Bert KellyOne More Nail (Adelaide: Brolga Books, 1978), ch. 16, pp. 156-67.

Members of Parliament soon learn that there are some solid, reliable subjects about which the electorate loves to hear their Member give tongue. I will parade a few of these.

In a rural electorate such as Wakefield people always want their member to be eloquent about decentralisation. South Australia has a greater percentage of its population living in its capital city than almost any state or country in the world, with the exception of city states such as Singapore or Hong Kong. So you would expect the comparatively small proportion of people living in the country to want to hear what could be done to stop the continual drift to the city. And because the provision of services for country people become more expensive as the country population becomes thinner spread, so my electors became increasingly anxious about decentralisation.

The trouble is that I found it much easier to spell out the problem than to find the cure. For instance at one R.S.L. meeting, where the audience was not as respectful as at a Liberal Party branch meeting, I was asked a very direct question — “Do you know that there were every year fewer farmers in this district, that the farms were becoming larger and the small towns were becoming smaller? And if you do know this, what are you going to do about it?” Then the questioner added sourly that he didn’t want any examples of smart political footwork, what he wanted was a straight answer to a straight question. So, taking my courage in both hands and making sure again that the door in the supper room was open, I replied that I had certain but painful solutions to both problems. First, dealing with the increasing size of the farms, I pointed out that the farms in our district were originally worked by horse teams, and were generally about the size that a 8 to 10 horse team could handle. And when tractors replaced horses the farms became bigger also. And as our tractors grew in size our farms grew even bigger. “So if you want this stopped the solution is comparatively easy,” I explained a little nervously, “we could pass a law making it illegal to farm with tractors.” This answer saddened my audience; it wasn’t what they wanted to hear.

And in that district there were many very small townships, much more so than in Victoria or N.S.W. Our towns are spaced along the railway lines about ten miles apart because if the towns were more widely spaced, getting the mail and groceries in the horse and trap became too difficult, and it also made wheat carting distances too great. “So again I can solve the problem of the small country towns becoming smaller,” I said brightly, “all we need is a law making the use of motor cars illegal.”

There is another aspect of the decentralisation problem that only country dwellers can understand and that is the bitter rivalry that exists between neighbouring country towns. While my electorate were enthusiastically in favour of the general concept of decentralisation, this enthusiasm would disappear like a mist on a summer morning if they thought that another town, particularly a neighbouring town, was getting better treatment than it was getting. Yet we know that the only way we can make decentralisation successful, is to select a growth centre and to concentrate our limited resources on this one area. But this means leaving unassisted all the other towns who will hate you till you die. It is rather like selecting the belle of the country ball, the one you eventually select, after giving them all as careful examination as your wife will allow, probably lives outside the electorate, while the thousands of relatives and friends of the ones that were passed over will spend the rest of their lives getting even with you.

So country politicians soon learn that, though their electors love hearing resounding statements about decentralisation, they are not nearly so keen when something starts to happen. The real driving force for decentralisation will come, strangely enough, from the big cities, when their inhabitants become so nauseated with the frightening effects that occur when too many people are crowded together. Then you will find that big city dwellers will be prepared to pay good money to stop other people joining them there.

Another sacred cow that a politician soon learns to treat with great respect is the idea that he is only interested in the well-being of people — “I am not bound by the dictates of economists,” he soon learns to say in ringing tones, “it is people and people only that I care about.” The electorate loves this, all except the economists and there were never many of these in Wakefield. And economists are always unpopular, as indeed are all bearers of bad tidings that you cannot have everything you want. But all the time you are making yourself popular castigating economists, you should feel slightly ashamed because you know in your heart that the economy’s ability to help the poorer people depends in the end on how well the economy is running. So the next time you hear some smart politician, or indeed any other sod, proclaiming the depth of his feeling for people and how indifferent he is to economic advice, I suggest you regard him with a jaundiced eye because he is likely to be either a fool or a charlatan.

Expenditure on health is another sacred cow which, like motherhood, is universally admired, but she takes a lot more to keep than she used to. The health costs go up in leaps and bounds each year. On our side of politics we usually now blame Medibank for this escalation and as far as increased hospital costs this criticism may well be justified. But I noticed in 1972, before Medibank, that medical costs were increasing in an alarming way. I used to blame everybody and everything until I got ill myself and then I realised that some of the fault was mine.

In 1972 I decided that I was going to be ill. There were no definite symptoms but close and urgent attention to my heart-beats seem to point to a severe cardiac problem and from there it was only a few steps to imagining that I was trembling on the brink. I began drawing poignant pictures of me dropping in my tracks in the course of my duty and the word “dedicated” frequently appeared in the epitaph that I fondled in my mind. I used to imagine the scene in Parliament when they mourned my passing, with the House standing in hushed silence after the party leaders had, with broken voices, extolled my many virtues. I sometimes wish I could be there to hear it all. 1

After extracting the maximum pathos from my condition, I went with faltering steps to see my G.P. I steeled myself to hear the sentence I knew would come, that I had a very bad heart caused by my devoted dedication to my constituents. I knew that the doctor would tell me that my only hope was to take things easy for what was left of my life.

My doctor was very thorough; he kneaded me all over, listened to me in a most intimate way through his stethoscope and the questioned me closely about the life I lived. I seized the opportunity to tell him how hard I worked, how I had to sit up all night reading Tariff Board reports and so on. I was just about in tears by the time I had finished the saga of my suffering.

Then he took a long breath and I felt that he was preparing me for the worst. Then he informed me that my trouble resulted from not taking enough exercise, and eating too much and drinking too often. I received this information with such obvious incredulity that he said that, I being so important to the nation, should go to see some specialists.

He then took some blood from me by jabbing me with a great big needle. I was surprised to see that my blood looked quite ordinary. I don’t know what I expected, perhaps very blue blood or white blood caused by devotion to my people. The doctor sent the stuff away to a big firm of blood pathologists who were very busy examining blood and building a great palace to do it in so that paying income tax wouldn’t break them. After a decent interval their report came back to the G.P. to the effect that there was nothing wrong with my blood that a little abstinence wouldn’t cure. The G.P. told me in confidence that there was not one word in the report about dedication.

The G.P. then sent me off to a heart specialist clinic. This was an exciting experience. I was wired into a weird and wonderful battery of machines that pulsated away as if my heart was really belting itself to bits, and they plugged their electrodes in to the most intimate places. And one of the specialists sat on my side of the couch complaining about his income tax.

After an hour of this, I implored the specialist for a report because I could stand the strain no longer. He tried to avoid doing this which only made me more certain that the prognosis was serious. Then he told me that he thought my main trouble was drinking too much red wine. There was no mention of dedication, no warning about too much work, only this silly emphasis on red wine.

Then I went back to the G.P. who informed me cheerfully that his original diagnosis had been confirmed and there was really nothing wrong with me that a little exercise and abstinence would not cure. When I asked him whether he would have sent me to these specialists if he had not known that most of the expense would be met by my medical insurance. “Of course not, Bert,” he replied, “and I know you well enough to know that you wouldn’t have gone either if you had to pay for both services. But you have paid your insurance, so you might as well be absolutely certain.”

I know that specialists are necessary. But I now know from my own experience, that many visits to specialists are only made because their direct cost to the patient is minimal. So the specialists have an expanded clientele, with an assurance of being paid such as they never had before. The system suits them fine. It also gives, in some cases, good medical results, I admit. But supplying services at a good deal less than cost is a certain way of leading to their overuse. The things you get for nothing you value as much.

So every time the taxpayer, represented by the government, supplies something for nothing or next to nothing, the cost goes up and up. The sad thing is that we think we are milking the government, but we are really milking each other and there really is not much profit in that exercise except for the specialists who get the cream.

Education used to be a sacred cow which the smart politician soon learnt to worship. But she is not what she was; she has gone off her milk, as it were. I told a group of ardent educationists the other day that if I now wanted to make myself really popular in Wakefield I would advocate spending less, rather than more, money on education. This was a shock to them but there have been so many glaring examples of extravagance in education spending that people are sick of it. Particularly is this so in the country where examples of waste, though not more common, are known to a greater proportion of the population. And we know that the lion’s share of any increase in the education vote has gone, in the past, to the teachers.

It is also becoming too common in the country to want to see a big cut in University expenditure. I do not go along with this but I would very much like to see the tenure position altered. There are too many people on university staffs who are only there because they cannot be sacked.

One of the silliest things we do in the education field is force unwilling students, particularly boys, to stay at school until they have reach a comparatively high legal leaving age. Many such students become a grave disciplinary problem, particularly for young girl teachers. Trying to hold the heads of unwilling students forcibly in the trough of learning is not a good way to behave. It would be better to let them out into the world if they hate being made to stop at school; they may then be more willing to return later in life to some form of adult education.

I wish that we had never given free university education to all students. Nothing in life is really free, and the freer it appears to be, the less it is valued and the more it is wasted.

Another sacred cow the politician quickly learns to pat is the idea that we are lucky because we have plenty of great empty spaces. When you hear anybody, particularly Members of Parliament, talking that way you know that they do not know what they are talking about. Those of us who know how inhospitable and tough are these great open spaces which look so flat and inviting on the map, also know that they present one of the greatest handicaps to our development. Australia spends a greater proportion of her national product in transporting goods and people across these great open spaces  than any other country spends on transport. One of the reasons for this is the iron grip that the maritime unions have on the country, so that it costs more to transport goods by sea from Sydney to Perth than from Sydney to London, going past Perth on the way. But even if we did not have tied around our necks the Navigation Act, which enforces the carriage of our interstate sea cargoes in Australian ships, we would still have to face the heavy transport costs in crossing the deserts which occasionally become inland seas. The Tyranny of Distance by Geoffrey Blainey, should be required reading by all politicians.

We have developed for farming, country which no other country would have farmed. If land is left unfarmed in Australia, you can bet your bottom dollar that it is useless.

Another sacred cow that it pays a Liberal politician to pat every time he walks past is the States Rights cow. This is particularly so if you come from one of the smaller States as I do. Most of my electors had a very lively suspicion that Victoria and New South Wales were grinding our faces in the dirt. If you really want to be loved it pays to beat the State’s drum. But it gets a bit embarrassing sometimes. I will give three examples.

Soon after I became a Member of Parliament, Mr (later Sir Thomas) Playford was our State’s distinguished Premier. Every now and then he used to give tongue about the shoddy deal South Australia was getting from the Commonwealth and he would proclaim that what he wanted above everything was for South Australia to get our income taxing powers back so that we could have a fair go again, as we used to before the evil Commonwealth took away our right to levy our own income tax. Being rather dewy-eyed, I sidled up to the great man and volunteered the information that, from now on, he could count on me as an active ally in his struggle to get back his taxing powers so that the State could progress once again. Mr Playford was rather startled to hear these glad tidings and asked me to repeat my statements to make sure that he had heard right. Then he took me into the privacy of his office and, carefully closing the door, admitted that, though this was the song he sang in public, he didn’t really want his taxing powers back. “The present system rather suits me, Bert,” he explained, “the Commonwealth gets the odium for raising the money and I get the credit for spending it. And if I think I am not getting enough, I go round to see the Adelaide Advertiser, and they twist the Commonwealth’s tail till I get some more. The sympathies of the citizens of South Australia are always on my side. So if you don’t mind, Bert, don’t try too hard to get my income taxing powers back.”

Soon after that I read a verse of poetry that was made up by some Commonwealth officials who had been taking part in a conference between the States and the Commonwealth with the objective of returning to the States the income taxing powers they had lost during the war. You are to imagine that one of the State officials is speaking. The verse runs:

We thank you for the offer of the cow,/But we can’t milk so we answer now,/We answer with a loud emphatic chorus,/You keep the cow and do the milking for us.

On another occasion at a South Australian Liberal function, we spent most of our time blaming the Commonwealth because South Australia was not getting a fair go and because we were such a poor State as far as resources went, we deserved more from the Commonwealth. They then asked for questions, so I asked, “I have a son who wants to start out on his own, farming. What should I do, encourage him to go to Western Australia where they have cheaper farming land, or to stop in South Australia and practise with his begging bowl?” They hated me for that, but I was trying to make them face up to the problem that if you are in the wrong location, it is usually better to shift rather than sit around complaining. But this was not the right way to make myself popular.

The third occasion was when I became a Minister. One of the big and powerful groups turned on a splendid lunch in my honour, and after lunch some nice speeches were made, and the general theme was gratitude that the State now had a representative who would fight the State’s battles in Canberra. “There are all kinds of things you can do for us, Bert,” they explained. “We must have the Chowilla Dam and more money for most things. You will fight for us, won’t you?” “I will do what I can,” I said lamely, “but any time you want me to do something for the benefit of my State to the detriment of Australia, would you please put the request in writing?” I know that they were disappointed in this answer but most of the particular advantages given to a particular State are at the expense of the nation. Not always, but mostly.

The Fraser government is trying to bring some sense into the field of State-Commonwealth financial affairs, with its Federalism policy. But it will not get very far along that road while it continues to give grants to particular States for particular purposes. When the new Federalism policy was unveiled when we were in opposition, I told the Party meeting then that it would be necessary to stop making special grants to the States because, once you started to give grants for any purpose, all states would want special consideration. “You gave special grants for such-and-such a project to a certain State, why don’t you give us something also?” they say, or, “Don’t you love us as you love the others?” will be their complaint.

So the Federalism policy will gradually become more and more blurred each time we are unable to resist the temptation to make good fellows of ourselves by giving away your money to popular causes. And that reminds me of a peculiar trait in politicians; we like to give the impression that, if the Commonwealth gives its money, say, to an aged persons’ home, that is our money we are giving away, not yours. We like to hear eloquent tributes to our generosity, but it is your money, after all. But our anger is unbounded if the Commonwealth has supplied most of the money, but State Members of Parliament turn up at the opening function and are given a more prominent position on the dais than we are. If the Federal member has been a lot of help with a project, as he often has been, it is proper that he get a little credit. But people should never credit him with generosity. It is your money that he is giving away.

Another sacred cow that the electorate loves you to pat is the idea of everyone being equal. By so doing you appear as a man of sympathy and understanding. But most times we have to make a choice between cutting the economic cake into equal but smaller slices, or having unequal slices cut from a bigger cake. This is a very great pity because I find the flaunting of unequal wealth irritating and demeaning. But the awful truth is that there are too many people around like me. If I find that taxation is taking too much of what I produce, then I stop working hard and taking risks, so the economic cake is not as big as it would have been if taxation had been lower. But most of our taxation goes to make people more equal.

Everyone knows this, of course, but I have never seen it so clearly expressed as by Professor Hayek in his great book The Constitution of Liberty:

The range of what will be tried and later developed, the fund of experience that will become available to all, is greatly extended by the unequal distribution of present benefits; and the rate of advance will be greatly increased if the first steps are taken long before the majority can profit from them. Many of the improvements would indeed never become a possibility for all if they had not long before been available to some. If all had to wait for better things until they could be provided for all, that day would in many instances never come. Even the poorest today owe their relative material well-being to the results of past inequality.2

Hayek then gives point to this thesis with his powerful statement:

At any given moment we could improve the position of the poorest by giving them what we took from the wealthy. But, while such an equalizing of the positions in the column of progress would temporarily quicken the closing-up of the ranks, it would, before long, slow down the movement of the whole and in the long run hold back those in the rear. Recent European experience strongly confirms this. The rapidity with which rich societies here have become static, if not stagnant, societies through egalitarian politics, while impoverished but highly competitive countries have come very dynamic and progressive, has been one of the most conspicuous features of the postwar period.3

Footnotes by Economics.org.au
  1. Check out the standard “more exalted kind of flatulence” (in Nock’s language) that politicians turned out for him here.
  2. F.A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty (University of Chicago Press, 1960), p. 44.
  3. Ibid., pp. 48-49.
(in order of appearance on Economics.org.au)
  1. Bert Kelly on his journalism
  2. Move for a body of Modest Members
  3. Modest Members Association
  4. Bert Kelly's Maiden Parliamentary Speech
  5. Government Intervention
  6. 1976 Monday Conference transcript featuring Bert Kelly
  7. Bert Kelly, Hayek and Mencken on the virtues of farmers
  8. Sound economics calls for quiet from government
  9. Petrol for Farmers
  10. Some Sacred Cows
  11. Experiences in Parliament
  12. Spending your Money
  13. Is Taxmania a politician fetish?
  14. How Bert Kelly repays a free feed
  15. Modest column #898
  16. Chicken-hearted feathered friends strange bedfellows on a feather bed?
  17. Who needs literary licence?
  18. A touch of Fred's anarchy
  19. Helping the farmers help themselves
  20. Standing on the shoulders of the downtrodden
  21. Supply and Demand
  22. Bert Kelly responds to claims he is arrogant and uncredentialed
  23. Politics: it's a very confusing business
  24. The best featherbeds run on rails
  25. Bert Kelly on Disaster Relief
  26. Bert Kelly Wants to Secede
  27. Blinded by their tears
  28. Anti-freedom pro-tobacco industry lobby harmed Australia
  29. Under Labor, is working hard foolish?
  30. An Idiot's Guide to Interventionism
  31. Is free healthcare worthless?
  32. Can government kiss it better?
  33. Bert Kelly Destroys the Side Benefits Argument for Government
  34. Bert Kelly gets his head around big-headed bird-brained politics
  35. First Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  36. Second Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  37. Third Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  38. Fourth Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  39. Fifth Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  40. Sixth Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  41. Bert Kelly on the 2011 Budget and Australia's Pathetic Journalists and Politicians
  42. Bert Kelly, Bastard or Simple Sod?
  43. Liberal Backbencher Hits Govt. Over Import Restrictions
  44. Bert Kelly feels a dam coming on at each election
  45. Bert Kelly Enters Parliament
  46. Why take in one another's washing?
  47. Bert Kelly breaks the law, disrespects government and enjoys it
  48. Gillard's galley-powered waterskiing
  49. State Premiers are always asking for more taxing powers
  50. Can price control really work?
  51. Should we put up with socialism?
  52. We're quick to get sick of socialism
  53. Time the protection racket ended
  54. Can't pull the wool over Farmer Fred
  55. People not Politics
  56. Bert Kelly admits he should have had less faith in politicians
  57. The inspirational incentivising Dear Leader Gough Whitlam
  58. Labor: a girl who couldn't say no
  59. Why leading businessmen carry black briefcases
  60. Ludwig von Mises on page 3 of AFR
  61. Bert Kelly's empowering feminism
  62. Mavis wants the Modest Member to dedicate his book to her
  63. What if the whole country is swindled?
  64. Moss Cass: "Flood plains are for floods"
  65. A worm's eye view
  66. Eccles returns to haunt us
  67. How to grip a politician's ear
  68. It's hard to digest this economic cake
  69. Time to Butcher "Aussie Beef"
  70. Cold water on government-instigated irrigation schemes
  71. Hooray for Ord River Dam!
  72. Tariffs paid by exporters
  73. The problem of principles v popularity
  74. If you support State Quotas, where will your logic take you?
  75. Against guidance by government
  76. A socialist in Liberal clothing
  77. Never ask the government to help
  78. Don't listen to economists!
  79. Bert Kelly's revolutionary strategy
  80. Whitlam's July 1973 25% tariff cut
  81. Bert Kelly on Import Quotas
  82. Good directions when government backseat driving, like reversing down wrong side of road
  83. Barriers to imports are barriers to exports
  84. Bert Kelly reviews The War Diaries of Weary Dunlop
  85. Bert Kelly reviews We Were There
  86. Tariffs get the fork-tongue treatment
  87. Bert Kelly reduces government to its absurdities
  88. Politician sacrifices his ... honesty
  89. It's all a matter of principle
  90. Bert Kelly Destroys the Infant Industry Argument
  91. Bert Kelly Untangles Tariff Torment
  92. Bert Kelly resorts to prayer
  93. Eccles keeps our nose hard down on the tariff grindstone
  94. "Don't you believe in protecting us against imports from cheap labour countries?"
  95. Even if lucky, we needn't be stupid
  96. Great "freedom of choice" mystery
  97. Small government's growth problem
  98. I like my kind acts to get a mention in the press
  99. A Modest Member rakes the embers
  100. Tariffs Introduced
  101. More About Tariffs
  102. Sacred cow kicker into print
  103. Bert Kelly's 1984 two-article quote-collection on Aboriginal policies
  104. Modest Member must not give up
  105. Traditional Wheat Farming is Our Birthright and Heritage and Must be Protected!
  106. Tariff-cut nonsense lives on
  107. Bert Kelly brilliantly defends "theoretical academics"
  108. The high cost of protection
  109. Generosity creates problems
  110. The Society of Modest Members
  111. John Hyde's illogical, soft, complicated, unfocussed and unsuccessful attempt to communicate why he defends markets
  112. Modesty ablaze
  113. Case for ministers staying home
  114. The unusual self-evident simplicity of the Modest Members Society
  115. Animal lib the new scourge of the bush
  116. The Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Krill
  117. modest members society
  118. Repeal economic laws, force people to buy new cars and enforce tariffs against overseas tennis players
  119. Thoughts on how to kill dinosaurs
  120. Let's try the chill winds
  121. Taking the Right's road
  122. Bert Kelly: "I did not try often or hard enough"
  123. Bert Kelly "lacked ... guts and wisdom"
  124. A look at life without tariffs
  125. The Gospel according to Bert
  126. Tiny note on Bert Kelly's column in The Bulletin in 1985
  127. Why costs can't be guaranteed
  128. Hitting out with a halo
  129. Paying farmers not to grow crops will save on subsidies, revenge tariffs, etc
  130. "The Modest Farmer joins us" | "How The Modest Farmer came to be"
  131. Bert Kelly Destroys the Freeloading Justifies Government Argument
  132. Industrial Relations Club shovellers
  133. From Shann to Stone
  134. Government Intervention
    vs
    Government Interference
  135. A sojourn in the real world
  136. The tariff wind swings
  137. Bigger Cake = Bigger Slices
  138. Bert Kelly on the Political Process
  139. A charabanc called protection
  140. Taken for a ride - to nowhere
  141. Down hill, in circles, all the way
  142. Relationships with the Liberal Party
  143. Tariffs = High Prices + World War
  144. Bert Kelly's Family History
  145. Bert Kelly's Pre-Parliament Life
  146. What the MP could say to the Bishop
  147. Why Bert Kelly was not even more publicly outspoken
  148. WEATHER IS USUALLY UNUSUAL
  149. How to stand aside when it's time to be counted
  150. How the Modest Member went back to being a Modest Farmer
  151. My pearls of wisdom were dull beyond belief
  152. Bert Kelly on Political Football
  153. Undigested morsels in Fraser spew
  154. Bert Kelly on LSD
  155. Bert Kelly reflects on the Australian car industry in 1992
  156. Bert Kelly wants reprinted Shann's Economic History of Australia
  157. If tariffs are opposed here then why not there?
  158. The emperor has no textiles, clothing and footwear sense
  159. Ross Gittins Wins Bert Kelly Award
  160. Interesting 1964 Bert Kelly speech: he says he is not a free trader and that he supports protection!
  161. This is the wall the Right built
  162. Tariff Protection in Australia (1970)
  163. Has Santa socked it to car makers?
  164. Is the Budget a cargo cult?
  165. Will we end up subsidising one another?
  166. Keeping the bucket of worms alive
  167. Can we get off the stomach-churning head-spinning tariff merry-go-round?
  168. Do we want our money to fly?
  169. Can a bear be sure of a feed?
  170. How to impress your MP -
    ambush him
  171. The time for being nice to our MPs has gone ...
  172. Don't feel sorry for him -
    hang on to his ear
  173. Trade wars can easily end up on a battlefield
  174. Tariffs Create Unemployment
  175. Bert Kelly recommends Ayn Rand
  176. Bert Kelly on Alf Rattigan's Industry Assistance: The Inside Story
  177. Bert Kelly's Satirical Prophecy: Minister for Meteorology (tick) and High Protectionist Policies to Result in War Yet Again (?)
  178. Bert Kelly in 1972 on Foreign Ownership of Australian Farmland and Warren Truss, Barnaby Joyce and Bill Heffernan in 2012
  179. Bert Kelly baits Welfare State Tiger
  180. Why does Govt wear two faces?
  181. Parliament a place for pragmatists
  182. Of Sugar Wells and Think-Tanks
  183. Bert Kelly: "I must take some of the blame"
  184. Bert Kelly on dumping duties
  185. The Govt's helping hand often hurts
  186. Unbuckling the hobbles on the motor industry
  187. A Modest Farmer looks at the Problems of Structural Change
  188. Government Fails Spectacularly
  189. Know your proper place if you want the quiet life
  190. Bert Kelly on political speech writers
  191. Having your cake and eating it
  192. Perish the thawed!
  193. Hooray for Northern Development!
  194. The silly image of our MPs
  195. Bert Kelly Question Time highlights
  196. Modest Farmer sees his ideas take hold
  197. Should facts stand in the way of a good story?
  198. Fondling one another's glass haloes
  199. What is the sense in making the effort to look after yourself?
  200. Fred's Feeling: Counterpatriotic country contrarian
  201. Handouts for big boys only
  202. Mavis trying to buy a hand loom
  203. Bad news for bearers of bad news
  204. Is it time to get aboard the tariff band-waggon?
  205. Why farmers resent tariff protection for motor makers
  206. A sordid use of scare tactics
  207. Goods vs services
  208. Tariffs are hilariously counterproductive
  209. Bert Kelly on decentralisation
  210. Inflation breeds moral decay
  211. Who envies equality?
  212. Growth – malignant or benign?
  213. Government wiser than Magna Carta
  214. Bert Kelly on looking to politicians for moral leadership
  215. Max Newton: Maverick in Exile
  216. Whitlam & co on the Dismissal
  217. 25% Tariff Cut
  218. Bert Kelly on pensions
  219. Mr Clunies-Ross of the Cocos Islands should rule Australia
  220. They get the wind up when it changes
  221. Why the Big Green Lie survives
  222. Ross McLean in 1982: "Malcolm! Why don't we try good government? It might be popular."
  223. Bert Kelly on the importance of exchange rate movements
  224. Bert Kelly shows how to attack
  225. Bert Kelly vs Bert Kelly vs Bert Kelly
  226. Industrial relations dinosaur, Bruce, chews his cud
  227. Hooray for "firmly entrenched"!
  228. Respect your dinosaurs
  229. What if something is "deeply ingrained" yet harmful?
  230. A case for ministerial inertia
  231. Why politicians don't like the truth
  232. Our great open spaces
  233. Ominous dark clouds are gathering
  234. Better to be popular than right
  235. Crying in the wilderness
  236. Ivory tower needs thumping
  237. Bert Kelly asks, "How can you believe in free enterprise and government intervention at the same time?"
  238. Politicians get undeserved praise, why not undeserved blame too?
  239. Feet in a bucket of champagne
  240. Rural Problems
  241. Health cover needs a $30 excess clause
  242. Unholy state of taxation
  243. Boring economics worth a smile
  244. The Libido for the Miserable
  245. Agricultural Development and Tariffs
  246. Fred's too poor to have principles
  247. Eccles Law of the constant wage share
  248. "He whom the gods would destroy ..."
  249. Tariffs: when to wean infant BHP?
  250. Keep any government as far as possible from farming
  251. The Playford charade is out of date
  252. Bert Kelly: the odd man out who's now in
  253. Dries must resist giving up struggle as going gets tough
  254. How a well meaning Government can be so stupid
  255. The icing on the economic cake
  256. Sir Roderick Carnegie's foreword to Bert Kelly's Economics Made Easy
  257. The Vale of Popularity and the Protection Procession
  258. Politics 101: Pay Lip Service to Capitalism and Shoot the Messenger
  259. Bert Kelly makes politicians eat their own words on tariffs, then says, "We cannot be blamed for treating the statements of our statesmen with cynical contempt"
  260. Bert Kelly on Free Enterprise
  261. Cartoons of protected industry, the welfare teat and the nanny state
  262. Bert Kelly on the theory of constant shares and the Fabian Society
  263. Bert Kelly vs Doug Anthony
  264. You're lucky if you escape being helped by government
  265. Bert Kelly on Small Farmers
  266. Bert Kelly on Apathy
  267. Bert Kelly in 1967 on "problems of government and things like that"
  268. The last "Dave's Diary"
  269. Bert Kelly vs The Australian on tariffs in 1977
  270. Bounties or Tariffs, Someone Pays
  271. Geriatric companies without a minder
  272. A free marketeer wary of free trade
  273. Nixon's puzzling profession of faith
  274. "Ford ... seems to spend more time bending its knees than its back"
  275. Clyde Cameron's weak ways with wise words
  276. Why flaunt what others flout?
  277. Bert Kelly yearns for Tim Flannery's powers of prediction
  278. Looking after yourself is silly
  279. Bert Kelly masterpiece on drought, fire, flood and other natural disaster relief schemes
  280. Government can take credit for our car industry mess
  281. Car makers want the 4wd driven deeper into tariff bog
  282. Why our MP is no longer prone to a good sob story
  283. Auto industry is in a straitjacket
  284. Bert Kelly on market predictions
  285. Why should dryland farmers subsidise irrigation farmers?
  286. How much should government decrease incentive for independence from government?
  287. Clarkson crowned Deputy Government Whip
  288. Bert Kelly to blame for soaring government healthcare costs
  289. 1959 return of Dave's Diary
  290. Bert Kelly in 1966 on developing northern Australia
  291. Successful government intervention can [sic] occur
  292. Vernon Report upholds Clarkson
  293. Quiet Man Makes An Impact
  294. Should it be compulsory to buy footwear and clothing?
  295. To save Australian clothing industry women must all wear same uniform
  296. Don't confuse plucking heart strings with plucking harp strings
  297. Speech only for public
  298. Catchy Tariff Circus Extravaganza
  299. Bert Kelly in 1985 on cars yet again
  300. Hurrah for the Gang of Five
  301. Thoughts on a verse about Balfour
  302. Bert Kelly pep talk to politicians
  303. Government intervention = Agony postponed but death brought nearer
  304. Recipe for disaster: Freeze!
  305. Recipe for government intervention: Gather winners and scatter losers
  306. Recipe for industry destruction: Blanket market signals
  307. Mavis writes!
  308. Bert Kelly's empiricism is not kneejerk reaction kind
  309. The $2,000 song of the shirt worker
  310. Subsiding only small farmers means subsiding the big banks
  311. Difficult to be fast on your feet when you've got your ear to the ground
  312. It would surprise people to see how sensible MPs behave if they think they are not being watched
  313. Bert Kelly on "this land of limitless resources" and "great open spaces"
  314. Growing bananas at the South Pole
  315. Car components tariff protection under fire
  316. Why carry a $300m car subsidy?
  317. Tariff feather beds for the foreign giants
  318. Bert Kelly says end compulsory voting to stop donkey vote
  319. Perhaps being smart and insured isn't all luck
  320. You gets your tariff, you pays a price
  321. More funds to train Olympians?
  322. Fire in their guts and wind in ours
  323. Should free universal healthcare include pets?
  324. Sound advice from a modest farmer
  325. A tottering monument to intervention
  326. Cunning meets wisdom
  327. Competition, Aussie-style: Who's the bigger parasite?
  328. Australians are proud patriotic parasites, says Bert Kelly
  329. Taxpayer-funded sport is cheating
  330. Being loved by all is not always a good thing
  331. Welfare State Destroys Society
  332. 1980 Bert Kelly feather bed series
  333. The White Mice Marketing Board
  334. Government intervention and advice can be harmful, even when right, even for those it tries to help
  335. One small step on the compulsory voting landmine
  336. The free & compulsory education sacred cows have no clothes
  337. Holding a loaded wallet to an economist's head
  338. Political No Man's Land
  339. Only blind greed demands both equality and prosperity
  340. A cow that sucks itself — that's us!
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