on its toes" without any obstruction to the Government's foreign policy.
In commenting on the elections, all party spokesmen have attempted to present the results in the most encouraging manner from their own point of view. The Prime Minister, Mr. Holt, said he was "disappointed" with the results, but attempted to console himself, and his party, with the view that electors had treated the elections as a by-election at which they could give the Government a prod without destroying it.
ALP leader Mr. Gough Whitlam has attempted to extract the maximum psychological benefit from the ALP's improved electoral support compared with last year's elections for the House of Representatives, but strikes a note of realistic caution. He knows that the ALP must further improve its electoral support, particularly in Victoria, before it has a chance of forming a Government.
Naturally enough, the DLP is particularly enthusiastic with talk of now winning seats in the House of Representatives. No realistic assessment of the voting last Saturday is possible without reference to domestic issues and to that unfortunate animal known as "the donkey vote". As the Victorian Premier, Sir Henry Bolte, has stressed, there is no doubt that the substantial increase in the DLP vote in Victoria was the result of Mr. J. Little campaigning on Victoria's financial disabilities under Uniform Taxation. A strongly worded and well publicised statement by the Victorian Liberal Premier on the eve of the Senate Elections, criticising the Federal Government's treatment of Victoria, was worth many thousands of votes to Mr. Little. Sir Henry Bolte is right when he says that most of the increased support for Mr. Little came from disgruntled Liberal Party voters. The DLP is therefore being over-optimistic by suggesting that it would gain the same electoral support in a general election for the House of Representatives.
However, if Mr. Little will carry out his election promise to treat the Senate as a State House of review, and his promise last Sunday that he would put State loyalties ahead of party loyalties, he and Senator McManus between them could so improve the image of the DLP in Victoria that a higher vote is recorded at the next elections for the House of Representatives.
In assessing the increased DLP vote in Queensland and Western Australia, it must be assumed that 2-3 per cent of this was "the donkey vote" of those voting straight across the ballot paper. But in Tasmania, even first position on the ballot paper could not prevent a serious decline in the DLP vote, which was once strong enough to send Mr. G. Cole to Canberra as a DLP Senator. There was also a slight decline in DLP support in N.S.W. This was the State in which the ALP ran a very strong campaign and polled well. However, once again "the donkey vote" must be taken into consideration in assessing the ALP's increased vote. And there was Mr. Whitlam's personal impact.
In the big national swing against the ALP at
last year's General Elections, Western Australia was the only State
where the Labor vote increased. There was a further increase last Saturday.
Clearly there are local factors in Western Australia favouring the ALP
which do not exist to the same extent elsewhere. It is impossible to
say what support the Government lost on the VIP issue, or what support
it gained when the British devaluation move gave the Prime Minister
a desperately-needed respite from the election campaigning at a most
If the Senate Election results were reflected in a House of Representatives election the Government would lose at least 13 seats. Over 20 would only be held by the Government with DLP preferences. However, after considering all aspects of the Senate Elections, we are of the opinion that in an election for the House of Representatives at the present time the Government's position would not be quite as serious as the Senate Elections suggest. But...Mr. Holt has been strongly warned.
In the next two years domestic issues could start to take precedence over foreign issues. Mr. Whitlam managed during the Senate Elections to project a much more moderate ALP Vietnam policy. Never once did the Government really meet Mr. Whitlam's challenge that ALP Vietnam policy was now in line with that of the United States, representative at the United Nations, Mr. Arthur Goldberg, who supports the recognition of the National Liberation Front (Vietcong) for any negotiations on Vietnam.
There was no suggestion that the Government
was prepared to adopt an independent policy on Vietnam and to recommend
that policy to its American allies. Mr. Whitlam can justifiably feel
that time and events are now on his side. The Vietnam issue will either
be resolved during the next two years, with the American Presidential
Elections playing a vital role in developments, or the struggle will
have probably developed to the point where the world-wide propaganda
in favour of some type of defeatist compromise peace will be overwhelming.
"We wholly endorse the view expressed by Mr. Dumitri Danielopol in Aurora Beacon News of 31 July, 1967 in which he reported: 'On one side of the Stettin harbour, American wheat was unloaded from freighters. On the other side of the same harbour, weapons are loaded which are used against American soldiers, "' - October issue of East West Digest (England).
During the Senate Elections we suffered a frightening experience at one meeting as Victorian Country Party Senator J. Webster supported continued Australian exports to the Communists fighting Australians in Vietnam, and displayed an appalling ignorance about the flood of economic and military aid being poured into North Vietnam from the Soviet Union bloc of Communist nations. He was followed by Minister for the Navy, Mr. Don Chipp, who said that we had to go on exporting to the Communists so that we could solve the "balance-of-payments" problem and thus be able to "afford" to arm ourselves with modern, sophisticated weapons. Mr. Chipp clearly believed what he said, but he did not explain why Australia could not, for example, obtain planes from the United States without first sending wheat or other production to Red China or the Soviet Union bloc.
In more robust times, exporting to enemies was termed treason. But psychological warfare has done its deadly work. Only those who have made it their business to understand the true nature of the Communist conspiracy can resist this type of warfare. One of these is Mr. Eugene Lyons, a former United Press correspondent in Moscow, a senior editor of the Reader's Digest, and a recognised expert on Soviet affairs. Mr. Lyons has written a book, which he rather aptly describes as Operation Suicide. He does not see trade with the Communists as anything but a policy of suicide.
Dealing with American shipments to Communist
Europe, Lyons points out that these have included rapid-communication
equipment, combustion engines, refrigeration compressors, synthetic
fibres, computers, containers for explosives and nuclear radiation and
detection instruments. There are chemical fertlisers, which U.S. Secretary
of Agriculture Orville Freeman has said are as important as bullets.
Criticising D. Walt Rostow, U.S. Presidential
adviser and chief architect of U.S. policy, who claims to see signs
of "pragmatism and moderation" in the Soviet bloc which may lead to
"reconciliation and co-operation", Lyons warns that Rostow and the "bridge
building brigades rest their case on hopes, speculations and conjectures
related to supposed changes in the USSR and its European empire since
the passing of Stalin."
Lyons dismisses "This fanciful prognosis" as
one which sustains the desire in the West to be relieved of the "unpleasant
and costly challenge" of defending itself. The result is that Soviet-American
"rapprochement" works to support De Gaulle's policies and to erode what
remains of Western solidarity. Eugene Lyons warns that "Never before
has a great and powerful nation based its world policies on such flimsy
foundations of wishful thinking geared to self-deception."
HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS STRIKE
"... 50 boys of Form 4 at Kingswood College, Box Hill South staged a 55-minute sit-down strike against conscription and the Vietnam war... Some of the placards they carried condemning the Federal Government, conscription and Vietnam war policies read: 'Holt, the Viet warmonger'; 'We are Holt's guinea pigs'..." - Box Hill Gazette, Victoria, November 22.
The above item is one small piece of evidence
showing that the revolutionary movement in Australia is now reaching
a much younger age group than previously. A spokesman for the striking
boys, a lad of 16, said that, "they had not encountered hostility when
they informed their teachers of their intentions"
DE GAULLE'S POLICY BECOMES CLEARER
"Before Britain could enter the market, he (President de Gaulle) said, it must 'modify its own nature' and go through a considerable economic, social and political evolution.... In order that the British Isles can really tie up to the continent, there is still a very vast and deep mutation to be effected." - The Herald, Melbourne, November 28.
How did the British Government, led by the most discredited British Prime Minister for hundreds of years, react to the latest savage attacks and demands by Charles de Gaulle, and his statement that he is going to give more aid and comfort to the revolutionaries attempting to disrupt Canada through Quebec?
Press reports state that British officials will press on with the campaign for early negotiations to join the European Common Market: Harold Wilson is making it clear that he and his masters will make every surrender necessary to tie the United Kingdom to a Europe which de Gaulle is determined to tie to the Soviet bloc. In the meantime de Gaulle campaigns to bring Red China into the United Nations, while in West Germany Foreign Minister Willie Brandt indicates that the underground Communist Party may be legalised soon.
It is to be hoped that de Gaulle's violent anti-British tirade will shock the British people into turning their backs on the fate proposed for them by Harold Wilson, and into seeking to rebind the broken bonds with their kith and kin of the old Crown Commonwealth.
EXPANSION FUND NOT COMPLETEDAs we go to press, one day before the end of the month, the $25, 000 expansion fund is still $885.00 short of its objective. If you have not already done so, swell the flow of donations and pledges, which we trust, will make it possible to announce victory next week.
Election comment authorised by Eric D. Butler, 273 Lt. Collins Street, Melbourne, 3000.
"On Target" is published by the Australian League of Rights, Box 1052. G.P.O. Melbourne 3001.