Mark Tier, “The W.P. is a Political Party,” freeEnterprise, March, 1976, pp. 7-8, p. 3. Thanks to John Zube’s Libertarian Microfiche Publishing.

The main problem with the W.P. is that it is a political party. As time goes by it will become even more like a political party which will be even more frustrating for some than it is now.

A number of people now involved in the W.P. were at one stage, and very briefly, members of the Liberal Party. They joined the Liberal Party for the purpose of exploring the possibilities of making some impact on that party from within. Very quickly they realised that it was a hopeless proposition. The Liberal Party machine has a firm grip on the party and even capturing a branch or two would have been a waste of time.

The party machine is a fact of political life. Political parties are like any voluntary organisation. Most of the people allow a few of the people to do all of the work; and the people who do the work are the ones who exercise the power. In fact, a political party suffers from all the problems of government, and when it is a libertarian political party the problems are even greater. The members tend to be more individualistic, more inclined to argument, and less inclined to do other people’s bidding. But a political party must have a reasonably united front; this means that it can only have one education policy, it can only have one foreign policy, it can only have one policy on marihuana. The result is of course that not everyone will agree with all the policies. Not everyone will agree with the party’s tactics or strategies.

Just as with government, so with political parties. There can be only one policy, there can only be one strategy, and there can only be one set of tactics. Certainly there is room for discretion, decentralisation. But within certain crucial areas there must be uniformity. If you do not like the brand of soap or car you are buying, you can buy another one; you can switch; you can even make your own. But it is not easy to start a new political party. To see what I mean and why, consider the Liberal Movement. The L.M. is really only a splinter group of the S.A. Liberal Party and I predict that that is all it will ever be. Although it is organised federally, it will never get off the ground outside of S.A. (and to a lesser extent, the A.C.T.). The reason: it is in the same market position as the Australia Party. The Australia Party is dying and will disappear from politics in two or three elections if not sooner. Australia Party voters are unlikely to turn in large numbers to the Liberal Movement for the simple reason that they have seen it all before. It did not work before. Why should it work again? The Australia Party had in effect monopolised a particular position in the political market, a position which, as it turned out, could not be expanded beyond a very narrow base. Another such example of the D.L.P. which has monopolised the far right in Australian politics and is now disappearing — except in its home state in Victoria. Any party which attempts to replace the D.L.P. with the same type of image or attitudes will similarly die. In fact, it will not even get off the ground.

So, what would happen if the W.P. failed? Let’s ask another question first. What must the W.P. do to succeed? A minor party must do one or both of two things to become an established or influential part of the Australian political scene. One is that it must be continually growing in terms of votes; the second is that it must have a continual influence on political events. If the W.P. can keep growing until it gains 5-10% of the vote and holds that as a constant share, then it will be able to have a continuing influence on government policies for the simple reason that the W.P. has a multitude of issues which it can raise. The D.L.P. was a one issue party. When that issue faded from public urgency, the D.L.P. disappeared as a political force. Of course, what would be disappointing for the W.P., if it never got beyond a certain share, would be seeing other people putting its policies into practice.

So, if the W.P. does not succeed, and by success at this stage I mean have a higher vote in the next election than it did last time (which, despite our optimism, was a very good result), then the W.P. will fade away. There will be no point in starting another political party for some years after the W.P. dies because the people will simply shrug and say well, it didn’t work before, why should it succeed again? The W.P. must succeed now. There were only two parties that increased their vote in the last election — the W.P. and the Liberal Party.

Quite clearly, from the level of support the W.P. has gained so far in terms of votes, members, and money, it has struck a vein somewhere in the Australian public and that vein is not yet played out by any means. One’s impression at the polling booths was that many more people would have voted W.P. than did, if they had not felt it was so important to vote Liberal or Labor.

What then might stop the W.P. from achieving its maximum potential and the minimum necessary for survival and impact? As I see it there are three major problems to be overcome. These are in order of importance (from least to most):

  1. Organisation. The party has operated on a shoestring since its beginning. Now, with membership due for renewal it should be possible to estimate an annual income and then hire a professional organisor/administrator who will make sure that everything gets done. None of the people who started the party off were, or are, administrators. Some of this problem will be overcome in N.S.W. with the new State assembly, and will be accompanied by a devolution of power and responsibility.
  2. The party lacks the necessary formulation of objectives to achieve its goals. It lacks strategy, it lacks tactics — of course, it lacks knowledge too, as nearly all of us are political amateurs (and let’s hope we stay that way even if we get elected). That does not mean we have to be political ignoramuses. What this all comes down to really is marketing, marketing strategy, and it is strange that, in this regard, John Singleton, who is without doubt one of the world’s top advertising and marketing men has not sat down and treated the W.P. like a product and tried to figure out such a plan. The trouble is that John really believes in the W.P. I am not quite sure what he thought of the party’s prospects when we started it off, but he has lost his initial detachment (he had originally planned to stay in the background) and become really involved; and I think, although he would probably never admit it, quite idealistic about the party’s goals. This problem will fade as the party becomes more broadly based, and, as has already happened in Sydney, more and more people become involved in the decision-making. In fact, the W.P. is only now really at the stage where it can actually look forward to a long future. Twelve months ago its future looked extremely uncertain.
  3. The third problem, however, is the most significant and its resolution is crucial to the party’s long-term existence. This is the question of direction. When the party began it attracted the bulk of its early support from that could loosely be called “the right”. Individual rights have always been associated with the conservative right-wing of the political spectrum. There is, in fact, a long history of the association of economic liberties with civil repression, property rights, low taxes, and so on, go hand in hand with censorship, pornography, victimless crimes and so on. Civil liberties have always been associated with the left of politics (and have gone with economic repression). Also the most prominent people within the W.P. — John Singleton, Maxwell Newton, Sinclair Hill et al. — were also associated with the right in the conventional political sense.

The party also attracted a lot of people who were more anti-communist than pro-freedom. In fact, a friend of mine overheard a conversation between a confessed member of the W.P. with the proprietor of a cafe. The proprietor, when he heard the name W.P., said, “Oh, that’s a communist party.” The member said, “Oh no, no. It is the exact opposite.” The proprietor said, “You mean: fascist?” and the member said, “Yes.” For a large section of the Australian populace, the W.P. is totalitarian and fascist. Also, it has a large number of people within the party who are not libertarian but more conservatively oriented. No doubt, as the D.L.P. declines, some ex-D.L.P. members will join the W.P., although the bulk of them will probably go to the Liberals. No doubt, as it becomes apparent that the Liberal Party is not a true free enterprise party, more Liberal will join the W.P. There is the very real danger that the W.P. will become a party of the extreme right, despite its platform, despite its constitution, despite everything else. If it does nothing to correct the image it has, which is widely-held, then it will in fact become what its image suggests that it is, because the libertarians will leave the party and leave it to the conservatives. Not only would the W.P. then fail as a libertarian party, it would also fail as a political party as it would be merely replacing the D.L.P.

However, the strengths of libertarianism is already apparent within the party. Many of the conservatives who joined the W.P. have become much more libertarian both in themselves and in their attitudes. Nevertheless, the W.P. will never become a really significant force in Australian politics unless it appeals to the traditional left as well as the right, to civil libertarians as well as to economic libertarians. Any opening to the left, however, would face the party with its first hard political choice. An opening to the left would mean it would lose some of its current membership, and some of its current electoral appeal to those of the conservative right. But, strange as it may seem, the opportunities in Australian politics are much more among civil libertarians currently on the left.

The Labor Party has suffered a series of massive blows. First, its election defeat, now the Iraqui loans affair, plus the continued divisions with the party. It was in the Labor Party rather than the Liberals that civil libertarians looked — homosexuals, anti-censorship people, civil rightists, anti-racists, and so on. These people, if their prime attitude is tolerance towards other human beings, are naturally libertarians. While in the current context of political opinion it is quite possibly a harder task to convince the civil libertarian that he should also be an economic libertarian than vice versa, it is in the long run a much more rewarding one in terms of political success. What it really boils down to is the question of image. Civil libertarians simply do not trust the W.P., they think we are fascists or simply out to make as much money as possible at everyone else’s expense.

The W.P. is a natural vehicle for people interested in freedom. Whether it be the freedom of homosexuals, pot smokers or businessmen to do their own thing. If the W.P. does not get its message to the left as well as to the right, if it does not differentiate itself from the Liberal Party as well as the Labor Party, if it does not push for the decriminalisation of marihuana equally as forcefully as for the reduction of taxation, if it is not prepared to give its preferences to parties other than the Liberal Party depending on the individuals standing; in other words, if it does not take a true and complete libertarian stance, then: it will not only fail as a political party; it will have failed to do what it was established to do.

(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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