Workers Party Policy Speech given by Dr. John Whiting, No. 1 Senate Candidate for the Workers Party, at 8pm Monday 5th December, 1977, at the Building Centre, 1st Floor 47 South Terrace, Adelaide.
The Workers Party officially came into being on January 26th 1975. The founders of this fledgling Party took the step they did — not because they wanted to be politicians — but because they were alarmed at the road that Australia was taking under the Whitlam Government. It was rushing headlong towards full-blooded socialism. Mr. Whitlam and his Party had set in train a political and economic process that was destined, if allowed to continue, to take away most of our freedoms and destroy completely the economy of this Country.
Few people, today, seem to realise how close Australia came to experiencing the horrors of total economic collapse.
As far as the majority of Australians were concerned the only way of stopping and reversing the actions of these dangerous men and women was to throw them out of office at the first opportunity and replace them by other men and women who claimed to be diametrically opposed to the bankrupt socialist philosophy of the A.L.P.
However, what most people did not know is that the hierarchies of the Liberal Party and the National Country Party had gone to considerable lengths, over the years, to cultivate the myth that their respective Parties were violently opposed to socialism and were the great champions of free enterprise and individual liberty. This myth was so deeply ingrained into people’s minds that nine out of ten Liberal and National Country Party voters were convinced that their Parties were philosophically about as far away from socialism as one could possibly get.
Early in 1975, however, the founders of the Workers Party together with the first members and supporters of the Party saw through this myth. As a group they were the only people in Australia who possessed the clarity of thought and intellectual honesty to recognise that the Liberal and National Country Parties were not an opposition to socialism at all. In fact, rather than oppose socialism, they actually accepted most of the premises upon which socialist ideology was built.
These Parties accepted the altruist philosophy. They accepted the Welfare State ideology. They accepted the concept that governments should be our masters and not our servants. They accepted — in fact, they actively promoted — the idea of an all-powerful central bank — the Reserve Bank of Australia. They accepted inflation as an economic weapon. They accepted crippling progressive taxation. They accepted the iniquitous death duties and gift duties. They showed a profound disregard for the sanctity of private property. In fact, believe it or not, they actively supported in toto or in part six out of ten proposal put forward by Marx and Engels in their Communist Manifesto.
These were the men and women of the Liberal and National Country Parties who had the effrontery to set themselves up before the gullible public as the arch-opponents of socialism and the champions of free-enterprise and individual liberty.
Sooner or later, the Workers Party had to be born in order to represent all those people who knew that socialism had never worked and could never work. It had to be born to represent all those people who loved freedom and who were able to see through the sham, the dishonesty, the deceit of the Liberal and National Country Parties.
Now in 1977, there has come on to the political scene yet another Party to further confuse and deceive the people of Australia. I refer, of course, to the Australian Democrats. As a Party, this collection of disillusioned misfits defies description. At best it could be described as an ideological monstrosity sired by a philosophical bankrupt. It is a Party whose founder and leader rejects facts, rejects logic, rejects the whole thinking process and imagines that all political and economic problems can be solved by the simple expedient of rejecting reason and giving full rein to the emotions — to honesty — to compassion and to tolerance.
Perhaps he is unaware that many permanent residents of our mental institutions possess these qualities. However I very much doubt whether any of them would claim the magic powers that Mr. Chipp claims, of being able to cure all of Australia’s problems by turning on the emotional tap.
In my opinion, this Party is the dumping ground for all those dispirited people who are frightened to think lest their thoughts conflict with their emotions. It is a sorry reflection on our whole government-run educational system that so many decent people are unable to see through the irrationality of this Party’s leader. Not so long ago, he told us, in all earnestness, that the way to reduce the inflation rate was to increase it!
Is it any wonder, ladies and gentlemen, that you are cynical of politics and politicians? Is it any wonder that most of you in your more honest moments recognise your so-called leaders to be untrustworthy, dangerous and just plain stupid?
But what have you done about it? What are you going to do about it?
The A.L.P. has already proved itself to be a dangerous Party with a dangerous dogma and dangerous leaders. In just a few short years, it nearly destroyed Australia; and when the Country was brought to its knees, you pleaded with the Liberals and the National Country Party to come to your rescue and save you. They came all right, but did they rescue you? You know full well that they didn’t. They bombarded you with the same old fine words that they had been throwing at you for decades. They promised you the world but they gave you something different. They promised you free enterprise and prosperity but instead gave you a watered down version of socialism. They gave you economic stagnation. They are not reliable or honest Parties.
Whilst in opposition, you may recall, they attacked Medibank unmercifully, but when they came to power they changed their minds and retained it. A week before the last election, they promised you that they would get rid of the Prices Justification Tribunal but a week after the election, when they were in power, they changed their minds and decided to retain it.
Their leader now promises to repeal death duties and gift duties. If this man’s Party is returned to power, what will he be saying after the election? But who seems to care what politicians say? It may be sense or it may be nonsense — but mostly its nonsense. Very occasionally, however, a glimmer of rationality does shine through. Amongst all the rubbish that Mr. Whitlam is talking there is one small spark of sound sense — that it is his promise, for what it is worth, to get rid of payroll tax. And have a guess who is attacking this one sensible suggestion — Mr. Fraser. I would have thought that a so-called Liberal would have welcomed the scrapping of payroll tax, and beaten his socialist opponent to the punch by repealing it himself. Not so Mr. Fraser.
In the same way, there was one small spark of good sense in Mr. Fraser’s election policy speech — his proposal to repeal death duties and gift duties — and have a guess who is attacking him for that one sensible suggestion — Mr. Whitlam of course. What hope is there for sanity in Australia?
We now see these two men fighting it out with facts, reality and honesty thrown to the winds. I can well imagine these two men saying to themselves, “Tell the suckers anything; they’ll believe it!” Mr. Whitlam is trying to give the impression that inflation was higher under a Liberal Government than it was under a Labor Government; whereas Mr. Fraser is trying to fool us into believing that his Government has brought inflation down to 9% whereas in actual practice it is running at an unhealthy 13%. Who cares about truth?
Ladies and gentlemen — if you are more honest than your politicians, and I hope you are, you must face reality. If you stick with the big Parties, you must accept that your choice is between crooks or fools on the one hand and crooks or fools on the other. If you favour the Australian Democrats, you must accept that your options there are no better.
How, then, should you vote for the House of Representatives? Don’t ask me for guidance, for that House I will be refusing to vote altogether, as I refused to vote for the very same reasons in the recent State Election — because there was no candidate an intelligent person could vote for in my electorate.
Ladies and gentlemen, it does not have to be like this, but we will continue to suffer under inflation, crippling taxation, massive unemployment, union violence, bureaucratic domination and political deceit so long as you allow it to continue.
What do you really want? High taxation or low taxation? Inflation or no inflation? Depression or prosperity? Extensive unemployment or near full employment? A static or falling standard of living or a rising standard of living? Economic instability or economic stability? The inability to plan your future or the ability to plan your future? Many government controls or few government controls? Injustice or justice? Lack of freedom or freedom?
If you really want low taxation, no inflation, prosperity, near full employment, a rising standard of living, economic stability, the ability to plan your future, few government controls, justice and freedom, then you have no option but to demand that your government takes certain steps to bring this about. You do not have a choice of steps. You have but one clear-cut set of steps.
The recession (or is it a depression?) in Australia today is due in its entirety to mismanagement at the Federal and State levels — but mainly at the Federal level.
Over the years, successive Federal governments, Liberal and Labor, have interfered into the economy to such a degree that a sustained economy is now an impossibility unless future Federal governments are prepared to adopt radical political and economic changes.
Acceptance of the Welfare State ideology with its concomitant deficit spending and currency inflation, together with a whole host of government controls have spelt disaster for the economic health of the nation.
The only way that Australia can get out of the economic doldrums is for a Federal government — any Federal government — to:
- wind down the Welfare State;
- insist on balanced or surplus budgets at all times;
- slash taxes;
- curb union violence and the threat of violence; and
- repeal all minimum wage laws.
If you won’t accept these steps, then don’t blame me when the depression worsens — blame yourselves for wanting to have your cake and eat it too.
I feel certain that Verna Oakley and I would be the only political candidates in this State in this Election who are not out to pull the wool over your eyes — the only candidates who are not out to buy your votes. We give you the facts, but it is you who must make up your minds whether you will accept them. If you don’t, the responsibility is on your shoulders.
I see our role as one of informing people honestly as to what needs to be done if this Country is to pick up and forge ahead. If you don’t like what we say — if you refuse to accept the only solution offering, we will not veer from the truth in order to win you over to our side. How many politicians tell you that?
Some of you may be asking yourselves how minimum wage laws could be repealed without the left-wing element of the unions creating chaos on a nation-wide scale. With unions allowed to get away with murder as they do in today’s climate, your cynicism is justified. But let us look more critically at this topic of minimum wage laws, unemployment and union violence.
One of the major causes of massive unemployment in Australia is government interference in the labour market.
Today, the Arbitration Commission is sanctioning and enforcing wage levels that are above the free market level. In so doing, it is pricing many people, especially the young, out of a job. The Workers Party would disband these judicial bodies and leave employees and employers to bargain freely on wages and conditions. By repealing minimum wage laws, unemployment would drop dramatically.
Without inflation, crippling taxation and a whole host of unnecessary government controls, the economy would boom. As it did so, most wages would boom with it.
But what about the unions? This is not a difficult area once we get our thinking straight. The Workers Party is not opposed to unionism but it is opposed to compulsory unionism. It is opposed to union violence and to the threat of union violence. It is also opposed to breach of contract — and remember that most strikes constitute a breach of contract. When Mr. Whitlam states that people have a right to strike, he is saying, in effect, that people have a right to break their contracts. Some lawyer — some Q.C.! There is, however, nothing wrong with any number of people resigning en masse. Any free man must have the ability to opt out. If he doesn’t, he is not free.
The Workers Party at the Federal level would encourage the various State Police Forces to recognise the importance of protecting the rights of all people, including all employers and all employees. At the State level it would order them to do so. If this simple fundamental rule was observed and enforced, union violence would dry up within a month or two.
The protection of individual rights is the correct role of the Police. It is not the duty of the Police to keep the peace at the expense of honest citizens, as is so often claimed by senior police officials today. A picketer who physically prevents or threatens anyone wanting to work commits a serious offence against that person. The Police should recognise this fact and act on it. A Workers Party Government would see that they did. If they did not, they would be expelled from the Force as unworthy of their uniform.
Now what about taxation?
Taxation in all its many forms — income tax (progressive and provisional), company tax, payroll tax, land tax, sales tax, death duties, gift duties, excise duties, registration fees, licence fees, etc., has reached massive and crippling proportions. Most of this money, which is forcibly taken from us, is wasted by both Federal and State governments. Moreover, every dollar taken from people in the form of taxation is a dollar less that they have either to spend or to invest in areas of their personal choice. The result is that money flows into areas that the government chooses at the expense of areas that individuals choose. Consequently, the market becomes artificially distorted and leads to a decline in production, employment opportunities, etc.
To stimulate investment and employment, to restore business and consumer confidence, the Workers Party would abolish sales tax, eliminate provisional tax, undistributed profits tax on private companies, and the 30/20 rule which requires insurance companies to keep a portion of their assets in government securities. This policy would cause the prices of motor cars, television sets, refrigerators and so on to fall dramatically, stimulating sales and production in these fields, increasing the total market for these goods and increasing employment in the production and distribution of these goods. The elimination of provisional tax and undistributed profits tax would increase the funds available to small and medium businesses, thereby insuring that this crucial sector, employing over 50% of the workforce, was not destroyed. By eliminating the restrictions on the investments of insurance companies, enormous quantities of money would be released into the private sector, stimulating employment and setting the ground for future prosperity.
The Workers Party would also abolish Death Duties and Gift Duties which are completely iniquitous.
Ladies and gentlemen, with only a Senate team we obviously cannot form a Government. After December 10th, the Government of this Country will be either a Labor Government or a Liberal-National Country Party Coalition Government.
What Verna Oakley and I can do, however, if selected to the Senate, is to expose and go on exposing all the humbug, all the woolly thinking, all the nonsense, all the dishonesty, all the corruption, all the contempt that your politicians show for your rights and your freedoms.
We can be your voice — a sane voice in a political mad-house. As Senators we will get the ear of the Media. We will lay things on the line irrespective of whether people like what we say or not. We will not court popularity but will remain true to ourselves and to our principles.
At all time, we will vote on the side of whichever Party at the time is advocating less inflation, less taxation, fewer government controls and greater individual freedom. We will not make shoddy deals. We will speak out in plain language on every available occasion for the cause of free enterprise and individual liberty.
It is now up to people such as yourselves. You have the chance to make Australian history. You and people like you have the chance to be the first men and women in this Country to vote into office representatives of a great new movement that is emerging all over the world — a movement deeply committed to getting rid of inflation, crippling taxation, massive unemployment, union violence and bureaucratic humbug — a movement deeply committed to getting government off our backs — a movement deeply committed to making government realise that they are our servants and not our masters. You have the chance to see a new dawn come up on the political horizon. Don’t fluff that chance.
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