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by Lang Hancock, August, 1974
(with thanks to David Curtis)

Eroding Australia’s Possessions

Just as the clamour of the recent Federal election was reaching its crescendo, the Press carried a report that the Prime Minister has been discussing with a foreign country the possibility of handing over to it one of our islands.

The island is no less than Christmas Island, the source of our farmers’ superphosphate.

First, Mr Whitlam announced that the “super” bounty was to be abolished, and now he has decided to completely remove the supply point. Muddled thinking, to say the least, but how damaging to this State? How damaging to the housewife’s bread bill?

The price of this fertiliser is presently $7.75 a ton, but if we have to buy it from the alternative source — Morocco — we will be faced with an increase up to $67.

Red Chinese Exploration in WA

On May 28, 1973, a report appeared in one of our national mining journals regarding Dr Cairn’s visit to Red China. This indicated that the good doctor was giving some thought to inviting Chinese geologists to the Pilbara for prospecting expeditions.

By what divine right has either of these two members of our Government the authority to hand out Australian lands, or to permit them access to our minerals?

Such high handed acts by the Federal Government should not be tolerated by the people of WA. Who is going to protect them from such wild, irrational policies?

Their first step should be to support and join the Westralian Secessionists, who intend “fielding” contestants for the Senate in 1977. This movement has no loyalty to any political party and has its State as the first and only consideration.

Secession

What does this surgical sounding name mean? Does it conjure up a picture of gowned figures crouched over an operating table, deftly slicing, cutting, and sewing up some helpless wretch? If this is the picture you have, it is very wrong.

Secession means simply that we wish to withdraw our economic management from the Federation of Australian States (we would still be part of Australia) and it should be the earnest desire of every red-blooded West Australian to help in the attainment of this goal.

Voices From the Past

Were the following words spoken by Secessionists in 1933, or forty years later in 1974? “That the union of Western Australia with the other States in the Commonwealth of Australia has proved detrimental to the best interests of this State, and that the time has come for placing before the people, the question of withdrawing from such union.”

No, they were not. They formed a resolution passed by the Legislative Assembly of this State in 1906 — five short years after we had blundered into Federation. WA was the last State to join the Federation, and she did so only after a referendum was held to decide the issue. Actual Federation and the constitution were already formulated by the time our State took its downward step.

In the main, our politicians, businessmen and farmers of the day did not wish to make this drastic move — they were wary of entering a union with other states which were building up big empires of manufacturers and labour intensive industries.

The Golden Years

In 1890, our State was granted responsible Government, and the following 10 years were ones of astounding growth — the population grew by 380 per cent, revenue from postal and communication services shot up by 792 per cent, internal revenue went up by 671 per cent, while external trade expanded by 600 per cent and crop acreage was increased by the farmers efforts by 287 per cent.

These figures are truly amazing, and the doubters of Federation had a substantial yardstick to gauge the success or otherwise of this ill-assorted marriage.

We must not forget either, that two great engineering feats were conceived and born during those golden years — the magnificent water pipeline to the Goldfields (still acclaimed these 70 years later, as a great achievement) and the spacious deep water harbour at Fremantle, indeed a most fitting gateway to this golden land.

During those booming, bustling years of development and expansion there was neither income tax or land tax, and the Colony was financed by funds derived from mines, customs and excise revenue, postal and railway operations, probate and licences.

Why Federation?

Why did WA topple into this disastrous abyss of union with the other States? After all, New Zealand, when faced with the same invitation, coyly shied away from it.

While local leaders had no desire to enter into this union, there was a strong emotional link between the miners in the Goldfields and their home States beyond the vast desert sands.

When the referendum was taken, the vote from the miners was 26,330 in favour of Federation, to 1813 against. Thus, the State slid into the mire which for 73 years has clogged its progress and slowly engulfed it.

You may be surprised to read that such was the sentiment for this union among the miners, that when they realised that the WA Government was dragging its feet on a decision, they actually petitioned Queen Victoria for their area to enter Federation separately — almost a mini-secession.

Thus, then, in the words of Sir W Francis Lathlain, one time Lord Mayor of Perth: “We all boarded the good ship Commonwealth for a lifetime voyage with the full assurance that there would be only one class for all passengers.”

Hardships of Federation

It seems obvious that emotions, however fine and noble, were no comfort and most certainly no substitute for the hard commercial realities necessary to nurture this infant State through into manhood.

The Federal Government quickly commenced legislating in favour of the manufacturing empires closer to its heart and to its front doorstep. The industrial barons were being cossetted and pampered to the complete disadvantage of this young giant land and it hard pioneers away out towards the setting sun.

Thus, in our isolation we were left to struggle for life, uncared for, unwanted, unaccepted and undefended.

The sole glimmer of life left was that since 1901, our gallant and tenacious forefathers were sufficiently industrious and enterprising to ensure that the State was able to balance its exports over imports by a handsome 6 per cent.

It was a question of whether Federation was for the good of Australia as a whole, or just for the good of centralism and the bureaucracy it was spawning, along with its manufacturing cohorts.

What was painfully clear to all West Australians was that Federation was absolutely contrary to their expectations — to them it seemed like the kiss of death.

In 1918, Mr (later Sir) Hal Colebatch, said in the Legislative Assembly, “It is therefore my duty to place the position of finance in outline before Members, all of whom I believe are keenly anxious to assist the Government in what everyone recognises as circumstances of unexampled difficulty. Indeed, not frequently has any State in the British Empire been confronted with a more serious position.”

He went on to say that the people of the State “may be driven into either of two alternatives — separation or complete unification.”

In 1925, a Royal Commission was appointed to investigate the financial disabilities of WA under Federation, and Commissioner Entwistle included the following in his report: “In my opinion, Western Australia should never have entered the Federation, but having done so, there is, I feel, only one and complete remedy for her present difficulties, viz secession.

Here then, was an observation made from an unbiased study of hard financial facts and not from a frenzy of emotional fervour. The grim reality was — and still is — Federation for WA does not work.

Western Australia’s Trade

Let us now take a look at facts and figures through the years to confirm our State’s ability to exist as a viable economic unit. As we have already read, since 1901, the State has enjoyed a favourable trade balance of six per cent, and this is presently over 20 per cent.

On the other hand, the manufacturing empires of Victoria and NSW struggle along with trade deficits of over 30 per cent. Between the years 1922/33, our State’s trading position was as set out below:

EXPORTS

To Eastern States: £13m

To Overseas: £158m

Total: £171m

IMPORTS

From Eastern States: £85m

From Overseas: £84m

Total: £169m

Favourable balance: £2m

During the secession year of 1933, this balance improved to $3.2m. The latest figures available indicate the vast potential of our State:

EXPORTS

To Eastern States: $159m

To Overseas: $1158m

Total: $1317m

IMPORTS

From Eastern States: $786m

From Overseas: $228m

Total: $303m

Favourable balance: $303m

Of the $786m worth of purchases from our Eastern States, we would say that there is a tariff value of something in the region of $186m. In other words, for the pleasure of being customers of our own country’s products, we in WA are penalised financially.

As a seceded State, we would be able to trade in the world’s markets and obtain the benefits of competition. Mrs Sandgroper would reap these benefits in her shopping expedition — she would realise her budget would go further. Consumer durables would tumble in price; washers, cookers, fridges and motor vehicles would all cost about 30 per cent less.

These reductions in cost would contribute to a rise in living standards which would place us at the top of the world’s prosperous countries. WA, with only 8 per cent of the nation’s total population, currently produces 20 per cent of its total exports. We also provide 13 per cent of Australia’s pastoral and agricultural produce, 21 per cent of her sheep, 19 per cent of her wool and 9 per cent of her meat.

Our contribution in the mineral field is even more impressive — 77 per cent of the gold, 35 per cent of the bauxite, 85 per cent of the iron ore and 13 per cent of the crude oil.

All this from what has been called the “Cinderella State.” Surely, this State should be rechristened, crowned and retitled the Fairy Godmother State, or The Lady Bountiful?

Parliamentary Representation in Canberra

Turning our backs on the lush productive lands of WA to look into the structure of government in Canberra, and representation of the State, is to receive a nasty jolt. Despite our enormous contribution to the nation’s economy, despite our geographical location, despite our potential, despite our different problems, we are battling against fearful odds, in both Upper and Lower Houses. In the former, we have 10 Senators out of 60, while in the latter we have 10 members out of 125. What chance have we of ever scoring a try, or of even finding touch?

This gross imbalance is aggravated by the introduction of party politics, particularly in the Senate. The Senate was established as the States’ House to protect their rights. Alas, these days it has degenerated into the depths of a bear pit, where party politics are mauled and torn.

Our State, already handicapped in the Federal Government by disproportionate numbers, cannot afford to have its Senators subverted from their loyalty to the State and its people by their loyalty to a party.

Defence

Throughout the history of man, he has tended to group himself with others of his kind, and it is assumed that these groups are necessary for protection. This tendency may well have been one of the motives behind Federation in Australia. If it was, WA was most certainly excluded from any defence plan.

We do not possess one single unit of Army, Navy or Air Force which in any way contributes to our security or defence — with a coast line 4300 miles long.

Furthermore, during World War II, the “Brisbane Line” policy was to be adopted and our State would have been completely abandoned to the enemy, while the Australian defence was designed to protect the industrial empires in the Eastern States.

In the broader spectrum of defence, our armed forces have been reduced to such a parlous state that they are quite inadequate to defend the country at all.

This itself is a disastrous situation, but when members of our Federal Government indulge in arrogance and utter snide comments about our former allies and friends in the British Commonwealth (including Britain, South Africe, America and Taiwan), we will not only be defenceless, but even worse — friendless as well.

Of course, it may be that our present Government wishes to embrace their comrades so loved by Dr Cairns, our left-wing orientated Deputy Prime Minister.

It seems to me that our Federal politicians draw comfort from one of their colleague’s naive statement that Australia expects no enemy with the next 10 years.

What absolute and dangerous rot. No aggressor ever advertises his movements. Have our fearless leaders already forgotten the tragedy of Pearl Harbour and the shattering blitzkreig on Poland?

Furthermore, in our geographical position, we are dominated by countries whose Governments are presently on friendly terms with us — but in many are also Government who could be toppled overnight by power groups alien to our way of life and the wonderful freedom we enjoy.

In an independent WA, we should develop an umbrella of alliances with nations who acknowledge us as their major source of minerals, or who are members of the British Commonwealth. Under this protection, we would expect that a small, highly trained and mobile “switched on” defence force be established.

Such a force must embrace units to operate by land, sea and air, over great distances and for prolonged periods. It must be capable of inter arms co-operation and also have an internal security capability.

Early warning systems and long-range defence weapons would, we believe, be the task of our strong allies.

Housekeeping

The next question trembling on your lips no doubt is the mundane one of “how will we pay our way?”.

Well now, the State Government provides us with the daily necessities and adjuncts to life, including medical services, gas, electricity, water, roads, railways, schools, police, fire brigades, harbours and forests. These are all paid for out of State taxes, which last year amounted to $139m.

However, for the privilege of supporting the central Government and its brigades of ball-point warriors, we pour something like $557m into its hungry maw.

Even with this bonanza rolling in, the Feds bite the hand that feeds them (remember the Alwest disaster and the super bounty nonsense?).

This vast fortune is partly returned by way of pensions, housing and road grants, social welfare payments and sundry other expenses, altogether totalling $403m.

This transaction leaves us $154m the poorer and one supposes is WA’s contribution to:

  1. Defence (but not WA’s).
  2. Foreign Affairs (currently in the Red!).
  3. Education (centralise education and subvert the young).
  4. Posts and Telegraphs (far more efficient under private enterprise).
  5. Immigration (officials in this dept appear to have little knowledge of WA).
  6. Customs (not required in a seceded WA).
  7. Shipping and Navigation (another dead loss Government enterprise).
  8. The Bureaucracy (ball-point warriors who operate in the shade).

To sum up the economic advantage of a seceded WA, the following table should convince even the most ardent of doubters:

  1. Tariff savings — $186m (estimate only).
  2. Commonwealth taxes — $557m (factual).
  3. State taxes — $139m (factual).
  4. Taxes paid by companies operating in WA but with registered offices in the East — $not known.
  5. Surplus balances of Payments — $303m.

Total: $1185m.

The Senate

Now then, some people ask why the Secessionists attempted to obtain a Senate seat during the 1974 elections. As has been stated, the Senate was established to protect the rights of the States.

It was, and still is, essential for the freedom and security of WA that we have a West Australian, as opposed to party Senator installed in Canberra as soon as is possible to act as caretaker of our interests during parliamentary debates and other business.

In his small part, he would be instrumental in the Senate returning to its noble origins, where State rights are the first and only concern.

Our present Prime Minister is a strong advocate that State Governments be abolished and that regional councils replace them.

One of his faithful disciples in this doctrine is one of our own State Senators. The very person elected by the very people to look after their state rights is seeking to destroy them. What creed of loyalty does this gentleman have?

Erosion of Individuals Freedom

Last October, a suggestion was put forward in the central Government that all Federal police forces, ASIO, Customs and some sections of the DCA, all be brought under the control of the Attornery-General’s Department.

Such a situation would create a police state with the Attorney-General the most powerful and feared man in the land — more powerful even than the Prime Minister.

Recently, a dangerous document was evolved by the Attorney-General’s Department. It has the reassuring title “The Bill of Human Rights.”

A more subversive piece of paper has never before disgraced our Parliament. Why is it suddenly necessary to clearly define the limits of the boundless freedom with which we are so well endowed?

The four referendums presented during the 1974 election were all cunningly devised to undermine both our State and individual rights.

Ignore this proposed Bill of Rights, refuse to accept the document and have it thrown out, just as the four referendums were not accepted last May.

We in WA enjoy a freedom with parallel in the world. We must never lose it, for once it has gone, it has gone for ever.

Some of the present legislation being processed by the Government though socialistic in character, was in fact a legacy from the previous regime. Particularly referred to is the AIDC, often known as McEwen’s Bank.

The Minerals and Energy Authority Bill is another dictatorial piece of legislation which intrudes on the sacred rights of the individual. Happily, this has been violently opposed by two of our State Members of Parliament — Senator Peter Durack and the Member for Stirling, Mr Ian Viner.

Relationships with the Eastern States

The present day Secessionists, just as their honoured predecessors of the 1930s, “desire nothing but an honourable withdrawal from Federation. They earnestly desire that Secession be accomplished in the most friendly spirit, with the utmost goodwill and without leaving any trace of bitterness behind it. The withdrawal of WA does not involve the severance of a race. The people of WA were good Australians before Federation, they have been good Australians in Federation, and they will be good Australians having withdrawn from Federation. The people of WA will still be loyal subjects of the Queen, living in Amity with their neighbours, and vying with them in their loyalty to the Crown and their attachment to the Commonwealth.”

Let it be emphasised that we are not seeking secession from our Eastern neighbours, but secession from the power grasping tentacles of central government.

There will be no border posts, custom houses or police road blocks along our common frontier. We are proud to think that it will be one of the longest undefended frontiers in the world. There will, however, be big signs announcing: “Welcome to Western Australia.”

Our peoples will be free to come and go without recourse to passport or visa formalities, just as we do between New Zealand and Australia.

To conclude, we commend the following words to all West Australians who value freedom — the precious freedom enjoyed by us all in this huge, friendly, golden land or opportunity: “Take these men for your example, like them, remember that prosperity is only for the free; that freedom is the sure possession of those alone who are prepared to defend it.” Pericles, 430 BC.

Caradoc.

(in order of appearance on Economics.org.au)
  1. Ron Manners’ Heroic Misadventures
  2. Hancock's Australia
  3. Hancock on Government Help
  4. Wake Up Australia: Excerpts Part 1
  5. Wake Up Australia: Excerpts Part 2
  6. Lang Hancock's Five Point Plan to Cripple Australia
  7. Governments Consume Wealth — They Don't Create It
  8. Up the Workers! Bob Howard's 1979 Workers Party Reflection in Playboy
  9. Jump on the Joh bandwagon
  10. John Singleton and Bob Howard 1975 Monday Conference TV Interview on the Workers Party
  11. Governments — like a red rag to a Rogue Bull
  12. Lang Hancock's Pilbara-Queensland Railway Proposal
  13. Singo, Howard and Hancock Want to Secede
  14. Lang Hancock's Foreword to Rip Van Australia
  15. New party will not tolerate bludgers: Radical party against welfare state
  16. Small and Big Business Should Oppose Government, says Lang Hancock
  17. A Condensed Case for Secession
  18. Hancock gets tough over uranium mining
  19. Hancock's threat to secede and faith in Whitlam
  20. PM's sky-high promise to Lang
  21. Lang Hancock: "a catherine-wheel of novel suggestions"
  22. Govt "villain" in eyes of new party
  23. The spread of Canberra-ism
  24. Govt should sell the ABC, says Lang Hancock
  25. 1971 Monday Conference transcript featuring Lang Hancock
  26. Aborigines, Bjelke and the freedom of the press
  27. The code of Lang Hancock
  28. Why not starve the taxation monster?
  29. Lang Hancock 1978 George Negus Interview
  30. Party Promises to Abolish Tax
  31. Right-wing plot
  32. "The best way to help the poor is not to become one of them." - Lang Hancock
  33. WA's NCP commits suicide
  34. "You can't live off a sacred site"
  35. Hancock: King of the Pilbara
  36. Bludgers need not apply
  37. New party formed "to slash controls"
  38. Workers Party Reunion Intro
  39. Workers Party is born as foe of government
  40. Government seen by new party as evil
  41. Ron Manners on Lang Hancock
  42. Does Canberra leave us any alternative to secession?
  43. Bury Hancock Week
  44. Ron Manners on the Workers Party
  45. Lang Hancock on Australia Today
  46. Hancock and Wright
  47. Lang Hancock on Environmentalists
  48. Friends of free enterprise treated to financial tete-a-tete: Lang does the talking but Gina pulls the strings
  49. Lang Hancock, Stump Jumper
  50. Lang Hancock: giant of the western iron age
  51. The Treasury needs a hatchet man
  52. We Mine to Live
  53. Get the "econuts" off our backs
  54. 1971 Lang Hancock-Jonathan Aitken interview for Land of Fortune (short)
  55. Gina Rinehart, Secessionist
  56. 1982 NYT Lang Hancock profile
  57. Enter Rio Tinto
  58. Hamersley and Tom Price
  59. News in the West
  60. Positive review of Hancock speech
  61. Lang Hancock International Press Institute General Assembly speech, Canberra, 1978
  62. Australia's slide to socialism
  63. The Great Claim Robbery
  64. Why WA must go it alone
  65. Lang Hancock in 1976 on Public Picnics and Human Blights
  66. MILLIONAIRE PUTS MONEY BEHIND SECESSIONISTS
  67. Resource Management in Australia: Is it possible?
  68. The gospel of WA secession according to Lang Hancock
  69. Crystal Balls Need Polishing
  70. Minerals - politicians' playthings?
  71. John Singleton-Ita Buttrose interview (1977)
  72. Boston Tea Party 1986 style, hosted by Lang Hancock and Bob Ansett
  73. Singo says Lang Hancock violated Australia's 11th commandment: Thou Shalt Not Succeed
  74. Singleton: the White Knight of Ockerdom
  75. Tactics change by Hancock
  76. Lang Hancock complains to Margaret Thatcher about Malcolm Fraser
  77. 'Phony crisis' seen as 'child of politics'
  78. Lang Hancock on nuclear energy
  79. Lang Hancock beats the left at their own game on civil liberties
  80. Lang Hancock's Favourite Books
  81. 1977 Lang Hancock Canberoo poem
  82. Hancock's playing very hard to get
  83. Hancock proposes a free-trade zone
  84. An Open Letter to Sir Charles Court
  85. John Singleton 1976 ocker Monday Conference Max Harris debate
  86. Lang Hancock in 1984 solves Australian politics
  87. Lang Hancock on the Workers Party, secession and States Rights
  88. Lang Hancock asks what happened to Australia's rugged individualism?
  89. Precis of Ludwig Plan for North-West
  90. Announcement that Lang Hancock will be guest of honour at the Workers Party launch
  91. Lang Hancock's March 1983 attempt to enlist "former presidents of nations and heads of giant companies" to save Australia
  92. Lang Hancock asks us to think how easily environmentalists are manipulated for political purposes
  93. Invest in free enterprise
  94. Democracy is dead in Australia and Lang Hancock's education
  95. Lang Hancock Incites Civil Disobedience
  96. Hancock sounds call to battle Canberra
  97. Mining policy a threat
  98. Over Whitlam's head
  99. Lang Hancock suggests that newspapers don't give space to politicians unconditionally
  100. Lang Hancock on saving Australia from socialism
  101. Secede or sink
  102. Australia can learn from Thatcher
  103. John Singleton. Horseracing. Why?
  104. How Lang Hancock would fix the economy
  105. Lang Hancock: victim of retrospective legislation
  106. Lang Hancock supports Joh for PM
  107. Hancock seeks miners' tax haven in the north
  108. The Ord River Dam
  109. Why Lang Hancock invested in Australia's film industry
  110. Lang Hancock's 1983 letters to The Australian: Lang's precedent for Steve Jobs, renaming the Lucky Country to the Constipated Country, and more
  111. Australia's biggest newspaper insider on manipulating the media
  112. 1980 Lang Hancock-Australian Penthouse Interview
  113. Canberra: bastion of bureaucracy
  114. Pilbara can be the Ruhr for South-East Asia
  115. 1982 Lang Hancock-John Harper Nelson Interview
  116. Australian elections are one of the greatest con games in history
  117. Our leaders are powerless
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