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by Lang Hancock, The Australian GP, March, 1974, pp. 9-12.
(with thanks to Gina Rinehart of ANDEV)

Australia’s destiny is not decided by the number of people who vote Labor of conservative at elections.

As in any other so-called democracy, it is decided by pressure groups, chief of which are the bureaucracy, the trade union movement, the manufacturing lobby and the press — or in the jargon of the day “the news media”.

If you don’t believe this, just consider the plight of an industry like the mining industry, which is too weak-kneed to develop its own pressure group, and is thereby allowing itself to be crucified:

  1. The 25% Reserve Bank’s retention of vital risk capital without interest.
  2. Repeated disastrous revaluations of the Australian currency.
  3. Non-renewal of exploration licences.
  4. The freeze on “farm ins”.
  5. The threat by the environmental minister to use export licences to curtail mining to the satisfaction of the eco-nuts.
  6. The removal of the tax provisions relating to investors in mineral exploration.
  7. The removal of the partial exemption from income tax for certain minerals, and in particular the removal of the exemption from income tax that previously applied to gold.
  8. The removal of the 20% investment allowance, so that mineral processing costs were increased and higher grades were necessary to make deposits viable.

The Labor Party, in its effort to defuse the public’s prudent fear of nationalisation, now preaches what it calls “democratic socialism”. On the other hand, the anti-Labor group has been practising and implementing socialism progressively during its 23 years in office.

Look at the record. The Menzies government conferred dictatorial powers on the Reserve Bank under the smoke-screen of preventing bank nationalisation; and the McMahon government added the foreign take-over regulations. The anti-Labor governments also imposed a life-and-death stranglehold on the mining and other export industries with the imposition of export licences, etc. And for those with short memories, it might be well to recall the disastrous iron export embargo imposed by Menzies, using the erroneous and now incredible excuse that Australia would be importing iron by 1965!

And now the present Labor government has for its chief instrument of nationalisation the Liberal-C.P. former A.I.D.C. (or the McEwen Bank, as it is called after its founder).

So the regrettable fact is inescapable — there is nothing much to choose between the federal Labor government or the Liberal-C.P. anti-Labor governments in their behaviour up to date.

Both governments are socialist in practice; both are marching (despite loud protestations to the contrary) head-long to nationalisation, centralisation and ultimate dictatorship by the trade union movement.

Whether that dictatorship will be a Soviet type oligarchy, or a one-man Mao type rule beloved by Cairns and other members of “friends of China” brigade at present dominating Canberra’s foreign policy, remains to be seen.

But however one looks at it, he pattern is certainly following the world trend to the dictatorship form of government.

NO REVERSAL

To imagine that if the anti-Labor parties won the next election they would reverse the present march to nationalisation is naivete plus. Even if they were inclined to do so (and their philosophies demand that they should do so), the pressure groups just would not let them.

Remember that the major power lobby, the bureaucracy, made greater growth under the Menzies government than it has under any other; that the seeds of inflation were sown through excessive government expenditure well before the Whitlam era accelerated it; that the latest craze for continually upvaluing our currency was sparked by McMahon.

Remember, too, the salient fact that the legacy of 23 years of anti-Labor government is that our growth rate is deplorable — about one-third of that of Brazil; our tax rate is exorbitant; our civil service is twice the size of Canada’s; and our defence is negligible.

All of this scarcely provides any solid argument to hope for better government merely by returning to the Liberal-C.P. coalition government!

And the Liberal Party’s present grey-area trendyism is no substitute for a vigorous private enterprise capitalism with its dynamic growth and consequent raising of living standards.

There does, however, seem to be a little more hope in the non-political section of the W.A. Liberal Party, which is showing some signs of returning to practical anti-socialism. The State Leader of the Parliamentary Liberal Party, Sir Charles Court, himself expresses this view which is gaining some strength in the party machine when he says:

I detest politicians that run around in the grey area. The average Australian mightn’t agree with all you stand for, but my word he likes where you’re going. Politicians who play around in the smudgy grey areas are a menace to their party and to the country, involved in a lot of gobbledegook in the hope that people won’t quite understand what it’s all about; they might think he was on their side. Those people are getting found out at the present time and I believe will soon be cut down to size.

WHITLAM

As things stand at the moment, Prime Minister Whitlam may be the best hedge that we have against outright union domination. This thought has its seed in the enmity that the late Arthur Calwell bore to Gough Whitlam because of Whitlam’s success in manoeuvring the political wing of the ALP to a dominant position over the trade union wing for the first time in the history of the Labor movement. Whitlam’s current trenchant scolding of the Hawke left-wing union faction encourages this belief.

To the old-style Labor man, this was absolute heresy because, to his way of thinking, the political wing of the Labor movement must always be subservient to trade union domination and direction. Hence the “government of faceless men” upon which Menzies was so capably able to capitalise to win an election.

Another fact which gives rise to hope in Whitlam as a Prime Minister is his defiance of the manufacturing lobby to the extent of an across-the-board 25% tariff reduction.

However, simply to swap Whitlam for a “McMahon with hair on” (as the Sydney Bulletin described Mr. Snedden) as a means of stemming the drain of W.A.’s life blood through the mining and primary industries would, of itself, be futile.

There must first be a rapid change in the leadership and outlook of the present Liberal Party — and this seems unlikely.

So we are face to face with the stark reality of being, in fact, without a choice in federal government.

I know it is sacrilege for most Liberal-C.P. supporters even to consider that their parties are practising socialists. It may be due to forces in Canberra beyond their political control — nevertheless it is a fact.

SECESSION

However, at least both major political parties in W.A. are far less socialistic than in Canberra. So unless our readers start thinking with their minds instead of their emotions, there seems to be only one way out of the socialistic net for W.A. — to secede from Canberra.

And if you don’t like this solution — can you come up with another?

The greatest leap forward that W.A. has known was when the State was separate from the Commonwealth.

The decade from 1890 to 1900 comprised the ten greatest years in the history of the development of Western Australia.

The authority for this statement is Mr. Cyril Dudley, who was active in the leadership of the Secession Movement in the 1930s. Speaking in an address in 1973, he said there was:

A very small population, about 150,000 people. They built railways to all parts — to the country areas, the wheat belts, south west, anywhere that it was necessary for the rural areas to be developed.

Fremantle Harbour was built. Gold mining was established in the Eastern goldfields, and the Murchison area, producing the richest gold lodes in the world at that time. The goldfields water scheme,  an engineering development which still draws admiration from engineers world wide, was also completed by the late C.Y. O’Connor.

Mr. Dudley then went on to remember that after 25 years of Federation, the thinking people of the State began to check up, and said to themselves, “Now, things aren’t going too well — what are we getting out of Federation?”

First of all, he tells us, they made a careful study of what the West Australian government was supplying for its own people in the form of services of all types. The list they were able to compile was impressive, for the State of Western Australia supplied then (and of course still supplies to a very much wider extent) a multitude of essential services to its citizens.

SERVICES

All those highways, bridges and footpaths, the water supply, sewerage and drainage, electricity throughout the State for light and power, railways, bus, ferry transport. All harbours and nautical lights, all universities, schools and teachers, all supreme and local courts, the police force and every jail. All hospitals, clinics and government nursing homes, land and housing for low income workers, water supplies, dams and catchment areas, fire brigades and fire stations. All libraries, zoos, recreation grounds and all health services.

All these were then, and are now, provided by the State government out of the taxes paid — in the thirties direct to the State government of Western Australia.

Mr. Dudley then goes on to remind us that the ordinary intelligent man, when he thought about all this, said to himself, “Where is the money that we pay in hundreds of millions every year to the Federation going? And where is the flow-back to Western Australia?”

The first such philosophy was the high protective tariff always pursued (and pursued, we must remember, to a greater extent than ever today by the Federal Parliament) to prevent the hot-house industries of Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney from having to meet the competition of world-wide trade.

This suits capital cities like Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide that are built upon manufacturing industries. It is a great and rewarding program, and incidentally buys votes.

But as Mr. Dudley then points out, “for a primary producing state in the major part of its development, for the farmer and the beef grower and the orchardist and the mining man and the oil and gas industries which today are producing 20% of the overseas exports of Australia which come from Western Australian primary industry — 20% produced by only 7.5% of the population” — it has proved a disaster.

Judging by the rough figures available, it would appear that W.A. provides a captive high priced profitable market for something like $800m. worth of tariff-protected eastern states hot-house goods. In return, we sell them a mere $70m. worth.

Under these circumstances, then, we would certainly be better off buying these goods duty free from a competing world market, thus lowering our internal price structure and cost of production by something like 40% overnight, as well as stemming cost-push inflation.

FREE OF RESTRICTIONS

We would also be free of the restrictions of the Reserve Bank, and the cost of abiding by those restrictions. We would be free of the cost of obtaining export licences, which in the case of some of our minerals like uranium might never even be forthcoming.

We would also be free of the A.I.D.C., the dangers of which were pinpointed in an article on “Democratic Socialism” by John Martyr, member of the Liberal Party State Council (W.A.). He says:

An enthusiastic and uncritical report in the West Australian of August 28, 1973, itemising the extraordinary powers of A.I.D.C. prompted me to to write to that paper:

Since when has it been an advantage in a democracy to set up an autonomous financial government weapon which you describe as “one of the most powerful financial and industrial institutions in Australia’ to operate completely beyond the control of Parliament, or as your paper reports it: “One of the A.I.D.C.’s advantages in its brief career as been its ability to operate beyond the scrutiny of parliament.”?

I am aware that Hitler considered it an advantage to operate beyond the scrutiny of Parliament (in fact he had the Reichstag burnt down), but it must be a shock to many West Australians to know that your long established paper does also.

The A.I.D.C. and all its power are under the control of one man and yet, to use your own words, “It never has had to justify its investment” — i.e., it has carte blanche with the taxpayers’ money. Furthermore you say, “It will give guarantees or supply funds to support new projects.” Once again playing with the taxpayers’ money completely uncontrolled.

You further state, “In choosing the projects to be supported the government will be guided by an assessment of the project and by advice from a ‘national interest’ committee appointed by the government.”

Where is this investment advice to come from? How is the taxpayers’ money to be safeguarded against giving support to some of the sucker bait companies that have crashed on the stock-market from a seemingly impregnable position.

(It is highly pertinent to note here that in October, 1973, A.I.D.C. lost half a million dollars taxpayers’ money when the S.A. Barytes Ltd. went into receivership.)

W.A. POTENTIAL

Once having freed ourselves from the onward march of socialism and nationalism, which will inevitably lead to ultimate stagnation or dictatorship for Australia, what can W.A. do with its potential?

For a start, the State could trade with the world for far more than the $800m. that we buy at present from the Eastern states in their high-priced market. One a long-term take-or-pay basis, and without any costly government agencies, we could sell our wheat, wool, dairy produce and other major items through existing trading firms, in pretty much the same way as iron and bauxite are sold now.

If this was allied to a low production cost, we could have such a growth rate, and such a degree of wealth, that it would not be long before we passed New Zealand for instance, in both population and output. New Zealand is a particularly apt comparison here — there is no more logical reason for W.A. being joined politically to the Eastern States (from which it is separated by a 2000 mile sea of sand) than there is for New Zealand to be part of Australia (from which it is separated by about the same distance of sea).

DEFENCE

Nothing typifies the weakness of the “case” against secession more than the centralists’ oft-reiterated parrot cry of “But W.A. would have no defence if it departed from the mantle of safety provided by the Australian government”.

Could any responsible thinking person seriously imagine that Australia can be protected by our present army, which is rapidly being reduced to some 20,000 men with a simultaneous increase of 10,000 in the civil servant strength of the Department in Canberra?

If the Australian army were increased to include every male between the ages of 16 and 60 and equipped with the most modern conventional weapons, our population would still not provide enough defence for the riches of W.A.

For a run-down on Australia’s defence position, as I see it, let’s examine an extract from an address that I have to the 45th ANZAAS Congress in August, 1973:

Geographically and militarily, we are an Asian country, populated not by hundred of millions of Asians, but by a mere thirteen million Europeans, surrounded by emerging dictatorships with unstable political climates from which a Hitler-like militant adventurer can emerge despite the present apparent calm on our Northern shores — a calm which is likely to disappear the moment the Americans completely withdraw from South-east Asia.

Notwithstanding the ties of blood and language, it would be unreal to imagine that either the U.S.A. or Britain would aid us if we were attacked. Suez was Britain’s last foreign military adventure — Vietnam will sound the death knell of America’s role of policeman in Asia.

Should it become necessary, we cannot slug it out man for man with our neighbours; we have not the numbers. One of our near neighbours breeds more people every year than Australia’s population.

How, then, are we to balance the equation? Surely we must make good our deficiency in numbers by superiority in technical ability on all fronts. In short, Australia must enter the nuclear age.

We have the world’s greatest deposits of raw materials. These materials the industrial nuclear armed owners must import in ever-increasing quantities because their own industrial consumption is expanding at an enormous rate. If we develop our resources and markets to the point where, for instance, the United States become dependent on us to maintain its factories or in fact its very existence as an industrialised nation, then and only then will they be forced to prevent our subjugation by a hostile power to save their own economy.

OLD TRAPS

There would be no point, however, in seceding simply to run into the old traps that have plagued Australia and brought things to such a sorry pass that we now have to secede to remedy them.

It is therefore of paramount importance to understand that, before any steps are taken, a constitution needs to be formulation which will guarantee the forward march of this State.

What are the safeguards that we must incorporate in forming such a constitution for Western Australia? Perhaps some of them could be defined as follows:

Firstly, the power of government to buy votes must be limited. As things are at the moment, political parties who want office have first of all to win a “dutch auction” using the taxpayers’ money to buy votes. This must be prevented at all costs.

Secondly, there must be an inbuilt counter to Parkinson’s law of chain reaction civil service growth, which results in building the service to become the number-one pressure group, and the fountain head of inflation. This year, Australia will spend $2,000 million placating the civil service and its grabs for power.

Thirdly, there must be watertight provisions to ensure that W.A. does not build up a tariff wall, for this would give birth to a manufacturing pressure group which would again stimulate cost-push inflation.

Fourthly, we would need to tie our currency to gold and conduct our trade in gold, as the oil-rich Arab States are doing. This is absolutely necessary to stop the detrimental currency wars which have already cost our vital mining industry a 31% reduction in the value of their contracts, and a loss to W.A.’s iron industry alone of $850m.

This would be a double-barrelled help for W.A. as a gold producer also, and should be persisted in until the main trade nations of the world have a common international currency. (The international airlines are already magnificently introducing their own form of international currency.)

Fifthly, consideration should be given to having some form of flat rate income tax, incorporating a negative income tax scheme, in lieu of soul destroying and wasteful welfare handouts.

While welfare payments can be justified in some instances, there is too much danger of their running riot. In New York city, there are 1.2m. people living on welfare handouts, and Australia is rapidly degenerating to this sorry state where the incentive to work is being removed. (Our unfortunate aborigines have already reached it.)

A family of four in New York if they did no work and gained maximum public assistance benefits would have an income of $11,319.

If they all earned zero gross income their total would be $2,360 less than if they loafed.

And finally, what about defence?

It should be obvious that neither W.A. nor even the whole Australian nation, could afford to maintain an army, navy and airforce all of sufficient strength to offer even the slightest deterrent to any of our neighbours who might have aggressive intent.

But if W.A. seceded, its growth rate would soon place it in the happy position of being able at least to support an aerial deterrent of the most modern and sophisticated kind.

As our raw material production grew, we would gradually become stronger ourselves, and more indispensable to one or more of the nuclear powers. In the meantime, we would possibly have to defend ourselves as best we could, and hope that the “lucky country” will be able to stretch its luck for another decade before facing any threat of invasion.

As I said at ANZAAS:

This breather, I believe, can only be obtained by acquiring and arming the F-111 with a nuclear warhead, so that the militarily stronger nations on our borders (who out-number us tenfold or more) will know that if they should feel tempted to attack us they will in turn be handling a fairly prickly hedgehod which can strike without being seen and which can “take out” their vital targets such as power installations, water supplies, communication centres and munition factories to the point where it nullifies their capacity to make war on us except at very great cost to themselves.

This can be done by the F-111 supersonic terrain-following warfare system, because the F-111 operates below the radar screens, hits an unseeable target in weather that prevents the plane from being seen, and allows it to return to base without the enemy having a chance to prevent the attack.

Pilots who have flown this machine in warfare say that in not one instance has an F-111 been hit by a bullet (that is up the time I was last in Dallas). Judged by the heroism of the World War I pilots in the dog-fighting era, this may sound an unsporting method of making war, but to me it would seem UNcommon sense, considering the otherwise UNequal odds.

This, then is the first step towards Australia entering the nuclear age, and seeing that it is a case of self-preservation, it is probably the main one.

Please do not let us fool ourselves by thinking that the F-111 or any other aircraft offers us adequate protection if loaded with “iron bombs”.

It has to be nuclear or nothing.

(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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