2 October 1970. Thought for the Week: "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
POLITICAL BRAWLING AT CANBERRA OBSCURES REAL ISSUES
"The 'flag affair' between Mr. Gorton and Mr. Whitlam rolls damagingly on Mr. Whitlam blundered politically last week when he advised conscientious objectors to refuse to go to Vietnam...Albeit unintentionally, Mr. Gorton, by initiating an Information Bureau assignment which produced the now famous picture of Mr. Whitlam and a Viet Cong flag, has done his political opponent a favor. He has shown that blundering is not the preserve of any one politician." - From editorial in The Herald, Melbourne, September 29.
Increasing numbers of Australian electors are becoming disgusted with the manner in which many of the politicians at Canberra are resorting to political gimmicks in an endeavour to seek an advantage over their opponents. What electors want is an examination of basic problems, such as the never-ending inflation spiral.
As the stand by The Australian League of Rights on the Vietnam Issue has been consistently stated over the years, we should not be misunderstood when we state that the Liberal-Country Party Government is not in a very strong position to hurl charges of treachery against Mr. Whitlam and the ALP. The League supported Australian involvement in Vietnam on several grounds, not the least of which was that Communist aggression should if possible be checked, particularly when that aggression was taking place in a part of the world close to Australia. It was for the same reason that the League supported the Australian participation in the campaign during the fifties to defeat the Communist campaign in Malaya.
But while supporting Australian involvement in Vietnam, the League of Rights was increasingly critical of the no-win policy being pursued, and urged the Australian Government to give encouragement to those Americans who insisted that the only effective way to end the war in Vietnam, was to win it! The League was the first organisation in Australia to publicise the official report by the American Armed Service Committee, revealing how no effort was being made to choke the Communists' major supply line, through the North Vietnamese Port of Haiphong.
The main supplier to the Viet Cong was, and still is, the Soviet Union. American patriots have complained bitterly of the policy of increased American exports to the Soviet Union while at the same time doing nothing whatever to halt the flood of Soviet equipment into Vietnam for use against American troops.
We warned the present Government that it would eventually pay a heavy political price if it did nothing to adopt a much more positive approach on the Vietnam issue. The failure to declare war left the Communists, their dupes, and many sincere but misled people, quite free to campaign against Australia's involvement in Vietnam. The Government attempted to present a picture of growing Chinese influence right throughout South-East Asia, but undermined their own creditability rating by urging greater wheat exports to Red China.
A few Government Members drew attention
to the fact that British ships were sailing into Haiphong,
and urged that the Government should officially protest to
the British Government. This suggestion was strongly resented
by the Government. It rejected any suggestion that it should
encourage the Americans to blockade Haiphong. The pro-Communism
of some ALP Members should be exposed and opposed. But it
is rather hypocritical of Country Party leader John McEwen
talking about treachery when he has encouraged wheat exports
to Red China and only a few months back visited the Soviet
Union for the purpose of promoting Australian exports to the
The Gorton Government is rendering just as much support to the Communist conspiracy as is Dr. Cairns and Mr. Whitlam. Whether Mr. Gorton or Mr. Whitlam has made the most electorally damaging political blunder over the past week only time will show. But the political brawling has tended to direct attention away from more fundamental issues. The plight of the rural communities worsens. The full impact of an inflationary budget has yet to be felt. The erosion of the Federal system of Government continues, and has at last provoked Liberal Premier Bolte of Victoria into open revolt against the Canberra financial dictatorship. Inflation is the fuel being used to stoke the fires of increasing industrial friction. The growing youth revolt is generally linked only to the Vietnam issue, but is in fact a manifestation of a growing lack of faith in a society, which has lost its bearings.
WHITLAM MISLEADS ON NATIONAL SERVICE ACT
"The vice about it (the National Service Act) is that it makes no allowance for conscientious objection to a particular war." - ALP leader Mr. Gough Whitlam, as reported in The Sun, Melbourne, September 29th.
It is disturbing that Mr. Whitlam should make such an incredibly false statement. There is adequate provision for genuine conscientious objectors to put their case before an independent judiciary. Many have done this and have been exempted from military service. It is blatant dishonesty for Dr. Jim Cairns to cite the case of the young Victorian Ross who served part of a prison sentence before being released. This young man, for reasons best known to himself, or perhaps to those who advised him, failed to make use of the provisions available to him to demonstrate that he was a genuine conscientious objector.
A young Australian who does not object to military service, but who has a conscientious objection to the Vietnam war and wishes to avoid being sent there has a simple solution to his problem, if he does not wish to take a gamble on the National Service ballot he can join the Citizen Military Force, the Citizen Naval Forces, or an auxiliary or university squadron of the Citizen Air Force 12 months before he is due to register for National Service. He then registers and fills in a form to say that he undertakes to serve efficiently for five years. If when the ballot for his age group is held three or four months later and he is balloted out he can leave the citizen forces. But even if he fails to join a citizen force at least 12 months before his date of registration he can still opt out of national service by applying to join up with a citizen force up to 14 days after registration is due. But by leaving his application to this stage he must sign on for six years irrespective of whether he is balloted in or out.
Service in the Citizen forces is not particularly hard. It is instructive that of the 536,000 who have registered for National Service, only 13,393 have joined the civilian services.
The truth is that young Australians who have objections to serving in Vietnam have genuine alternatives open to them without breaking the law. Our own view is that much of the opposition to the present National Service scheme stems from resentment of the balloting system, and that all young Australians should be required to undergo National Service training, with alternative non-military service for those who can demonstrate that they are conscientious objectors to any form of military service.
The American withdrawal from Vietnam makes it almost certain that the Australian forces will also be progressively withdrawn. But the end of Vietnam does not mean less necessity for a comprehensive National Service scheme. The need will be greater than ever.
WHO FINANCES THE AUSTRALIAN LEAGUE OF RIGHTS?With the increasing expansion of The League of Rights, many are asking the above question. The answer is simple: The League relies entirely upon subscription to its journals, sale of literature, and donations from individuals who wish to defend freedom. Each year the League runs an appeal to obtain its estimated requirements. For 1970-71 an estimated minimum of $25,000 is required. Donations and/or pledges may now be sent to Box 1052J, G.P.O. Melbourne, 3001. Already the Fund stands at approximately $1,000.
FEDERAL TREASURER MISLEADS ON CONSUMER DISCOUNTS
"As to your point that if prices are reduced inflationary pressures are reduced. I would comment that rising prices are symptoms of inflation not inflation per se. As the brief explanation I have given suggests, attempts to lower prices by means of consumer subsidies, without associated measures of the sort I have described (rationing or increased taxation) would not in fact achieve their objectives." - Federal Treasurer L. Bury in a letter dated 7th September.
Under increasing pressure from electors demanding that the 1949 Liberal-Country Party promises of lower taxation and consumer subsidies be implemented to halt the disastrous inflation spiral, the permanent "experts" have been devising "arguments" for Mr. Bury and the other public relations men advise against electors. In the letter quoted above, Mr. Bury states that, "pushing prices down by subsidies would be ineffective without some combination of rationing and increased taxation." Mr. Bury might care to explain how in 1949, with far less productive capacity than is available today, the Liberal-Party Coalition could promise consumer subsidies, less taxation, and no rationing?
In an attempt to dispose of the arguments advanced by the elector writing to him, Mr. Bury made the incredible statement that "the economy is fully employed". The most charitable thing that can be said is that Mr. Bury has only a nodding acquaintance with the reality of the production system. It is true that a large amount of the nation's productive capacity is being misused as a result of the financial policies being imposed by the Federal Government. What contribution does the rapidly expanding Federal bureaucracy make to the national production pond?
If Mr. Bury will have a talk with a
few production engineers, they will tell him that providing
there was an increased demand backed by adequate purchasing
power, and that employees could be persuaded to co-operate
enthusiastically on the basis that they would not thus be
"working themselves out of a job", increased production is
easily possible. So far from there being "too much money chasing
too few goods", inflation is reducing the purchasing power
of many people who cannot buy goods which retailers are desperately
attempting to sell by every conceivable form of high-pressure
selling, some of it not particularly honest.
Attempting to discredit the concept of consumer discounts, financed out of exactly the same type of new financial credit used to finance inflationary wage increases, Mr. Bury uses the blatantly dishonest suggestion that if all final prices were reduced by subsidies to the extent of 50 per cent, thus doubling purchasing power of all consumers increased demand on the economy would make rationing necessary or increased taxation. No responsible person would dream of suggesting an immediate doubling of consumer purchasing power through a 50 percent reduction in prices, and one can only conclude that Mr. Bury, or his "advisers", have put forward the figure of 50 per cent in order to attempt to discredit the basic concept of consumer discounts.
Mr. Bury may not be aware of the fact, but a large section of the Australian community is suffering acutely because of cost-price squeeze in the primary industries the wool and wheat industries being perhaps the main victims. Without examining the technicalities, it is an indisputable fact that the income of the Australian wool industry has declined by some hundreds of millions of dollars per annum. Now supposing wool prices had stayed at the level of, say three years ago, which would have meant that these hundreds of millions of dollars were available. Is Mr. Bury saying that this increased money supply would have been disastrous? If it would in fact have been welcomed by everyone, then why would it be disastrous if the equivalent of the estimated loss of wool income were made available to the wool industry in the form of a discount system, financed by the Government in the form of non-negotiable Government debentures only to be used to meet rates and taxes.
This would mean they would go back to
the Government and be cancelled out of existence in liquidating
part of the growing debt structure. The wool producer would
be left with more purchasing power. Some he would use to reduce
his private indebtedness. The whole community would benefit.
There would be no increased costs to be charged into still
The use of new credits to progressively pass the benefits of increased production to the consumer via a falling price level, instead of constantly inflating price levels by financing increased wage costs, would completely cut the ground from under the Socialists and the Communist agitators. And by increasing the power of the consumer, there would be a retreat from Big Government. Unproductive officials could make some constructive contribution to society. Real freedom would expand. But this is what the Canberra planners oppose. And so they use Mr. Bury to put forward dishonest and confusing jargon.
"On Target" is published by the Australian League of Rights, Box 1052. G.P.O. Melbourne 3001.