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Bert KellyOne More Nail (Adelaide: Brolga Books, 1978), ch. 18, pp. 185-98.

I have been in Parliament for 19 years, so you would think that I would have little difficulty in giving many examples of my decisive interventions or the brilliantly witty things I have said. But being more of a plodder than a high stepper, I have to admit that my parliamentary performance was rather dull. It wasn’t that I lacked example. In my first parliament I sat alongside Roy Wheeler, the member for Mitchell. Arthur Calwell, the deputy Leader of the Opposition, was one day giving tongue about his dislike of the imperial honours system. “I don’t believe in these Georgian traditions, in these Victorian customs, in these Edwardian ways,” he complained. “Oh, leave Eddie out of this,” the bored voice of Roy Wheeler came drawling across the Chamber. He was, of course, referring to the notorious Member for North Sydney, Eddie Ward. That is the kind of remark that I think of two weeks later, when I almost kick out the end of the bath with excitement at my cleverness.

Fred Daly was witty in a boring kind of way, but I thought that Clyde Cameron could be more devastating than Daly, probably because Daly was at it all the time. Menzies stood out above everybody — no one else was in the same class. Jim Cope had a fine wit and a fine drawling voice to frame it. Whitlam was brilliantly clever but cruel, he just couldn’t keep his claws unsheathed. People will be surprised to hear that Paul Hasluck had a well honed, mordant sense of humour. I used to sit near him on the front bench and he often made up irreverent verses of poetry that were brilliantly funny. I wish I had kept some of these, they would have been a wonderful source of blackmail when Paul was Governor-General. Jim Killen has a great reputation for wit but he uses such long words that I have to spend too much time puzzling over his meaning. Malcolm Fraser is not notable for his sense of humour; if you see him smile you know that it is either wind or he has been working on a joke for a week. But a sense of humour is a great handicap to a leader. It is true that it would make him live longer but he generally would go further without it.

My most notable achievement was at a typically low level. When the Melbourne Cup was to be run in 1975, tempers were very frayed because we in the Opposition were holding up Supply and no one knew what the outcome was going to be. It is a tradition of Parliament that it is the Government’s responsibility to “keep the House” which means that if a member calls attention to the state of the House and there are not the required numbers to form a quorum when the bells are rung to summons Members to the Chamber, it is the responsibility of the Government Members to obey the bells so that the House is not counted out. Drawing attention to the state of the House is almost always done by a Member of the Opposition and again almost always when a Government Member is speaking.

When the 1975 Melbourne Cup was about to be run we in the Opposition planned to call a quorum at exactly the critical time when government members, who we knew would be watching the race on T.V. in their party room, would be obliged to go into the House and would not be able to rush back to their party room in time to see the finish of the Cup. And we had Andrew Peacock to advise us as to the exact time to call the quorum, Andrew being an expert on these matters as his horse Leilani had come in second the year before. So we knew that we would get advice on timing which was almost straight from the horses mouth. But unfortunately, as the critical moment loomed close, our Whip noticed that the Labour man who was speaking was slowing down, and that it seemed likely that it would be one of our side who was speaking when the critical moment arrived. So when the Labor man sat down and went into his party room to see the Cup run, I got to my feet and started to address an almost empty House which was, I admit, no novel experience. Then I heard an urgent whisper from behind me “Now!” so I told the Speaker that I was so impressed with what I was saying that I thought there should be more people to hear me so I drew his attention to the state of the House. So the quorum bells began ringing, and the Government members had to leave their T.V. set just when the race was getting interesting while our side wandered in after the race was over.

I suppose it all seems rather childish now but it seemed a good lark then, when everyone was sitting on the edge of their seats, as it were, with us only a week or so away from the Government’s dismissal by Sir John Kerr.

Most of my most effective interventions in Parliament have been made at Question Time. I have recounted the more important tariff questions but there were a few others that may bear telling. One was again about the Melbourne Cup which is an event I have not yet seen, nor indeed do I wish to see. But in 1976 the Cup was won by a New Zealand horse and as we filed into the House after the race (they had the good sense this time not to try to run the Cup and Parliament together) I thought up a question which I did not have time to give to the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs, John Howard, but I was not greatly concerned because Howard had previously demonstrated that he was fast on his feet. The question was: “Because of the consistently strong competition from New Zealand, will the Minister see what can be done to put a tariff on New Zealand horses in order to prevent them running through faster than our home-produced horses?” This brought the House down, and Howard floundered around so much that the Speaker, Billy Snedden, accused him of weighing in light!

The most effective question I ever asked was put to the Labor Treasurer, Jim Cairns, while we were in Opposition. There had been some criticism in our Party Room because the Leader and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition were getting all the questions, it being a convention that, if either of these stood, the Speaker would call them before any of us. And as the two leaders were hot on the scent of all kinds of scandals, they naturally had to hog question time more than some of us liked. I defended their right to do this, saying that we had elected them as leaders and we should let them get on with it, but I added that I was pregnant with the best question ever conceived and that I was jumping up and down trying to catch the Speaker’s eye in a way that was positively dangerous to a man in my condition. So when I did at last get the call, everyone listened intently.

My question to the Treasurer was: “Last week the Treasurer told us about his policy of using deficit financing to lower the present level of unemployment. How is this solution of burying the unemployment problem under a mountain of money actually working out? If printing money is a good solution for the unemployment problem, why not print more of the stuff and get rid of the unemployment problem altogether?” And Jim Cairns, with his kind heart brimming over with love and affection, just could not resist agreeing with me and replied that that was just what the government had in mind. Many keen political observers pinpoint the beginning of Cairns’ decline from that reply.

In September, 1964, the Government was contemplating imposing a levy on hens so as to discourage the production of more eggs than were necessary to supply the local market. The changeover from small flocks to the large intensive poultry houses had not yet taken place in South Australia as it had in the Eastern States. I asked the Minister for Primary Industries, Charlie Adermann, who was not noted for his sense of humour, this question: “Is the Minister aware that most of the eggs produced in South Australia are produced from flocks containing less than 50 birds? Will this mean that each flock will have to be counted by an inspector? Will the Minister tell me how this will be done in my case as most of my fowls live either in the header or in the trees?” I though[t] that Menzies would fall off the Prime Ministerial chair. The poultry levy scheme was delayed for about six months while they found an answer to that one.

In September, 1970, when John Gorton was Prime Minister, I got to hear that the executive officers (they used to be known as secretaries) of the high protection lobby groups that operate in Canberra had asked the Prime Minister to a lunch which I feared may have been intended to soften him up a bit. So I asked him this question on the previous day: “I understand that the lobbyists that work for secondary industry interests are wining and dining the Prime Minister tomorrow. Will the Prime Minister assure me that, as he tackles the oysters, he will not forget the parlous position of the rural sector of the economy whose development has been inhibited by carrying on their bent backs at least some of the interests at the feast? As he embarks on the roast duck, will he remember that the sound development of Australia depends on the ability of both primary and secondary industry to supply the exports that a developing economy demands and so depends on our having a cost structure low enough to enable us to compete with our overseas competitors? As the hot-house strawberries are ushered in, will he realize that a lot of other interests would love to give him a luscious meal and our only regret is that we cannot afford it?” This question and the P.M.’s cautious answer got a good run in the press the next morning and I understand were a dampening influence at the feast.

The same group had been kind enough to ask me to a similar lunch on another occasion. With a few exceptions, most of them behaved with impeccable good taste and tried not to make me feel too uncomfortable. But there was one who could not resist having a piece of me during the meal. But they spent more time arguing among themselves than with me.

A Member of Parliament always has to be careful that he is not duchessed on social occasions. It did not happen to me often, but on one occasion I was asked to inspect a large and important factory which was engaged in making some highly protected products and about which I had been critical in Parliament. I think that it was quite proper to ask me to make such a visit, and I went willingly, hoping that I could better understand the industry when next I spoke about it. After the factory inspection, they gave me a smashing lunch in the board room, with all the top brass present. That was nice of them too. But what wasn’t nice was the enthusiastic way they hoed into me both during and after the meal. I stood this for some time and then said that if I had a disagreement with my shearers I didn’t ask them into the drawing room to air it, and I thought their behaviour was in poor taste. And I added rather crudely that if they could tell me in which corner of the room they wanted their lunch left, I would do what I could to oblige. I guess that my reaction was unnecessarily sharp but I am not as refined as I should be. One of the directors was kind enough to offer to drive me home after the dust had settled, and when I said that I was sorry for getting so cross, he said he thought the behaviour of his group had been inexcusable. Shortly after this, I received by phone an invitation to visit the factory of another company in the same industry, again accompanied with an invitation to lunch. When I hesitated over the lunch invitation I was told that there was nothing to worry about and that they had heard about what happened on the other occasion and we could eat in their canteen. So I gladly went.

But a Member of Parliament has to be more careful than other people because there are usually many groups or persons hoping to catch him out. But in the last resort a Member does have some kind of protection because of the laws and privileges of Parliament. I never invoked these but went very close to doing so on one occasion. In November, 1964, a friend of mine in the firm of Horwood Bagshaw Ltd. tipped me off that an officer of the Customs department was conducting a search to find what shareholdings, if any, I had in that company. I had been conducting an examination of the effect of the customs tariff on self propelled headers. Why the Customs people should have connected this activity with any shareholding of mine in the company was, and still is, a mystery to me but I think that Customs officials are given a special course in how to be suspicious when they the Department and from then on they spend a lot of time practising. I considered the departmental action inexcusable so I wrote to tell the newly appointed Minister for Customs, Senator Ken Anderson. When I took the letter to the Prime Minister’s office in Parliament House, his secretary read it through quickly and then said in horrified tones: “Oh, no, they couldn’t have been as silly as that, and particularly to you, of all people. We will certainly have the matter investigated immediately.” An hour later I was asked whether I would go round to the Minister’s office where, besides the Minister, were the departmental heads, all looking very sad. They then admitted that they had indeed made such an enquiry and that it was the action of an enthusiastic and newly appointed officer and they were very sorry and could assure me that nothing like this will ever happen again. I considered this reply for a while and then gave them a lecture about the Privileges Committee of Parliament and how, only a few years ago, a journalist had been imprisoned for violating Parliamentary privilege. I wasn’t quite sure what I was talking about but it had a fine threatening ring about it. Then they all apologised again, particularly the officer who was most likely to end up in prison. I then said that I would retire and consult my advisers which sounded pretty impressive. So I stalked out and found Frank Davis, my general mentor. He agreed that I was write to be cross but thought there was no need to take the matter much further. “Just a few more turns of the thumb-screw, Bert, and then let the beggars go.” So I went back to the Minister’s office, gave them another lecture about the proper way to behave and then graciously announced that, provided I received a proper written apology, then I would let the matter drop, out of the goodness of my heart. When the letter of apology arrived, I sent it back as not being sufficiently subservient. Quickly another entirely satisfactory letter came along, so I let the matter rest, though I used to contrive to let each new incoming Minister for Customs know how magnanimous I had BEEN.

Apart from this incident, the Customs Department always treated me with great courtesy, probably more than I deserved. I remember, when I was Deputy Whip, and so was responsible for the smooth running of the House which I wasn’t doing very well, I had kept a group of Customs officials hanging around for what must have seemed to them an inordinate length of time. So they came to me and complained in mild and polite manner. I replied that as long as they were in the precincts of Parliament House waiting for their item of business to be dealt with, at least I knew that they were not back in their offices raising duties even higher. This was a mean remark which certainly the general consideration I had received from the Department did not deserve.

When Labor were in government I conducted a running campaign with the Prime Minister, trying to persuade him to cease the practice of telling the press what was decided in Cabinet before he told Parliament. Whitlam knew that this was wrong as he had often complained when our government behaved in this way. So, on May 15, 1973, I asked him this question: “Does the Prime Minister realise that his practice of making announcements of policy and personnel changes to press conferences rather than to Parliament denies members the opportunity of hearing of these changes at first hand and effectively prevents discussion of them? Does he recall his criticisms of other Prime Ministers at other times when they departed to any small extent from the cardinal principle that, when the Parliament is in session, Parliament must be told of these matters directly and not second-hand? Does not the Prime Minister recognise that a continuation of this practice must denigrate the position of Parliament in the democratic system? For these good reasons would he please cease this practice?” Whitlam replied “The Honourable Gentleman has quite rightly caught me out on this. I do not suppose that anyone who used to so consistently quote Sir Robert Menzies on the principle that matters of government policy should be announced in Parliament when the Parliament is sitting. There are many instances where I have said that in Sir Robert’s time and in the time of his three successors. I must admit that I have departed from it. I can only plead that, before the election, I undertook that I would have a press conference every Tuesday when I was in Canberra.” Whitlam then went on to explain the reasons why he felt he had to continue a practice he knew was wrong.

I followed the matter up in the budget session by attending one of these press conferences in my position as a newspaper correspondent. I asked Whitlam there why he had made it necessary for me to come to the press conference to obtain information which I ought to be given in Parliament? And on September 17 I asked another question in Parliament along the same lines, and again the answer was unsatisfactory and Whitlam knew it. But unfortunately he had started riding this television tiger and he just didn’t know how to get off it. And it pretty well ate him in the end.

I can imagine how heady must have been the wine of adulation that was Whitlam’s lot when he was newly elected as Prime Minister. Even before then, when we were running up to the 1972 election with Mr McMahon as our leader, Whitlam was doing poor Billy like a dinner, both in the House and on T.V. It was not surprising then that Whitlam seemed unable to resist the lure of the box. I am sure I wouldn’t either if I had been able to perform even half as well as he did. So he had these press conferences every week and it was wonderful when he was kicking with the wind, when everything was going his way. But when things started to go sour as they inevitably do, no matter how well the Government is performing, then the practice of having the conferences became an awful cross to carry. You can imagine the trouble that Moses would have had if he had had to face a press conference every night as he led the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses would perhaps look a bit bedraggled after a hard day on the hoof and that would not pass unnoticed. Then some bright young reporter would want to know how far they had come today, and how far they would go tomorrow, and was he sure there wasn’t a short cut somewhere? And then the quality and quantity of the manna would be criticised and so on. The task of leading a democratic country is made immeasurably more difficult now that T.V. rules us as it does. I am sure that Fraser is right not to make himself too readily accessible to the media. Menzies didn’t either and ran the country all the better as a result.

I do not think the House of Representatives operates nearly as well as it should. There are many reasons for this but the chief one is the large numbers of Ministers compared to back benchers. The Government really rules the roost, when it should be Parliament which is in control. The Senate seems to manage much better. And the Parliament sits for only 70 days in a year, which is only about half the time they do in Ottawa and Westminster. And certainly we do not use the House of Reps Committees as well as they do in the Senate. And the Reps would operate far better when discussing the Committee stages of a detailed and controversial Bill, if we debated it in a truly committee manner, with departmental officials present to give technical answers to technical queries. As in Parliamentary Committee work generally, members of Parliament behave in a surprisingly sensible way if they think no one is watching them.

Now that I am not in Parliament I am more aware than ever of the low regard with which Parliament is regarded by the populace. Perhaps this is the effect of the broadcasting of Parliament. Yet in Canada they are going to televise it as well. I am afraid if we did this pre-selection for a safe seat would depend on looks, not brains.

Members of Parliament are by nature egotists; you have to be that way to go around asking people to vote for you. So we are always inclined to see ourselves in the centre of the world stage, and with our electorate in particular hanging on every word we utter. I remember how, after a week in Parliament, we used to have great discussions in the aircraft as to whether we had won or lost the week’s argument. If we had done well it was always somewhat of a let down for me to meet a friend in the street the next day and to have him ask “Have you been sitting this week in Canberra?” when I thought he would have been taking it all in with breathless interest. But before I became a member I never knew if Parliament was meeting and since I am no longer a member, I have been startled to find how indifferent I have become to the broadcast proceedings of Parliament. The main reason for this is that there is such a lot of rather infantile abuse bandied about. It used to give me some satisfaction while I was watching or participating in these verbal squabbles but now, listening to them from the outside, I just find them boring.

You[] should not be too surprised at the rather queer behaviour of your member of Parliament. If we weren’t queer before we became members, we would be soon after. The very life we lead, shuttling across the face of the continent each weekend, going to meetings without end, being continually in the public eye or trying to be if we aren’t, and frequently with family strains building up, all these things make us worse. So you should always expect your member to be a bit odd. But that is no reason why he should behave as badly as he does. Perhaps it is just that the atmosphere of the House upsets him. It did me. But I am afraid that we are getting worse and some of the blame for this must be laid at Mr Fraser’s door. When he is broadcasting to the nation he behaves with exemplary decorum and good taste. If he is reading a set speech he is hard to fault except that he is inclined to be dull. But in Parliament, particularly at question time, he behaves quite differently. He seems to see Parliament as the setting for a gladiatorial contest which he is determined to win by fair means or foul, instead of a place where reasoned argument should take place. In parliament he does not behave as well as he should. Others don’t either, but the Prime Minister should set a standard in these matters, particularly one as well bred as Malcolm Fraser. There is a surprisingly larrikin streak in him sometimes, particularly in Parliament.

But my most lasting feeling about Parliament was boredom. I unfortunately found most of the happenings in the House unutterably dull, except, of course, when I was speaking.

I kept a diary most of the time I was a member of Parliament, but not while I was a minister. It is very easy to do with these portable dictaphones and particularly with a secretary to type it all out. I used to dictate it most days in Canberra and frequently when working in Adelaide. I seldom read it and when I do, I am appalled at the trivia I have recorded. I guess that, if I had to write it all out in longhand, I would not have been so verbose. But having things written down is often handy and sometimes revealing. Some of my most confident assertions have proved to be utterly wrong.

But dull and plebian though my diary certainly is, I gather that it has some virtue in some people’s eyes. A historian who I have known and respected for many years, challenged me that I had not done something she thought I have done. I protested that I had done it and I would find the entry in my diary to convince her. But when I returned to Adelaide and started to go through the diary, I became so sick of the job, that I decided to let the historian do the hard work. So I took the several volumes over to Canberra and let her loose on them, with stern injunctions that they were to be regarded as strictly confidential. But when she brought them back to me two weeks later she thanked me and and then added wistfully that she couldn’t wait for me to die! Evidently she felt that they would be of considerable help to researchers in 50 years time when they are writing the history of these times. I must admit that I get a certain sadistic pleasure out of the picture of some poor student winnowing his way though the great heap of cocky chaff to get a few grains of interest right at the bottom of the heap.

But the diaries of the younger, more brilliant members, particularly those who take more interest in political manoeuvring, would be of interest to themselves as well as to posterity. And even dull people like me can get some quiet satisfaction from the thought that we can get even with a few sods long after we are dead.

(in order of appearance on
  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. Too many car men in the feather bed
  15. The Kangaroo Population Bomb
  16. How Bert Kelly repays a free feed
  17. Reining in the human rights horse
  18. Modest column #898
  19. Chicken-hearted feathered friends strange bedfellows on a feather bed?
  20. Who needs literary licence?
  21. A touch of Fred's anarchy
  22. Helping the farmers help themselves
  23. Standing on the shoulders of the downtrodden
  24. Supply and Demand
  25. Bert Kelly responds to claims he is arrogant and uncredentialed
  26. Politics: it's a very confusing business
  27. The best featherbeds run on rails
  28. Bert Kelly on Disaster Relief
  29. Bert Kelly Wants to Secede
  30. Blinded by their tears
  31. Anti-freedom pro-tobacco industry lobby harmed Australia
  32. Under Labor, is working hard foolish?
  33. An Idiot's Guide to Interventionism
  34. Is free priceless healthcare worthless?
  35. Can government kiss it better?
  36. Bert Kelly Destroys the Side Benefits Argument for Government
  37. Bert Kelly gets his head around big-headed bird-brained politics
  38. First Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  39. Second Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  40. Third Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  41. Fourth Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  42. Fifth Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  43. Sixth Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  44. Bert Kelly on the 2011 Budget and Australia's Pathetic Journalists and Politicians
  45. Bert Kelly, Bastard or Simple Sod?
  46. Liberal Backbencher Hits Govt. Over Import Restrictions
  47. Bert Kelly feels a dam coming on at each election
  48. Bert Kelly Enters Parliament
  49. Why take in one another's washing?
  50. Bert Kelly breaks the law, disrespects government and enjoys it
  51. Gillard's galley-powered waterskiing
  52. State Premiers are always asking for more taxing powers
  53. Can price control really work?
  54. Should we put up with socialism?
  55. We're quick to get sick of socialism
  56. Time the protection racket ended
  57. Can't pull the wool over Farmer Fred
  58. People not Politics
  59. Bert Kelly admits he should have had less faith in politicians
  60. The inspirational incentivising Dear Leader Gough Whitlam
  61. Labor: a girl who couldn't say no
  62. Why leading businessmen carry black briefcases
  63. Ludwig von Mises on page 3 of AFR
  64. Bert Kelly's empowering feminism
  65. Another shot at motor car madness
  66. Mavis wants the Modest Member to dedicate his book to her
  67. What if the whole country is swindled?
  68. Moss Cass: "Flood plains are for floods"
  69. A worm's eye view
  70. Eccles returns to haunt us
  71. How to grip a politician's ear
  72. It's hard to digest this economic cake
  73. Time to Butcher "Aussie Beef"
  74. Cold water on government-instigated irrigation schemes
  75. Hooray for Ord River Dam!
  76. Tariffs paid by exporters
  77. The problem of principles v popularity
  78. If you support State Quotas, where will your logic take you?
  79. Against guidance by government
  80. A socialist in Liberal clothing
  81. Never ask the government to help
  82. Don't listen to economists!
  83. Bert Kelly's revolutionary strategy
  84. Welfare state incentivises bludging and being thrown out of work
  85. It all sounds like bloody politics to Fred
  86. Mavis wants me to get in for my chop
  87. Whitlam's July 1973 25% tariff cut
  88. Bert Kelly on Import Quotas
  89. Good directions when government backseat driving, like reversing down wrong side of road
  90. Barriers to imports are barriers to exports
  91. "I was right" — but he's off to hospital ...
  92. Kicking the multinationals is too easy
  93. Bert Kelly reviews The War Diaries of Weary Dunlop
  94. Bert Kelly reviews We Were There
  95. Tariffs get the fork-tongue treatment
  96. Bert Kelly reduces government to its absurdities
  97. Politician sacrifices his ... honesty
  98. It's all a matter of principle
  99. Bert Kelly Destroys the Infant Industry Argument
  100. Bert Kelly Untangles Tariff Torment
  101. Bert Kelly resorts to prayer
  102. Eccles keeps our nose hard down on the tariff grindstone
  103. "Don't you believe in protecting us against imports from cheap labour countries?"
  104. Even if lucky, we needn't be stupid
  105. Great "freedom of choice" mystery
  106. Small government's growth problem
  107. I like my kind acts to get a mention in the press
  108. A Modest Member rakes the embers
  109. Tariffs Introduced
  110. More About Tariffs
  111. Sacred cow kicker into print
  112. Bert Kelly's 1984 two-article quote-collection on Aboriginal policies
  113. Modest Member must not give up
  114. Traditional Wheat Farming is Our Birthright and Heritage and Must be Protected!
  115. Tariff-cut nonsense lives on
  116. Bert Kelly brilliantly defends "theoretical academics"
  117. The high cost of protection
  118. Generosity creates problems
  119. The Society of Modest Members
  120. Is this an illogical, soft, complicated, unfocussed and unsuccessful attempt to communicate the case for markets?
  121. Modesty ablaze
  122. Case for ministers staying home
  123. The unusual self-evident simplicity of the Modest Members Society
  124. Animal lib the new scourge of the bush
  125. The Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Krill
  126. modest members society
  127. Repeal economic laws, force people to buy new cars and enforce tariffs against overseas tennis players
  128. Thoughts on how to kill dinosaurs
  129. Let's try the chill winds
  130. Taking the Right's road
  131. Bert Kelly: "I did not try often or hard enough"
  132. Bert Kelly "lacked ... guts and wisdom"
  133. A look at life without tariffs
  134. The Gospel according to Bert
  135. Tiny note on Bert Kelly's column in The Bulletin in 1985
  136. Why costs can't be guaranteed
  137. Hitting out with a halo
  138. Paying farmers not to grow crops will save on subsidies, revenge tariffs, etc
  139. "The Modest Farmer joins us" | "How The Modest Farmer came to be"
  140. Bert Kelly Destroys the Freeloading Justifies Government Argument
  141. Industrial Relations Club shovellers
  142. From Shann to Stone
  143. Government Intervention
    Government Interference
  144. A sojourn in the real world
  145. The tariff wind swings
  146. Bigger Cake = Bigger Slices
  147. Bert Kelly on the Political Process
  148. A charabanc called protection
  149. Taken for a ride - to nowhere
  150. Down hill, in circles, all the way
  151. Economic facts and figures are statistics who should speak out
  152. Any cons arguing small business bad but big government good?
  153. Relationships with the Liberal Party
  154. Tariffs = High Prices + World War
  155. Bert Kelly's Family History
  156. Bert Kelly's Pre-Parliament Life
  157. What the MP could say to the Bishop
  158. Why Bert Kelly was not even more publicly outspoken
  160. How to stand aside when it's time to be counted
  161. How the Modest Member went back to being a Modest Farmer
  162. My pearls of wisdom were dull beyond belief
  163. Bert Kelly on Political Football
  164. Undigested morsels in Fraser spew
  165. Bert Kelly on LSD
  166. Bert Kelly reflects on the Australian car industry in 1992
  167. Bert Kelly wants reprinted Shann's Economic History of Australia
  168. If tariffs are opposed here then why not there?
  169. The emperor has no textiles, clothing and footwear sense
  170. Ross Gittins Wins Bert Kelly Award
  171. Interesting 1964 Bert Kelly speech: he says he is not a free trader and that he supports protection!
  172. This is the wall the Right built
  173. The Impertinent Society: Cheeky MPs take Mr Anthony at his word
  174. Tariff Protection in Australia (1970)
  175. Has Santa socked it to car makers?
  176. Is the Budget a cargo cult?
  177. Will we end up subsidising one another?
  178. Keeping the bucket of worms alive
  179. Can we get off the stomach-churning head-spinning tariff merry-go-round?
  180. Do we want our money to fly?
  181. Can a bear be sure of a feed?
  182. How to impress your MP -
    ambush him
  183. The time for being nice to our MPs has gone ...
  184. Don't feel sorry for him -
    hang on to his ear
  185. Trade wars can easily end up on a battlefield
  186. Tariffs Create Unemployment
  187. Bert Kelly recommends Ayn Rand
  188. Bert Kelly on Alf Rattigan's Industry Assistance: The Inside Story
  189. Bert Kelly's Satirical Prophecy: Minister for Meteorology (tick) and High Protectionist Policies to Result in War Yet Again (?)
  190. Bert Kelly in 1972 on Foreign Ownership of Australian Farmland and Warren Truss, Barnaby Joyce and Bill Heffernan in 2012
  191. Bert Kelly baits Welfare State Tiger
  192. Why does Govt wear two faces?
  193. Parliament a place for pragmatists
  194. Of Sugar Wells and Think-Tanks
  195. Bert Kelly: "I must take some of the blame"
  196. Bert Kelly on dumping duties
  197. The Govt's helping hand often hurts
  198. Unbuckling the hobbles on the motor industry
  199. A Modest Farmer looks at the Problems of Structural Change
  200. Government Fails Spectacularly
  201. Know your proper place if you want the quiet life
  202. Bert Kelly on political speech writers
  203. Having your cake and eating it
  204. Perish the thawed!
  205. Hooray for Northern Development!
  206. Politicians can resist everything except pressure
  207. The silly image of our MPs
  208. Bert Kelly Question Time highlights
  209. Modest Farmer sees his ideas take hold
  210. Should facts stand in the way of a good story?
  211. Fondling one another's glass haloes
  212. What is the sense in making the effort to look after yourself?
  213. Fred's Feeling: Counterpatriotic country contrarian
  214. Handouts for big boys only
  215. Mavis trying to buy a hand loom
  216. Bad news for bearers of bad news
  217. Is it time to get aboard the tariff band-waggon?
  218. Why farmers resent tariff protection for motor makers
  219. A sordid use of scare tactics
  220. Goods vs services
  221. Tariffs are hilariously counterproductive
  222. The dilemmas of Aboriginal Affairs
  223. Bert Kelly on decentralisation
  224. Inflation breeds moral decay
  225. Who envies equality?
  226. Growth – malignant or benign?
  227. Government wiser than Magna Carta
  228. Bert Kelly on looking to politicians for moral leadership
  229. Max Newton: Maverick in Exile
  230. Whitlam & co on the Dismissal
  231. 25% Tariff Cut
  232. Bert Kelly on pensions
  233. The plotting powers of Mavis nag martyr to snag compo
  234. The backseat drivers of the Pilbara
  235. Mr Clunies-Ross of the Cocos Islands should rule Australia
  236. They get the wind up when it changes
  237. Why the Big Green Lie survives
  238. Ross McLean in 1982: "Malcolm! Why don't we try good government? It might be popular."
  239. Bert Kelly on the importance of exchange rate movements
  240. Bert Kelly shows how to attack
  241. Bert Kelly vs Bert Kelly vs Bert Kelly
  242. Industrial relations dinosaur, Bruce, chews his cud
  243. Hooray for "firmly entrenched"!
  244. Respect your dinosaurs
  245. What if something is "deeply ingrained" yet harmful?
  246. A case for ministerial inertia
  247. Why politicians don't like the truth
  248. Punemployment: people are neither numbers nor puzzle pieces; the platitude attitude
  249. Our great open spaces ... an empty blessing
  250. Heart in right place but head missing
  251. Ominous dark clouds are gathering
  252. Proverb vs proverb
  253. Better to be popular than right
  254. Crying in the wilderness
  255. Ivory tower needs thumping
  256. Bert Kelly asks, "How can you believe in free enterprise and government intervention at the same time?"
  257. Politicians get undeserved praise, why not undeserved blame too?
  258. Feet in a bucket of champagne
  259. Rural Problems
  260. Health cover needs a $30 excess clause
  261. Unholy state of taxation
  262. Boring economics worth a smile
  263. The Libido for the Miserable
  264. Agricultural Development and Tariffs
  265. Fred's too poor to have principles
  266. Eccles Law of the constant wage share
  267. "He whom the gods would destroy ..."
  268. Low tariff torch burnt Eccles' fingers
  269. A cow of a car — with dual horns
  270. Tariffs: when to wean infant BHP?
  271. Keep any government as far as possible from farming
  272. The Playford charade is out of date
  273. Bert Kelly: the odd man out who's now in
  274. Dries must resist giving up struggle as going gets tough
  275. How a well meaning Government can be so stupid
  276. The icing on the economic cake
  277. Sir Roderick Carnegie's foreword to Bert Kelly's Economics Made Easy
  278. The Vale of Popularity and the Protection Procession
  279. Politics 101: Pay Lip Service to Capitalism and Shoot the Messenger
  280. 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"
  281. Bert Kelly on Free Enterprise
  282. Cartoons of protected industry, the welfare teat and the nanny state
  283. Bert Kelly on the theory of constant shares and the Fabian Society
  284. Bert Kelly vs Doug Anthony
  285. You're lucky if you escape being helped by government
  286. Bert Kelly on Small Farmers
  287. Bert Kelly on Apathy
  288. Bert Kelly in 1967 on "problems of government and things like that"
  289. The last "Dave's Diary"
  290. Bert Kelly vs The Australian on tariffs in 1977
  291. Bounties or Tariffs, Someone Pays
  292. Geriatric companies without a minder
  293. A free marketeer wary of free trade
  294. Nixon's puzzling profession of faith
  295. "Ford ... seems to spend more time bending its knees than its back"
  296. Clyde Cameron's weak ways with wise words
  297. Why flaunt what others flout?
  298. Bert Kelly yearns for Tim Flannery's powers of prediction
  299. Looking after yourself is silly
  300. Bert Kelly masterpiece on drought, fire, flood and other natural disaster relief schemes
  301. Government can take credit for our car industry mess
  302. Car makers want the 4wd driven deeper into tariff bog
  303. Why our MP is no longer prone to a good sob story
  304. Auto industry is in a straitjacket
  305. Bert Kelly on market predictions
  306. Why should dryland farmers subsidise irrigation farmers?
  307. How much should government decrease incentive for independence from government?
  308. Clarkson crowned Deputy Government Whip
  309. Bert Kelly to blame for soaring government healthcare costs
  310. 1959 return of Dave's Diary
  311. Bert Kelly in 1966 on developing northern Australia
  312. Successful government intervention can [sic] occur
  313. Vernon Report upholds Clarkson
  314. Quiet Man Makes An Impact
  315. Should it be compulsory to buy footwear and clothing?
  316. To save Australian clothing industry women must all wear same uniform
  317. Don't confuse plucking heart strings with plucking harp strings
  318. Speech only for public
  319. Catchy Tariff Circus Extravaganza
  320. Bert Kelly in 1985 on cars yet again
  321. Hurrah for the Gang of Five
  322. Thoughts on a verse about Balfour
  323. Bert Kelly pep talk to politicians
  324. Government intervention = Agony postponed but death brought nearer
  325. Recipe for disaster: Freeze!
  326. Recipe for government intervention: Gather winners and scatter losers
  327. Recipe for industry destruction: Blanket market signals
  328. Mavis writes!
  329. Bert Kelly's empiricism is not kneejerk reaction kind
  330. The $2,000 song of the shirt worker
  331. Subsiding only small farmers means subsiding the big banks
  332. Difficult to be fast on your feet when you've got your ear to the ground
  333. It would surprise people to see how sensible MPs behave if they think they are not being watched
  334. Bert Kelly on "this land of limitless resources" and "great open spaces"
  335. Growing bananas at the South Pole
  336. Car components tariff protection under fire
  337. Why carry a $300m car subsidy?
  338. Tariff feather beds for the foreign giants
  339. Bert Kelly says end compulsory voting to stop donkey vote
  340. Perhaps being smart and insured isn't all luck
  341. You gets your tariff, you pays a price
  342. More funds to train Olympians?
  343. Fire in their guts and wind in ours
  344. Should free universal healthcare include pets?
  345. Sound advice from a modest farmer
  346. A tottering monument to intervention
  347. Cunning meets wisdom
  348. Competition, Aussie-style: Who's the bigger parasite?
  349. Australians are proud patriotic parasites, says Bert Kelly
  350. Taxpayer-funded sport is cheating
  351. Being loved by all is not always a good thing
  352. Welfare State Destroys Society
  353. 1980 Bert Kelly feather bed series
  354. The White Mice Marketing Board
  355. Government intervention and advice can be harmful, even when right, even for those it tries to help
  356. One small step on the compulsory voting landmine
  357. The free & compulsory education sacred cows have no clothes
  358. Holding a loaded wallet to an economist's head
  359. Political No Man's Land
  360. Only blind greed demands both equality and prosperity
  361. A cow that sucks itself — that's us!
  362. Nip the bud of incentive; mock community spirit into submission
  363. Bert Kelly questions why miners pay royalties to the Crown
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