Graham Williams, The Sydney Morning Herald, March 23, 1976, p. 8.

The Workers Party — the anarchists of the Right Wing — is now revamping its libertarian ideology in a desperate bid to become the only significant minority party.

With the DLP and the Australia Party in their death throes, the party is gearing up for the NSW elections which will decide if there is any room for its radical right-wing ideology.

Its policy of handing all Government activity, barring defence, courts and police, to private enterprise derives from Ayn Rand, the US hot-gospeller of ultra-capitalism whom Malcolm Fraser admires.

But it alienates traditional conservatives and charms the New Left with its policies of decriminalising drug use, prostitution, abortion and pornography.

All this is part of its policy of complete individual freedom. As party member Merilyn Geisakam puts it, “Love of freedom is an honourable love.”

Freedom is so precious that, like the Australian League of Rights the Workers Party is anti-flouridation, but, unlike most conservatives, anti-conscription, too.

The year-old party has only 1,700 members, yet it was able to lavish $200,000 on its baptism of fire at the December Federal election.

The result was poor. Its NSW Senate team, led by the polo-playing grazier Sinclair Hill, scored only 28,000 primary votes, against the Family Action Movement’s 44,500 and the DLP’s 44,400.

But the party has solid business backing and is now compiling comprehensive policy statements on transport, primary production, mining and welfare for the election campaign.

“We’re on the way up while the DLP and the other minority parties are on the way down,” says the party chairman, the aggressive advertising man John Singleton.

And the party secretary, Bob Howard, claims: “We’re the only party, except for the Communist Party, that has a truly ideological base. We have a good chance of becoming a significant party.”

But, given recent big swings to the Liberal-CP juggernaut and the sharp decline of minority parties in the Federal and Victorian polls, just how much room for a maverick extremist party such as this?

Professor Henry Mayer, Professor of Government at Sydney University, believes the party “should not be written off yet,” and that it could gain a reasonable base of support.

“They’re anarchists of the Right in their desire to return to a world of complete free enterprise. This could find support with disenchanted Liberals as the Fraser Government finds it cannot pull out of Big Government,” he says.

“At the same time their socio-cultural libertarianism is attractive to the New Left with its pro-drugs, pro-abortion, anti-censorship and anti-conscription attitudes.”

The party’s radical permissiveness on socio-cultural issues, which shocks the Maoist puritans as much as it does the traditional moralistic conservatives, has opened up tensions within the party.

The older conservatives want to water down these policies, while the younger libertarians reply that to do so would destroy the party’s entire base.

Mr Howard, 27, a mechanical engineer, estimates that only 5 per cent of members are “educated libertarians,” but three schools have been set up in Sydney to educate people in libertarianism.

“If the libertarians get outnumbered by the conservatives in the party, it could lose some of its consistency,” he warns in the journal, Free Enterprise, edited and published by Merilyn Giesekam.

The latest issue of the eight-page journal carries many cutting comments about party chiefs and strategy that highlight growing conflicts in the party.

In a profile of people in power in the party, it says of Mr Singleton, 33, the chairman of Doyle, Dayne and Bernbach, the advertising agency.

“He is without doubt the most powerful man in the party today, and as such, has almost dictatorial control if he wishes to exercise it.

“A great fan of Sir Robert Askin, the former Premier of NSW, John Singleton’s personal philosophy seems to be a mixture of ultraconservatism admixed with an increasing measure of libertarianism and ockerish hedonism.”

Bob Howard (who works full-time as secretary without pay, which is a sore point with him), is described as the party’s best speaker on ideology, but with his non-aggressive manner he is like “a round peg trying to fit into a square hole,” in the party.

Sinclair Hill agreed to stand on the party’s Senate team “after two days of hard sell by John Singleton” without much knowing much about the party’s platform or philosophy, it says.

“While he certainly stuck his neck out more than most during the election, he certainly put his foot in his mouth a few times … He doesn’t believe too much in the platform, eg, civil liberties such as drug use, but he may become radicalised.”

Marketing Strategy

Other key figures named are Duncan Yuille, former secretary of the GP’s Society and Mark Tier, an economist (“both committed libertarians”). Omitted, however, are the publisher Maxwell Newton, who is elsewhere criticised for making “unfortunate remarks,” and the wealthy Queensland grazier Charles Russell.

Tier, in an article, claims the party lacks strategy, tactics and knowledge, and places the blame for the bad marketing of the party partly at the door of John Singleton.

What is needed is “a marketing strategy,” he says and considers it “strange that John Singleton, without doubt one of the world’s top advertising and marketing men, has not sat down and treated the WP like a product and tried to figure out such a plan.”

“The trouble is that John really believes in the WP … He has lost his initial detachment (he originally planned to stay in the background) and became really involved, and I think … quite idealistic about the party’s goals.”

Indeed, Mr Singleton, the portly, sandy-haired and tanned millionaire whose ockerish ads swamp TV screens these days, transmits his idealism as he talks rapid-fire conviction in his office, a former terraced cottage near Taylor Place.

“We ultimately want to cut out all unnecessary government because it’s inefficient and its suppresses human freedom,” he says, in what could be a direct quote from Ayn Rand.

“The first thing we’d dismantle is Medibank and get back to private health care. That would chop $1,600 million off the deficit.”

But education would also go private, and private operators would be able to compete with the railways by leasing trains and railway lines, and with the Post Office. Ultimately even water supplies and electricity would go private.

He strongly defends the party’s permissive attitudes on drugs, abortion, censorship and other human “freedoms.”

“You can’t legislate to stop people taking drugs or having abortions or reading dirty comics. I’m as much in favour of the family as the Festival of Light, but you can’t legislate to make people believe in it.”

“Licence for 9 chooks”

He holds no joy for the farmers — all subsidies (and tariffs) would go in the interests of returning to a completely free market and healthy competition.

He says Government intervention has almost “fouled-up” primary industry. He cites the absurdly high, controlled cost of milk, bread and eggs (“it’s criminal that the inefficient are protected are protected and anyone who wants more than nine chooks has to get a licence”).

The party is now seriously considering a name change (its name backfired when many voters thought it connoted a fascist, totalitarian party), but party chiefs say the main problem is that its ideology has been misrepresented in the press.

“It’s so logical, so beautiful — we stand for complete individual freedom — that when people get the message they will support us,” says Mr Howard.

But will people get the massage? So far the party’s members comprise mainly self-made men — doctors, lawyers and other professionals.

Ayn Rand on capitalism

“We are radicals for capitalism, fighting for that philosophical base which capitalism did not have and without which it was doomed to perish,” writes Ayn Rand.

Miss Rand, high-priestess and dogmatist of the new total laissez-faire ideology which is the driving force of the Workers Party, is a highly successful US writer.

Famous for her books, Atlas Shrugged and The Virtue of Selfishness, she preaches that any form of collectivism or State control is anti-life because it enslaves man.

“The only function of Government in (a truly) capitalist society is the task of protecting man’s rights — of protecting him from physical force,” she says in her book Capitalism.

“Instead of being a protector of man’s rights, the Government is fast becoming its most dangerous violator … We are fast approaching the stage where the Government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens can act only by permission.”

“This is the stage of the darkest period of human history, the stage of rule by force.”

Again: “Capitalism is incompatible with the morality of altruism … Capitalism was destroyed by the morality of altruism.”

“Capitalism is based on individual rights — not on the sacrifice of the individual to the ‘public good’ of the collective …”

“The only choice is freedom or dictatorship, capitalism or statism (state control). The ‘liberals’ are trying to put statism over by stealth — statism of a semi-socialist, semi-fascist kind …”

“The social system based on the altruist morality — with the code of self-sacrifice — is socialism in all its variants: fascism, Nazism and communism.”

“All treat man as a sacrificial animal, to be immolated for the benefit of the group, the society, the State.”

There is no such thing as a man’s right to a job, a right to a fair wage, or “rights of consumers” just as farmers and businessmen have no rights to subsidies, tariffs or other protection, she says.

“In a capitalist society, all human relationships are voluntary. Men are free to co-operate or not, to deal with one another or not, as their judgments, convictions and interests dictate.”

(in order of appearance on Economics.org.au)
  1. Governments Consume Wealth — They Don't Create It
  2. Singo and Howard Propose Privatising Bondi Beach
  3. Singo and Howard Speak Out Against the Crackpot Realism of the CIS and IPA
  4. Singo and Howard on Compromise
  5. Singo and Howard on Monopolies
  6. Singo and Howard Support Sydney Harbour Bridge Restructure
  7. Singo and Howard on Striking at the Root, and the Failure of Howard, the CIS and the IPA
  8. Singo and Howard Explain Why Australia is Not a Capitalist Country
  9. Singo and Howard Call Democracy Tyrannical
  10. Singo and Howard on Drugs!
  11. Simpleton sells his poll philosophy
  12. Singo and Howard Decry Australia Day
  13. Singo and Howard Endorse the Workers Party
  14. Singo and Howard Oppose the Liberal Party
  15. Singo and Howard Admit that Liberals Advocate and Commit Crime
  16. Up the Workers! Bob Howard's 1979 Workers Party Reflection in Playboy
  17. John Whiting's Inaugural Workers Party Presidential Address
  18. John Singleton and Bob Howard 1975 Monday Conference TV Interview on the Workers Party
  19. Singo and Howard on Aborigines
  20. Singo and Howard on Conservatism
  21. Singo and Howard on the Labor Party
  22. Singo, Howard and Hancock Want to Secede
  23. John Singleton changes his name
  24. Lang Hancock's Foreword to Rip Van Australia
  25. New party will not tolerate bludgers: Radical party against welfare state
  26. Singo and Howard introduce Rip Van Australia
  27. Singo and Howard on Knee-Jerks
  28. Singo and Howard on Tax Hunts (Lobbying)
  29. Singo and Howard on Rights
  30. Singo and Howard on Crime
  31. Singo and Howard on Justice
  32. Singo and Howard on Unemployment
  33. John Singleton on 1972 cigarette legislation
  34. Singo and Howard: Gambling Should Neither Be Illegal Nor Taxed
  35. Holed up, hold-up and holdout
  36. The libertarian alternative vs the socialist status quo
  37. Workers Party Platform
  38. Singo and Howard Join Forces to Dismantle Welfare State
  39. Singo and Howard on Business
  40. Singo and Howard on Discrimination
  41. Singo and Howard on the Greens
  42. Singo and Howard on Xenophobia
  43. Singo and Howard on Murdoch, Packer and Monopolistic Media
  44. Singo and Howard Explain that Pure Capitalism Solves Pollution
  45. Singo and Howard Defend Miners Against Government
  46. Singo and Howard on Bureaucracy
  47. Singo and Howard on Corporate Capitalism
  48. The last words of Charles Russell
  49. Ted Noffs' Preface to Rip Van Australia
  50. Right-wing anarchists revamping libertarian ideology
  51. Giving a chukka to the Workers Party
  52. Govt "villain" in eyes of new party
  53. "A beautiful time to be starting a new party": Rand fans believe in every man for himself
  54. Introducing the new Workers' Party
  55. Paul Rackemann 1980 Progress Party Election Speech
  56. Lang Hancock 1978 George Negus Interview
  57. Voices of frustration
  58. Policies of Workers Party
  59. Party Promises to Abolish Tax
  60. AAA Tow Truck Co.
  61. Singo and Howard on Context
  62. Singo and Howard Blame Roosevelt for Pearl Harbour
  63. Singo and Howard on Apathy
  64. Workers Party is "not just a funny flash in the pan"
  65. Singo and Howard on Decency
  66. John Singleton in 1971 on the 2010 Federal Election
  67. Matthew, Mark, Luke & John Pty. Ltd. Advertising Agents
  68. Viv Forbes Wins 1986 Adam Smith Award
  69. The writing of the Workers Party platform and the differences between the 1975 Australian and American libertarian movements
  70. Who's Who in the Workers Party
  71. Bob Howard interviewed by Merilyn Giesekam on the Workers Party
  72. A Farewell to Armchair Critics
  73. Sukrit Sabhlok interviews Mark Tier
  74. David Russell Leads 1975 Workers Party Queensland Senate Team
  75. David Russell Workers Party Policy Speech on Brisbane TV
  76. Bludgers need not apply
  77. New party formed "to slash controls"
  78. The Workers Party
  79. Malcolm Turnbull says "the Workers party is a force to be reckoned with"
  80. The great consumer protection trick
  81. The "Workers" speak out
  82. How the whores pretend to be nuns
  83. The Workers Party is a Political Party
  84. Shit State Subsidised Socialist Schooling Should Cease Says Singo
  85. My Journey to Anarchy:
    From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
  86. Workers Party Reunion Intro
  87. Singo and Howard on Freedom from Government and Other Criminals
  88. Singo and Howard on Young People
  89. Singo and Howard Expose how Government Healthcare Controls Legislate Doctors into Slavery
  90. Singo and Howard Engage with Homosexuality
  91. Singo and Howard Demand Repeal of Libel and Slander Laws
  92. Singo and Howard on Consumer Protection
  93. Singo and Howard on Consistency
  94. Workers Party is born as foe of government
  95. Political branch formed
  96. Government seen by new party as evil
  97. Singo and Howard on Non-Interference
  98. Singo and Howard on Women's Lib
  99. Singo and Howard on Licences
  100. Singo and Howard on Gun Control
  101. Singo and Howard on Human Nature
  102. Singo and Howard on Voting
  103. Singo and Howard on
    Inherited Wealth
  104. Singo and Howard on Education
  105. Singo and Howard on Qualifications
  106. Ron Manners on the Workers Party
  107. Singo and Howard Hate Politicians
  108. Undeserved handouts make Australia the lucky country
  109. A happy story about Aborigines
  110. John Singleton on Political Advertising
  111. Richard Hall, Mike Stanton and Judith James on the Workers Party
  112. Singo Incites Civil Disobedience
  113. How John Singleton Would Make Tony Abbott Prime Minister
  114. The Discipline of Necessity
  115. John Singleton on the first election the Workers Party contested
  116. Libertarians: Radicals on the right
  117. The Bulletin on Maxwell Newton as Workers Party national spokesman on economics and politics
  118. Singo and Howard: Australia Should Pull Out of the Olympics
  119. Singo and Howard Like Foreign Investment
  120. Mark Tier corrects Nation Review on the Workers Party
  121. The impossible dream
  122. Why can't I get away with it?
  123. The bold and boring Lib/Lab shuffle
  124. Time for progress
  125. The loonie right implodes
  126. Max Newton: Maverick in Exile
  127. John Singleton on refusing to do business with criminals and economic illiterates
  128. Censorship should be banned
  129. "Listen, mate, a socialist is a bum"
  130. John Singleton on Advertising
  131. John Singleton on why he did the Hawke re-election campaign
  132. Sinclair Hill calls for dropping a neutron bomb on Canberra
  133. Bob Howard in Reason 1974-77
  134. John Singleton defends ockerism
  135. Singo and Howard talk Civil Disobedience
  136. The Census Con
  137. Singo and Howard Oppose Australian Participation in the Vietnam War
  138. Did John Singleton oppose the mining industry and privatising healthcare in 1990?
  139. Bob Carr in 1981 on John Singleton's political bent
  140. John Singleton-Ita Buttrose interview (1977)
  141. John Singleton on elections: "a Massive One-Day Sale!"
  142. John Hyde's Progress Party praise
  143. King Leonard of Hutt River Declares Defensive Just War Against Australia the Aggressor
  144. Singo says Lang Hancock violated Australia's 11th commandment: Thou Shalt Not Succeed
  145. Singleton: the White Knight of Ockerdom
  146. John Singleton bites into Sinclair Hill's beef
  147. Save Parramatta Road
  148. 1979 news item on new TV show John Singleton With a Lot of Help From His Friends
  149. Smoking, Health and Freedom
  150. Singo and Howard on Unions
  151. Singo and Howard Smash the State
  152. Singo and Howard on the big issue of Daylight Saving
  153. Come back Bob - It was all in fun!
  154. A few "chukkas" in the Senate for polo ace?
  155. Country Rejuvenation - Towards a Better Future
  156. Singo and Howard on Profits, Super Profits and Natural Disasters
  157. John Singleton's 1977 pitch that he be on a committee of one to run the Sydney 1988 Olympics for profit
  158. Thoughts on Land Ownership
  159. 1975 Max Newton-Ash Long interview on the Workers Party
  160. The Electoral Act should allow voters to choose "none of the above"
  161. The great Labor Party platform: first or last, everybody wins a prize
  162. The politics of marketing - laugh now, pay later
  163. Singo and Howard call Australia fascist and worse
  164. The mouse will roar
  165. Viv Forbes and Jim Fryar vs Malcolm Fraser in 1979
  166. Quip, Quote, Rant and Rave: four of Viv Forbes' letters to the editor in The Australian in 1979
  167. Australia's First Official Political Party Poet Laureate: The Progress Party's Ken Hood in 1979
  168. Hancock's playing very hard to get
  169. Harry M. Miller and The Australian disgrace themselves
  170. Ocker ad genius takes punt on art
  171. John Singleton 1976 ocker Monday Conference Max Harris debate
  172. John Singleton mocks university students on civil liberties and freedom of choice in 1971
  173. Murray Rothbard championed on Australian television in 1974 (pre-Workers Party!) by Maureen Nathan
  174. John Singleton profile in 1977 Australian MEN Vogue
  175. I think that I shall never see a telegraph pole as lovely as a tree
  176. Ralph Nader vs John Singleton on Consumer Protection
  177. John Singleton's first two "Think" columns in Newspaper News, 1969
  178. Singo and Howard on Ballet
  179. Product innovation comes first
  180. Protect who from a 'mindless' wife?
  181. A party is born
  182. Tiny Workers' Party gives us a hint
  183. John Singleton on the ad industry, consumerism and innovation
  184. Workers Party Economic Policy Statement, December 1975
  185. Lang Hancock on the Workers Party, secession and States Rights
  186. John Singleton and Howard on Government Largesse
  187. Counterculture must exclude government handouts
  188. John Singleton's 1974 Federal Liberal Election Campaign Ads
  189. John Singleton believes in the Workers Party
  190. Write-up of John Singleton's 1978 speech to the Australian Liberal Students Association
  191. Singo in 1987: "Joh doesn't go far enough ... I want absolute deregulation of the economy"
  192. Maxwell Newton chapter of Clyde Packer's No Return Ticket (1984)
  193. Singo and Howard on Totalitarian Socialism and Voluntary Socialism
  194. Rip Van Australia on Ripoff Vandals Taxing Australia
  195. Singo and Howard beg for tolerance
  196. John Singleton's 1985 advertising comeback
  197. Singo and Howard Demand End to Public Transport
  198. John Singleton and Howard on Fred Nile, Festival of Light, FamilyVoice Australia and the Christian Lobby
  199. Capitalism: Survival of the Fittest
  200. Return Australia Post to Sender
  201. Singo and Howard on Public Utilities
  202. John Singleton and Howard say monarchy should be funded by monarchists alone
  203. John Singleton on cigarette advertising
  204. Singo in 1972 on newspapers' demise
  205. John Singleton farewells Bryce Courtenay
  206. John Singleton on Australian political advertising in 1972
  207. Gortlam rides again
  208. Announcement that Lang Hancock will be guest of honour at the Workers Party launch
  209. John Singleton on trading stamps, idiot housewives and government
  210. 1975 John Singleton-Sir Robert Askin Quadrant Interview
  211. Singo asks two prickly questions
  212. VIOLENCE, TV BAN, DRINK - SINGO SPEAKS HIS MIND
  213. Why John Singleton can't keep a straight face
  214. Why John Singleton Defends Smokers Rights
  215. Tony Dear on Paul Krutulis, the Workers Party and murder
  216. An Ode to Busybodies
  217. Progress Party and Workers Party lead The Australian
  218. How many tits in a tangle?
  219. Viv Forbes in 1978 on loss-making government, the Berlin Wall and misdirected blasts of hot-air
  220. John Singleton wants the Post Office sold and anti-discrimination legislation scrapped
  221. A speech from the Titanic
  222. A crime must have a victim
  223. John Singleton vs Australia Post
  224. Minimum wages the killer
  225. Has Fraser got his priorities all wrong?
  226. John Singleton says "the royal family should be flogged off to the U.S."
  227. John Singleton vs Don Chipp and the Australian Democrats
  228. John Singleton vs Don Lane
  229. John Singleton. Horseracing. Why?
  230. John Singleton's 1986 reflection on the Workers Party
  231. Bob Howard in 1978 on libertarianism in Australia
  232. John Singleton on the stupidity of anti-discrimination laws
  233. Thou shalt know the facts ... before thou shoot off thou mouth
  234. Charity: An Aesop Fable
  235. Bob Howard announces the Workers Party in freeEnterprise
  236. New improved moon
  237. Announcing people ... YES, people!
  238. Creativity in advertising must be pointed dead on target
  239. John Singleton on barriers to, and opportunities for, effective communication
  240. Wayne Garland on John Singleton on Advertising
  241. John Singleton schools ad course
  242. John Singleton: advertising awards
  243. Mr Singleton Goes to Canberra for Australian Playboy
  244. John Singleton on his TV career for Australian Playboy
  245. John Singleton sacked for telling the truth about Medicare
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