Bert Kelly, “The sporting camel in the tent of the taxpayer,” The Australian Financial Review, September 16, 1977, p. 3.
Mavis is feeling her political oats. She always gets on edge and starts to sniff the political wind as each Parliament approaches its second birthday.
From now on, as election day comes relentlessly closer, she will be out and around the electorate hoping to spot a popular cause which will bring in a few votes.
After one such expedition she returned proudly carrying a splendid book called A White Paper on the Financial Plight of Sport in Australia.
“Here is a fine flag to fly, dear,” she chortled. “The whole case has been predigested for you in this splendid document. You won’t have to do all that ‘research in depth’ which you’re always moaning about. So get on the sporting bandwagon while there’s still room and then you can really toot your trumpet.”
I read through the White Paper on sport and it is certainly a powerful document.
For instance, in this one simply splendid sentence it pleads for Federal Government to pay for sport: “Sport is a way of life for Australians; they must not be denied this way of life.”
It would be hard indeed not to be moved by such a poignant plea.
After I had read the White Paper and marked some of the purple paragraphs I took it to Fred to try it out.
It is unfortunate that he was in one of his nasty moods. His tractor had broken down and he had just received a bill for the spare parts.
But that was no excuse for him behaving as he did.
He didn’t actually hit me, but as I was quickly sitting inside my car with all the doors locked it wasn’t easy for him to get at me.
He then started shouting at me through the windscreen, but I calmed him down after he had prowled around the car for an hour or so and eventually he even sat in the car with me.
But he was still seething. He agreed that sport was indeed a way of life of Australians, but he didn’t see why the taxpayer should be asked to pay for it.
He thought that if Australians were fond of sport, they should be prepared to pay for their pleasures.
He reminded me how, if we wanted a cricket pitch or a tennis court in the bush, we would work for it or at it until we had it and certainly didn’t contemplate asked the taxpayers to dob in.
When Fred read what the White Paper said about the goodwill that sport is supposed to engender the steam started to come out of his nostrils again.
He reminded me of the wonderful rows that international sporting events caused. “What about the trail of destruction left behind when a British soccer team goes to Europe?” he asked angrily.
“Do you think that this is fostering international goodwill and understanding? And what about the rows over South Africa’s participation in sport? What is going to happen at the Commonwealth Games and what about the assassinations at the Olympic Games? And the fights in Perth when Victoria play WA at football?”
So what Fred will say now that the Government has agreed to contribute nearly $1.5 million to sport in the Budget I hate to think.
I know that all Governments are inclined to give their milk down if patted nicely because they think that’s how they become popular.
They do not seem to realise that it will be almost impossible to cut back this amount, but instead it will almost certainly grow.
These welfare State items are like the camel who begged the right to put its nose into its master’s tent to shelter from a sandstorm, but finished up lying down inside the tent with the owner outside in the storm.
If the Government thinks that giving money to sport will make it popular, it is kidding itself.
There will be more sporting bodies that don’t get money than those that do, or else they will all have to be satisfied with very small slices. In either case, we will lose more votes than we gain.
Going back to the refining influence of sport, I am reminded of how our sporting parson, in the middle of a football season, persuaded the local football team to attend a football service.
The team captain read the lesson which came from Mark, Chapter 4, in which is told the story of the Gadarene swine. Then the coach prayed, as coaches are wont to do.
Then the parson, determined to show that he understood our sporting ways, announced that he was taking his text from portion of the 13th verse of the 4th Chapter of Mark, which read in splendid stark simplicity, “Into the swine.”
- Bert Kelly on Journalism
- Move for a body of Modest Members
- Modest Members Association
- Bert Kelly's Maiden Parliamentary Speech
- Government Intervention
- 1976 Monday Conference transcript featuring Bert Kelly
- Petrol for Farmers
- Some Sacred Cows
- Experiences in Parliament
- Spending your Money
- Who needs literary licence?
- A touch of Fred's anarchy
- Supply and Demand
- Bert Kelly on Disaster Relief
- Bert Kelly Wants to Secede
- Under Labor, is working hard foolish?
- An Idiot's Guide to Interventionism
- Bert Kelly Destroys the Side Benefits Argument for Government
- Bert Kelly gets his head around big-headed bird-brained politics
- First Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
- Second Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
- Third Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
- Fourth Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
- Fifth Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
- Sixth Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
- Bert Kelly on the 2011 Budget and Australia's Pathetic Journalists and Politicians
- Bert Kelly, Bastard or Simple Sod?
- Liberal Backbencher Hits Govt. Over Import Restrictions
- Bert Kelly feels a dam coming on at each election
- Bert Kelly Enters Parliament
- Why take in one another's washing?
- Bert Kelly breaks the law, disrespects government and enjoys it
- Gillard's galley-powered waterskiing
- Can price control really work?
- Should we put up with socialism?
- We're quick to get sick of socialism
- Time the protection racket ended
- Can't pull the wool over Farmer Fred
- People not Politics
- Bert Kelly admits he should have had less faith in politicians
- Labor: a girl who couldn't say no
- Why leading businessmen carry black briefcases
- Ludwig von Mises on page 3 of AFR
- Mavis wants the Modest Member to dedicate his book to her
- Time to Butcher "Aussie Beef"
- Bert Kelly reviews The War Diaries of Weary Dunlop
- Bert Kelly reviews We Were There
- Tariffs get the fork-tongue treatment
- Bert Kelly reduces government to its absurdities
- Politician sacrifices his ... honesty
- It's all a matter of principle
- Bert Kelly Destroys the Infant Industry Argument
- Bert Kelly Untangles Tariff Torment
- Bert Kelly resorts to prayer
- Eccles keeps our nose hard down on the tariff grindstone
- "Don't you believe in protecting us against imports from cheap labour countries?"
- Even if lucky, we needn't be stupid
- Great "freedom of choice" mystery
- Small government's growth problem
- Tariffs Introduced
- More About Tariffs
- Sacred cow kicker into print
- Modest Member must not give up
- Traditional Wheat Farming is Our Birthright and Heritage and Must be Protected!
- Bert Kelly brilliantly defends "theoretical academics"
- The Society of Modest Members
- John Hyde's illogical, soft, complicated, unfocussed and unsuccessful attempt to communicate why he defends markets
- Modesty ablaze
- Case for ministers staying home
- The unusual self-evident simplicity of the Modest Members Society
- Animal lib the new scourge of the bush
- The Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Krill
- Repeal economic laws, force people to buy new cars and enforce tariffs against overseas tennis players
- Thoughts on how to kill dinosaurs
- Let's try the chill winds
- Taking the Right's road
- Bert Kelly: "I did not try often or hard enough"
- Bert Kelly "lacked ... guts and wisdom"
- A look at life without tariffs
- The Gospel according to Bert
- Tiny note on Bert Kelly's column in The Bulletin in 1985
- Why costs can't be guaranteed
- Hitting out with a halo
- Paying farmers not to grow crops will save on subsidies, revenge tariffs, etc
- "The Modest Farmer joins us" | "How The Modest Farmer came to be"
- Bert Kelly Destroys the Freeloading Justifies Government Argument
- Government Intervention
- Bigger Cake = Bigger Slices
- Bert Kelly on the Political Process
- Charabanc: Part 1
- Charabanc: Part 2
- Charabanc: Part 3
- Relationships with the Liberal Party
- Tariffs = High Prices + World War
- Bert Kelly's Family History
- Bert Kelly's Pre-Parliament Life
- Why Bert Kelly was not even more publicly outspoken
- WEATHER IS USUALLY UNUSUAL
- How to stand aside when it's time to be counted
- How the Modest Member went back to being a Modest Farmer
- My pearls of wisdom were dull beyond belief
- Bert Kelly on Political Football
- Ross Gittins Wins Bert Kelly Award
- Interesting 1964 Bert Kelly speech: he says he is not a free trader and that he supports protection!
- This is the wall the Right built
- Has Santa socked it to car makers?
- Is the Budget a cargo cult?
- Will we end up subsidising one another?
- Do we want our money to fly?
- Can a bear be sure of a feed?
- How to impress your MP -
- The time for being nice to our MPs has gone ...
- Don't feel sorry for him -
hang on to his ear
- Trade wars can easily end up on a battlefield
- Tariffs Create Unemployment
- Bert Kelly recommends Ayn Rand
- Bert Kelly's Satirical Prophecy: Minister for Meteorology (tick) and High Protectionist Policies to Result in War Yet Again (?)
- Bert Kelly in 1972 on Foreign Ownership of Australian Farmland and Warren Truss, Barnaby Joyce and Bill Heffernan in 2012
- Parliament a place for pragmatists
- Of Sugar Wells and Think-Tanks
- Bert Kelly: "I must take some of the blame"
- A Modest Farmer looks at the Problems of Structural Change
- Government Fails Spectacularly
- Know your proper place if you want the quiet life
- Bert Kelly on political speech writers
- Perish the thawed!
- Modest Farmer sees his ideas take hold
- Max Newton: Maverick in Exile
- Why no-one nails the Big Green Lie
- A case for ministerial inertia
- Why politicians don't like the truth
- Ominous dark clouds are gathering
- Better to be popular than right
- Crying in the wilderness
- Ivory tower needs thumping
- Bert Kelly asks, "How can you believe in free enterprise and government intervention at the same time?"
- Rural Problems
- Unholy state of taxation
- Boring economics worth a smile
- The Libido for the Miserable
- Agricultural Development and Tariffs
- Fred's too poor to have principles
- The Playford charade is out of date
- Bert Kelly: the odd man out who's now in
- Dries must resist giving up struggle as going gets tough
- Why Sports Fans Should Be Libertarians
- Why Not the Drug Olympics?
- Separating Sport and State
- Warning: health is a budget hazard
- Bert Kelly on Political Football
- Singo and Howard: Australia Should Pull Out of the Olympics
- We should ban Olympics
- Introduction to Olympic Economics
- John Singleton's 1977 pitch that he be on a committee of one to run the Sydney 1988 Olympics for profit