Here are four articles by Bob Howard in Reason magazine on libertarianism in Australia from 1974-77. They are written for a mostly American audience, so they are perfect for an Australian audience over 35 years later, because we know little of that history. It is also interesting to compare these articles with Bob Howard’s 1979 reflection on the Workers Party. All this and more is archived at WorkersParty.info.
List of Bob Howard articles in Reason found below:
1. “Slowing Socialism Down,” February 1974, pp. 30-31.
2. “The Workers Party,” October 1975, pp. 32-33.
3. “Australian Advances,” September 1976, pp. 38-39.
4. “Australia: Work In Progress,” October 1977, pp. 39-40.
Sydney, N.S.W. That libertarian ideas are desperately needed here in Australia is evident when one considers our current political situation. The Labor Party was recently voted into power for the first time in 23 years — probably more out of desperation than love on the part of the majority of voters. This means we now have a socialist/labour union/bureaucrat coalition, in place of the previous state capitalist/business/bureaucrat coalition. The previous Liberal-Country Party governments were fond of paying lip-service to free enterprise, whilst slowly leading us into the same welfare state that the present Labor government has in store for us. The only difference was one of velocity.
To make matters worse, the Australian voter is not even able to (legally) register his discontent by not voting. In this “free”, democratic country of ours, we have that ultimate contradiction: compulsory voting for all people over the age of 18. One must register on reaching the magic age and then vote when so instructed, like a good, obedient free person should.
The labour union leaders are mostly communists or socialists — certainly the most active ones are. The Builders Labourers’ Union, led by an official of the Australian Communist Party, has succeeded in halting development projects worth millions of dollars, in the name of “environmental protection” or “preserving our national heritage.” The National Trust will soon own Sydney if the present rate of “preservation of building of historical interest” (to whom??) continues. Today, any developer wishing to erect a building must first obtain approval from this union. He must then obtain approval from about ten government departments (such as the Height of Buildings Committee, the State Planning Authority and the National Trust). This priority of the union over the government is in fact observed. In retaliation, the major building contractors have banned weekend work, and rightly so. However, the N.S.W. president of the Builders Labourers’ Federation, Mr. Bob Pringle, has said: “This strike by employers is a disgrace to their industry. Their action is completely unwarranted.” This comes after nearly three years of industrial violence an intimidation on the part of these unions, done mainly to achieve political ends. Of course the unions do have a solution: Mr. Pat Clancy, president of the Socialist Party of Australia (formed after a break from the Communist Party of Australia) and acting-Federal Secretary of the Builders Workers’ Industrial Union immediately said: “I think we will be demanding six days pay for five days work.”
We recently suffered an 8 week petrol strike because a foreman, on a wet day, handed out wet weather gear to his men rather than wait for the storeman to arrive on the job — about two hours late! The lines of demarcation that the unions have drawn up are strictly adhered to. If a fitter does rigger’s work he will cause a general strike, as will an engineer if he picks up any tool. The employers have largely forfeited their right to hire and fire. Firing a man for sloppy work or for sleeping on the job will, in many cases, result in a general strike. Postal strikes just before Christmas are another favourite. (It is a personal ambition of mine to organize a “mail-in” campaign just before a mail strike: to mail in packages of old dead fish, prawns, rotten broken eggs or anything else suitably stinking, and let them sit there in the mail exchanges for the duration of the strike!) Union membership is compulsory, and all voting is done by a show of hands. For good reason the union leaders have resisted the introduction of the secret ballot.
As a result of such actions, the unions are not generally popular, but most people suffer them because of the mistaken notion that they are the only protection poor consumers have against the vicious, exploiting capitalists. In order to rid ourselves of that myth (and others), there is an enormous amount of work to be done over here, writing the Australian equivalent to such books as The Regulated Consumer, The Federal Bulldozer, The New Racism and The Triumph of Conservatism, to name a few. I have no knowledge of any books giving facts of the Australian situation in such areas. These books should, I think, be widely read, and could have a dramatic effect on the thinking of many Australians. For instance, one really sore point with the public is the high cost of land and houses. A book dealing with the effect of zoning, regulations, government planning, monopolies in “essential services”, etc., could capitalize on this discontent.
It is important to realise that the total population here is approximately 13 million people, and it is spread over quite a large area. There is no real choice in many important areas, in both the theoretical and practical fields. In politics, the choice is between socialist party A and socialist party B. We have no equivalent of the W. F. Buckley, Jr.-type conservatives (bad though they might be in some important respects), or of groups such as Foundation for Economic Education, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, or even Society for Individual Liberty. These ideas are dead as far as Australia is concerned. Radio and television stations are strictly controlled, with government stations operating in both fields (the Australian Broadcasting Commission). Railways, the Post Office, telephone services, some shipping lines, two of our three airlines, and all the roads are government owned and run. (The third airline is government subsidized and controlled.) The marketing of such items as wool, meat, fruit, eggs, wheat, and sugar is government controlled by subsidies and the operation of Boards: the Egg Board, the Wool Board, etc.
The future promises to be worse. The unions are currently campaigning for a basic wage rise of about $14 per week, and, at the same time, the introduction of a 35 hour working week (remember that the average wage here would be around $5,000 per year). These demands will be met in part at least. Meanwhile the new government has embarked on a large number of expensive programs, resulting in a record budget deficit of over $1 billion. Politicians and top public servants have been granted salary increases of approximately $5,000 per year, fees have been abolished at universities, 30 new government departments are to be set up, and all forms of social services have been increased. To cap it all we have been promised that direct taxation will not be increased — this year!
If you think that adds up to a first class formula for inflation you might be right. Former Treasurer and now Leader of the Opposition, Billy Snedden, estimates that inflation will reach 10% in the next year. All things being equal, that would be a conservative estimate. However, the government has the matter well in hand: we now have a Prices Justification Tribunal, which has the power to investigate both future and past price increases.
Australia is approaching the ratio of one in three people as public servants. Soon there will not be any “public”! In addition, the medical profession is fighting for its survival. Of course the government has promised not to socialize the medical profession. It is merely going to introduce a National Health Scheme, and that is a completely different thing! The people are taxed an extra 1.35% of their taxable income, and the doctors will bill the government. It follows that the doctors’ fees will thus be controlled by the government, and it is also not hard to imagine which doctors will take advantage of such a scheme: the worst of them. One splinter group of the medical profession, the General Practitioner’s Society, is defending itself on libertarian grounds.
The only known group in Australia that readers of Reason would recognize as libertarian is the Alliance for Individual Rights. Apart from that, there are numerous Rand admirers hiding in the woodwork (and our experience has been that the majority of these are rather loathe to leave it), one West Australian wheat farmer, Len Casley, fighting a lonely battle to preserve his Hutt River Province, and another West Australian with libertarian tendencies — mining millionaire, Lang Hancock.
Although it may not seem so, there are some reasons for us to be optimistic. The Young Liberal Party — or at least some branches of it — have just discovered Ayn Rand, and she seems to have caused a minor sensation there. The doctors, as I have mentioned, are using libertarian ideas. The Alliance for Individual Rights has recently expanded onto two university campuses in Sydney, and is active in other areas as well. There are distinct secessionist tendencies in West Australia that may, one day, find a direction. And lastly, there is the personal development and satisfaction that comes from a study of libertarian ideas. Personally, I think it is a waste of time being pessimistic — one might as well choose to jump in front of a bus. I choose to fight.
Sydney, Australia. Australia now has a libertarian political party — the Workers Party — and it has already advanced the libertarian cause in this country enormously. Unlike the USA, we had to start this party without the benefit of having an established libertarian movement. Our party has to create the movement.
I won’t go into the details of why we called it the Workers Party. I think I must have heard just about every argument there is for and against it over the past few months — so I’ll let you argue about its suitability if you so desire. I like it — and besides, it’s too late to change now.
The principal people involved in the Party at this point are: John Singleton (he is managing director of a large and very successful advertising agency here in Sydney); Dr. Duncan Yuille (formerly the Secretary of the Australian GP’s Society, now full-time Secretary of the WP); Dr. John Whiting (also formerly an executive of the GP’s Society, now a practising GP); Mark Tier (a free market economist); and myself. I also now work full-time for the Party.
Over the years a number of free enterprise, antisocialist groups have come into being in this country. The most explicitly libertarian one of these was the Alliance for Individual Rights here in Sydney. It was this group who wrote the initial party platform — principal people involved: Mark Tier, Patrick Brookes (an architect), Ramon Barros (a solicitor) and myself.
John Singleton was the catalyst and driving force behind the formation of the Party. He gave us three weeks to write the platform. We were unprepared, because we had not thought at all about the possibility of setting up a party; however, after some frantic phone calls, Ed Crane of the US Libertarian Party kindly supplied us with, among other things, copies of the LP platform. Using that as a guide we then wrote our own platform — and had it done on time. It then took a further three or four months to clean it up and get it printed.
The platform follows the same basic form as that of the LP. It’s divided into four sections: (1) Individual Rights and Civil Order; (2) Economic Affairs; (3) General Affairs; and (4) Foreign Affairs. It is written more from a limited government point of view, and if we had known of the latest amendments to the LP platform, which now accommodates both limited statists and anarchists, we would have attempted to follow suit. However, the platform is still easily recognisable as libertarian. Lest we be besieged by request for copies of our platform, let me say that we cannot afford to send them out free of charge. If you want one please send a couple of dollars to The Workers Party, P.O. Box 685, Darlinghurst, NSW, 2010 Australia.
One thing we did was to put at the front a “Fundamental Principle.” It is: “No man or group of men has the right to initiate the use of force, fraud or coercion against any other man or group of men.” (Mistake one: “man” should have read “person.”) We then tried to relate all sectors of the platform to the principle — in short, we tried to make it the common thread running through the platform. To further emphasise the point, we reprinted the principle on the bottom of every page.
The party was finally launched on January 25th, 1975 and we made sure it was done with proper ceremony — in the Sydney Opera House.
We now have active groups of people in every capital city in Australia — Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Perth and even in Canberra — and groups in various other smaller towns. Total membership of the Party, counting fully-paid and partly paid, is around 600. And that is with an annual membership fee of $50!
Through the Party we have discovered Ayn Rand fans throughout the country (“I thought I was the only one” comes up regularly) and many latent libertarians. In short, we have introduced libertarian ideas to Australia in a much bigger way than I, for one, would have dared to hope for a year ago.
The big question, of course, is: What have we learned? And I hardly know were the start. We have certainly learned a lot about people — about the differences between “doers” and “takers,” between “fighters” and “arm-chair critics,” between “optimists” and “pessimists.” We have learned a lot about personalities, egos and their effect on an organisation.
But the biggest single thing to emerge from our experience is the importance of policies. It is one thing to know where you want to go. It’s another to know how best to get there. We can talk about philosophy all day to a businessman, and he’ll say “Well that’s fine! Those are lovely academic ideas. But how will they help me survive tomorrow?” Now I am acutely aware of the importance of always keeping in mind our long term goals, and of ensuring that our policies are consistent with those goals and our principles. But I am also aware that as a political fact we have to offer people something specific. Ideally, they should be able to look at our economic policies and say “That’s feasible. It could be done now, and it would work. It would give my business immediate relief.”
That doesn’t mean offering them handouts. Businesses in Australia are extremely hard pressed at the moment. Bankruptcy stares many in the face. It is a bit unreal to expect these people to be impressed with talk about an ideal libertarian state. Even if they agree with it, it’s beside the point. They are interested in their immediate survival, not something that might occur in 20 years time.
The question that I put to people is this: “If you were in government tomorrow, what are the first 10 things that you would do?” When it’s put that way it becomes specific. And the answer can’t be as general as “I’ll cut taxation by 20 percent.” Which taxes?
It has to be specific — “I’d eliminate sales tax,” “I’d cut income tax by 10 percent across the board.”
And more: the 10 steps have to be in order of priority (e.g. fixing the economy is more important than worrying about legislation regulating the manufacture of toilet seats) and in the order of implementation (e.g. before we cut tariffs, perhaps we should ensure that economic restrictions on industries affected are relaxed or removed — remove the restrictions before we kick out the crutches).
To be taken seriously as a political party we have to get down to this sort of detail. As I’ve mentioned, I am aware of the dangers inherent in this. Care has to be taken to ensure that we don’t become so involved in the detail that we forget about what we stand for.
I also think a lot more work needs to be done by libertarians in this general field of tactics. What were the key issues to attack? Preferably, what are the key issues that will have far-reaching good consequences from our point of view and which have the potential of great public appeal? Or even — which will have far reaching consequences that no one else will realise?
In this area we in Australia are handicapped by an acute shortage of libertarian academics and people with years of economic and/or political experience. Therefore, I am hopeful that more work will be done in these areas in the USA.
Once these policies are developed, they form the main political thrust of the Party. They become the initial “in” to new people. It is then important that we have the material and resources to follow up on this — to consolidate. Once their initial interest is excited, it needs to be held and developed to turn them into fully committed libertarians.
As a general process, as I probably should have mentioned before, I believe in the gradualist approach — over all. I mean, if we were in government tomorrow, I don’t think it would be possible to just immediately cease all government activity. It has to be gradually reduced — as quickly as possible but as slowly as necessary. The Australian Labor Party made the mistake of moving too quickly, and they’ll pay for dearly for it — luckily for us.
Certainly, we have to be strong enough to wield the knife — the Liberal Party over here, for example, would like to get back to a more “free enterprise” society (not completely free enterprise) but are not game to wield the knife at all for fear of losing votes. I certainly don’t advocate that we degenerate to that! I understand that after the massive inflations in Germany, the German governments took some very drastic measures to fix their problems — and they worked. That’s what we should do. But we should take care not to commit suicide by hastily cutting back on government in such a way that it throws the country into chaos and this destroys us in the eyes of the majority of the people.
I might be wrong, but I think that whether we like it or not, we have to take into account the amount of animosity our action would generate, and judge our rate of progress accordingly.
I think the Workers Party has a great chance in this country. We only have small population to convince (13 million), we have a rich country, and we are currently suffering from the very severe effects of a socialist government.
The next election will not be a good one for us. In their desire to get rid of Whitlam, the people will vote Liberal. But after a year or so of the Liberals, the situation will be no better — so where will the people turn then?
That will be our moment, and I only hope we can be fully prepared so as to exploit it. If there are any of you who read this and are fed up with the USA, this is the place to come to. I think Australia offers libertarianism its best chance of success in the near future. In the meantime we would be delighted to see anyone who has a holiday out here, or who can offer us any help in any way.
It is a constant source of encouragement to us to see how well the LP is progressing. We are very grateful for the help they have given us and wish them every success in the future. But I bet we get there first!
Sydney, NSW. It is two years since our libertarian party, the Workers Party, was conceived, and eighteen months since it was born. These two years have been two of the most turbulent years in Australian politics for many decades. As a result, the Workers Party has been able to achieve what could be considered spectacular success when compared to libertarian ventures in other parts of the world.
As I mentioned in a previous column, in 1972 the socialist Labor Party formed its first federal government in 23 years. Although they held a majority in the House of Representatives, however, they did not have a majority in the Senate. The Senate majority holders — the Liberal/National Country Parties — were thus able to block Labor’s Bills.
To end the impasse, the Government General ordered new elections in mid-1974. Unfortunately, the vote changed nothing. A Labor majority was returned in the House of Representatives, and an opposition majority in the Senate.
With the economy steadily going from bad to worse, the Liberal/NCP opposition changed its leader — election the present Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser — and awaited its moment. In late 1975, it finally moved, threatening to block the crucial Supply Bills for the Labor government’s Budget.
Prime Minister Whitlam decided to tough it out. But after several weeks, his own appointee, Government-General Sir John Kerr, finally resolved the deadlock by sacking the entire Whitlam government, and installing Malcolm Fraser at the head of a caretaker government. At the general election which followed, the Liberal/NC Parties won government with a huge majority.
This election was the first general election contested by the Workers Party. Because of the circumstances, it was held at very short notice, and was highly polarized. Even so, we managed to field 73 candidates, spend a couple of hundred thousand dollars, and gain around 175,000 primary votes (representing about 100,000 different voters). The best result in an individual election was just over five percent of the votes, or 3000+ voters in a single electorate. Needless to say, we did not actually win any representation. (The figures are approximate because the complexity of the voting system and its administrative bureaucracy make final figures difficult to compute.)
Given the circumstances of the election, we thought the results were satisfactory for a 10.5-months-old party. Taken nation-wide, we outperformed all the other minority parties. Some did better in particular states, but not overall. Since the election, they have all virtually shut up shop. We are now the major minority party.
This year we have run limited campaigns in both the Victorian and New South Wales state elections. Victoria is the state in which the Workers Party is weakest, so we only contested four seats, polling between 1.5 and 4 percent. In NSW we also concentrated on a small number of seats (13 out of a possible 99). Of the 13, we only campaigned in nine, the remaining candidates being just names on ballots. We averaged just under 4 percent over the 13, and 5 percent over the nine. The best result was 7 percent, which we achieved in two seats. Overall, this was twice the average result achieved in the federal elections six months previously.
We have also contested one local council election. Neil Russell stood as a candidates for one of the local councils within the city of Brisbane in Queensland — and he won. Because these local council elections are smaller, and are largely ignored by the major parties, I hope the Workers Party will concentrate some effort on them in the near future. If won, they can provide a very effective stepping stone to wins in state and federal elections.
In the immediate future, as there are no general elections imminent, we intend concentrating on issues of principle. We are currently staging a nationwide protest over the compulsory census now being conducted. We have recommended to all our members that they refuse to fill out the forms, and have issued them with a protest letter to attach to their form stating their case, and defying the government to prosecute them. Our South Australian Division has also waged a war with some unions over a party member’s decision to sell discount bread in his shop; has taken on the state government over another member who refused to submit to the licensing of his hypnotherapy practice; and has supported other members who own businesses who have decided to defy the Census and Statistics Department’s “requests” for information on their businesses. In NSW during the State election we ran a mini-bus service for a few days to demonstrate our ideas for alternative public transport systems.
All these efforts were richly rewarded with new support. Since mid-1975 we have had two levels of membership — $50 and $10. Our total membership is now over 1,600. In addition, we have received good press and media coverage, and as a result are now widely accepted as a serious political entity. Our public image, however, could be improved. There is a substantial difference between what we stand for and what we are commonly thought to stand for. We are mainly seen as an extreme right-wing conservative party, and thus have alienated the young and/or leftish voters, which is a pity.
Early last year, one of our members, John Curvers, suggested that in a widely circulated letter that in order to be really successful, we should hide our “bible” — the party platform — and sell instead a “catechism” — a three-year plan of simple, popular policies. In New Zealand the Alpha Party was launched with this view in mind.
Curvers’ point was that selling the “bible” was counter-productive, as it was too much, too soon for too many people and turned — or frightened — them off. It was pointed out in the letter that the Catholic Church succeeded with the catechism, as did Mao with his little red book. It was suggested that we develop a “catechism” for mass consumption, and from those who liked it there would emerge those who wanted to know more. These could then be slowly introduced to the whole libertarian philosophy.
This idea has great merit. We no longer push our platform as much as we used to, and have put a lot more effort into policy development. I mentioned the importance of these in my previous column.
However, while John Curvers’ idea is simply in concept, it is difficult to put in practice. Detailed and successful policies are not easy to develop, particularly for a party not over-endowed with professional academics. For this reason, although there has been general acceptance of the idea, there have not been dramatic changes as a result of it.
We are achieving balanced growth. We have had the stimulus of two major elections in NSW, for instance, and have produced policies to fight them on. These were widely circulated. At the same time we are building up our educational facilities. Duncan Yuille, one of the Government Directors of the WP, has started up a much-needed book service, and reports a good business from all over Australia. The state divisions of South Australia and Queensland have under-way “Schools for Workers,” where members pay to attend lectures on the libertarian philosophy. NSW will soon follow suit. The party in South Australia has also stipulated that any candidate for party or political office must be a graduate of its school, unless granted special exemption (for instance, if Murray Rothbard lived in South Australia and wanted to stand for office, with a bit of luck he would be exempted).
There are moves afoot to set up a Centre for Independent Education (Greg Lindsay’s baby) and an Australian chapter of the British organisation, the Institute for Economic Affairs. Prof. F.A. Hayek will be coming out here in a couple of months, and Milton Friedman last year had a very successful tour. If we get advance notice of these events, we are in a good position to be able to arrange of good national media coverage for them.
The WP organisation is slowly and painfully taking on some form. We have the usual problem of funds, and a serious problem of a lack of good leaders. Too much of the work is falling on too few people still. Party activity is a great drain on personal time and finance, and many of our best people are in danger of being burned out. Overall, however, we are seeing good, solid progress in the building of a libertarian movement.
Sydney. We have long known that Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser professes to admire the works of Ayn Rand. Indeed, this is seen to be so much a part of the man that Australia’s top political cartoonist, Larry Pickering, often draws the Prime Minister walking around with an Ayn Rand book in his hand.
But it has always been difficult to see any Randian influence in anything Fraser or his government does — and goodness knows he’s had every opportunity, having been elected with a record majority in November 1975 by an electorate thoroughly chastened by a disastrous experiment with the socialist Labor Party.
The most optimistic observer could perhaps see some Friedmanite influence in the attack on inflation, and odd phrases with Randian overtones sometimes crept in the Prime Minister’s speeches. But that’s about all.
Then came the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London (Guy Fawkes — where were you??). Mr. Fraser was actually quoted as saying that “the open market system belong to the laissez-faire economics of the last century.” So now we know where he really stands.
The King is dead. Long live the King.
In the New South Wales Division of Fraser’s Liberal Party, there is a powerful conservative group (they would have little to disagree about with Ronald Reagan) pushing for the adoption of a new State Platform. At the time of this writing, they have a very good chance of being successful. In amongst all the typical Liberal verbiage in this document, there are commitments to sell of all public roads, water, and rail transport to private enterprise, to give “favourable consideration” to the construction and operation of private enterprise toll roads, and to sell off local government capital equipment and instead sub-contract capital works.
While this is obviously not enough, it does indicate that the process of stealing the more acceptable libertarian proposals of the Workers Party has begun. I might add that it really is most surprising to see this conservative group even proposing these policies.
The Workers Party itself has had a mixed year. Difficulties about the name of the party and a rigid constition that virtually made the name impossible to change caused party members in NSW, Queensland, Northern Territory and West Australia to resign from the WP and form a new party called the Progress Party. This changeover was accomplished without any difficulty in these states.
Each state division of the Progress Party is completely autonomous, and there is cooperation without affiliation at the federal level — a decentralisation of control that is in keeping with libertarian principles of organisation anyway. The platforms of the various state divisions vary to some extent, but do follow the basic form of the WP platform — the main motivation for change being a desire to include more argument and specific policies in the platform, rather than just having it as a bare statement of a position.
The original WP now only exists in an active form in South Australia, where it has had a very spirited year pursuing a policy of making news and points of principle by acts of civil disobedience. They have gained enormous amounts of publicity by making public issues out of such things as compulsory seat belt laws, registration of hypnotherapists, State control of doctors’ fees and bread price-fixing. Members have publicly disobeyed the laws, refused to pay fines, and have taken their cases to court — with a fair degree of success.
State elections coming up soon in South Australia will show how successful this tactic is in generating public understanding and support. There is a chance that this type of activity could be viewed by the overwhelming majority of the people the work of a ratbag, lunatic fringe, in which case as a political tactic it is counterproductive. Hopefully this will not be the case and instead the activity of the hard-working and extremely dedicated members of the South Australian WP will be rewarded with a good show of public support.
The relationship between the WP and the various PPs has been a little unfortunate. The WP runs perilously close to being what Murray Rothbard calls “left sectarian,” whilst the PPs could be accused of the opposite sin of “right opportunism.” This situation has arisen because of the acute scarcity of mature, educated libertarians. The WP people tend to have the religious zeal of the newly converted, and the PP people tend to be dominated by the “realists” who have a gut level understanding of the philosophy, not much time for fine theoretical detail, and above all, a desire for quick results.
The PPs in Queensland and the Northern Territory are very active, however, and are increasing membership and getting a lot of publicity. An election coming up soon in the NT could well see the best results yet. The NSW PP seems to have followed the path of the FLP of New York, and is now fighting for survival.
One of the results of the divisions that have occurred between and within these parties is that there has been a movement of libertarians into other activities so as to get away from the hassles of politics. The most important development in this regard has been the continued growth of Greg Lindsay’s Centre for Independent Studies. As well as having Murray Rothbard and Professor F.A. Hayek on its Academic Board of Advisers, the Centre has acquired the services of at least eight local academics (which for us is a flood of talent!), including economists Sudha Shenoy, Naomi Moldofksy and Lee Eckermann, and philosophers Moshe Kroy and Lachlan Chipman.
The most ambitious undertaking of the CIS so far was a weekend seminar titled “Man, Economy and State,” at which the above-mentioned academics presented papers. The seminar was very successful, well attended and an immensely satisfying experience — particularly for those who have been active libertarians through the previous lean years. People came to the seminar from all over Australia, as well as from New Zealand. More than anything else, I think the development of the CIS indicates that libertarianism is here to stay.
Another offshoot of the political activity was the formation of a Libertarian Dinner Club here in Sydney. Four dinners have been held so far, with attendances increasing each time to the most recent mark of 62 people. These have been surprisingly successful events in terms of attendance, and this is in no small part due to the high caliber of speakers that the Club has been fortunate enough to obtain — namely, Sudha Shenoy, British Labor MP Stephen Haseler, Professor Lachlan Chipman, and monetarist economist Professor David Laidler.
On another front, Duncan Yuille is continuing to build up his very valuable book service, and has had many successful showings of the films, “The Incredible Bread Machine” and “Adam Smith.”
A notable conversion to a hard libertarian position (and a recruit for CIS) is Peter Samuel, the star journalist of Australia’s only national current affairs magazine, The Bulletin. This magazine outsells Newsweek almost two to one, and is getting close to equalling the Australian circulation of Time so its influence is not insignificant.
Coincidentally, as I happen to be working as a copywriter for the advertising agency with The Bulletin account, I get to write the television advertisements for most of Peter Samuel’s lead articles. As he has recently written strong articles on the tax system, the education system (twice), the Labor Party, and the cost of government, you can imagine what a nice task it is.
At the time of this writing, the first Australian libertarian book to be published by a major publisher this century is rolling off the presses. Called Rip Van Australia, it was written by John Singleton (founding chairman of the WP) and myself. This collaboration was made simple by the fact that the book is written in the style of Robert Townsend’s Up the Organisation — that is, a whole series of variable length essays on a range of topics listed in alphabetical order. The book covers over 100 topics in essays ranging from a single lines to many pages in length. Because John Singleton, as Australia’s best known and most controversial advertising man, has attained the position of a national celebrity here, the book should get enormous publicity, and it will be interesting to see just what effect it has.
The past year, then, may not have seen any great leaps forward, but it has been some very useful consolidation.
- Governments Consume Wealth — They Don't Create It
- Singo and Howard Propose Privatising Bondi Beach
- Singo and Howard Speak Out Against the Crackpot Realism of the CIS and IPA
- Singo and Howard on Compromise
- Singo and Howard on Monopolies
- Singo and Howard Support Sydney Harbour Bridge Restructure
- Singo and Howard on Striking at the Root, and the Failure of Howard, the CIS and the IPA
- Singo and Howard Explain Why Australia is Not a Capitalist Country
- Singo and Howard Call Democracy Tyrannical
- Singo and Howard on Drugs!
- Simpleton sells his poll philosophy
- Singo and Howard Decry Australia Day
- Singo and Howard Endorse the Workers Party
- Singo and Howard Oppose the Liberal Party
- Singo and Howard Admit that Liberals Advocate and Commit Crime
- Up the Workers! Bob Howard's 1979 Workers Party Reflection in Playboy
- John Whiting's Inaugural Workers Party Presidential Address
- John Singleton and Bob Howard 1975 Monday Conference TV Interview on the Workers Party
- Singo and Howard on Aborigines
- Singo and Howard on Conservatism
- Singo and Howard on the Labor Party
- Singo, Howard and Hancock Want to Secede
- John Singleton changes his name
- Lang Hancock's Foreword to Rip Van Australia
- New party will not tolerate bludgers: Radical party against welfare state
- Singo and Howard introduce Rip Van Australia
- Singo and Howard on Knee-Jerks
- Singo and Howard on Tax Hunts (Lobbying)
- Singo and Howard on Rights
- Singo and Howard on Crime
- Singo and Howard on Justice
- Singo and Howard on Unemployment
- John Singleton on 1972 cigarette legislation
- Singo and Howard: Gambling Should Neither Be Illegal Nor Taxed
- Holed up, hold-up and holdout
- The libertarian alternative vs the socialist status quo
- Workers Party Platform
- Singo and Howard Join Forces to Dismantle Welfare State
- Singo and Howard on Business
- Singo and Howard on Discrimination
- Singo and Howard on the Greens
- Singo and Howard on Xenophobia
- Singo and Howard on Murdoch, Packer and Monopolistic Media
- Singo and Howard Explain that Pure Capitalism Solves Pollution
- Singo and Howard Defend Miners Against Government
- Singo and Howard on Bureaucracy
- Singo and Howard on Corporate Capitalism
- The last words of Charles Russell
- Ted Noffs' Preface to Rip Van Australia
- Right-wing anarchists revamping libertarian ideology
- Giving a chukka to the Workers Party
- Govt "villain" in eyes of new party
- "A beautiful time to be starting a new party": Rand fans believe in every man for himself
- Introducing the new Workers' Party
- Paul Rackemann 1980 Progress Party Election Speech
- Lang Hancock 1978 George Negus Interview
- Voices of frustration
- Policies of Workers Party
- Party Promises to Abolish Tax
- AAA Tow Truck Co.
- Singo and Howard on Context
- Singo and Howard Blame Roosevelt for Pearl Harbour
- Singo and Howard on Apathy
- Workers Party is "not just a funny flash in the pan"
- Singo and Howard on Decency
- John Singleton in 1971 on the 2010 Federal Election
- Matthew, Mark, Luke & John Pty. Ltd. Advertising Agents
- Viv Forbes Wins 1986 Adam Smith Award
- The writing of the Workers Party platform and the differences between the 1975 Australian and American libertarian movements
- Who's Who in the Workers Party
- Bob Howard interviewed by Merilyn Giesekam on the Workers Party
- A Farewell to Armchair Critics
- Sukrit Sabhlok interviews Mark Tier
- David Russell Leads 1975 Workers Party Queensland Senate Team
- David Russell Workers Party Policy Speech on Brisbane TV
- Bludgers need not apply
- New party formed "to slash controls"
- The Workers Party
- Malcolm Turnbull says "the Workers party is a force to be reckoned with"
- The great consumer protection trick
- The "Workers" speak out
- How the whores pretend to be nuns
- The Workers Party is a Political Party
- Shit State Subsidised Socialist Schooling Should Cease Says Singo
- My Journey to Anarchy:
From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
- Workers Party Reunion Intro
- Singo and Howard on Freedom from Government and Other Criminals
- Singo and Howard on Young People
- Singo and Howard Expose how Government Healthcare Controls Legislate Doctors into Slavery
- Singo and Howard Engage with Homosexuality
- Singo and Howard Demand Repeal of Libel and Slander Laws
- Singo and Howard on Consumer Protection
- Singo and Howard on Consistency
- Workers Party is born as foe of government
- Political branch formed
- Government seen by new party as evil
- Singo and Howard on Non-Interference
- Singo and Howard on Women's Lib
- Singo and Howard on Licences
- Singo and Howard on Gun Control
- Singo and Howard on Human Nature
- Singo and Howard on Voting
- Singo and Howard on
- Singo and Howard on Education
- Singo and Howard on Qualifications
- Ron Manners on the Workers Party
- Singo and Howard Hate Politicians
- Undeserved handouts make Australia the lucky country
- A happy story about Aborigines
- John Singleton on Political Advertising
- Richard Hall, Mike Stanton and Judith James on the Workers Party
- Singo Incites Civil Disobedience
- How John Singleton Would Make Tony Abbott Prime Minister
- The Discipline of Necessity
- John Singleton on the first election the Workers Party contested
- Libertarians: Radicals on the right
- The Bulletin on Maxwell Newton as Workers Party national spokesman on economics and politics
- Singo and Howard: Australia Should Pull Out of the Olympics
- Singo and Howard Like Foreign Investment
- Mark Tier corrects Nation Review on the Workers Party
- The impossible dream
- Why can't I get away with it?
- The bold and boring Lib/Lab shuffle
- Time for progress
- The loonie right implodes
- Max Newton: Maverick in Exile
- John Singleton on refusing to do business with criminals and economic illiterates
- Censorship should be banned
- "Listen, mate, a socialist is a bum"
- John Singleton on Advertising
- John Singleton on why he did the Hawke re-election campaign
- Sinclair Hill calls for dropping a neutron bomb on Canberra
- Bob Howard in Reason 1974-77
- John Singleton defends ockerism
- Singo and Howard talk Civil Disobedience
- The Census Con
- Singo and Howard Oppose Australian Participation in the Vietnam War
- Did John Singleton oppose the mining industry and privatising healthcare in 1990?
- Bob Carr in 1981 on John Singleton's political bent
- John Singleton-Ita Buttrose interview (1977)
- John Singleton on elections: "a Massive One-Day Sale!"
- John Hyde's Progress Party praise
- King Leonard of Hutt River Declares Defensive Just War Against Australia the Aggressor
- Singo says Lang Hancock violated Australia's 11th commandment: Thou Shalt Not Succeed
- Singleton: the White Knight of Ockerdom
- John Singleton bites into Sinclair Hill's beef
- Save Parramatta Road
- 1979 news item on new TV show John Singleton With a Lot of Help From His Friends
- Smoking, Health and Freedom
- Singo and Howard on Unions
- Singo and Howard Smash the State
- Singo and Howard on the big issue of Daylight Saving
- Come back Bob - It was all in fun!
- A few "chukkas" in the Senate for polo ace?
- Country Rejuvenation - Towards a Better Future
- Singo and Howard on Profits, Super Profits and Natural Disasters
- John Singleton's 1977 pitch that he be on a committee of one to run the Sydney 1988 Olympics for profit
- Thoughts on Land Ownership
- 1975 Max Newton-Ash Long interview on the Workers Party
- The Electoral Act should allow voters to choose "none of the above"
- The great Labor Party platform: first or last, everybody wins a prize
- The politics of marketing - laugh now, pay later
- Singo and Howard call Australia fascist and worse
- The mouse will roar
- Viv Forbes and Jim Fryar vs Malcolm Fraser in 1979
- Quip, Quote, Rant and Rave: four of Viv Forbes' letters to the editor in The Australian in 1979
- Australia's First Official Political Party Poet Laureate: The Progress Party's Ken Hood in 1979
- Hancock's playing very hard to get
- Harry M. Miller and The Australian disgrace themselves
- Ocker ad genius takes punt on art
- John Singleton 1976 ocker Monday Conference Max Harris debate
- John Singleton mocks university students on civil liberties and freedom of choice in 1971
- Murray Rothbard championed on Australian television in 1974 (pre-Workers Party!) by Maureen Nathan
- John Singleton profile in 1977 Australian MEN Vogue
- I think that I shall never see a telegraph pole as lovely as a tree
- Ralph Nader vs John Singleton on Consumer Protection
- John Singleton's first two "Think" columns in Newspaper News, 1969
- Singo and Howard on Ballet
- Product innovation comes first
- Protect who from a 'mindless' wife?
- A party is born
- Tiny Workers' Party gives us a hint
- John Singleton on the ad industry, consumerism and innovation
- Workers Party Economic Policy Statement, December 1975
- Lang Hancock on the Workers Party, secession and States Rights
- John Singleton and Howard on Government Largesse
- Counterculture must exclude government handouts
- John Singleton's 1974 Federal Liberal Election Campaign Ads
- John Singleton believes in the Workers Party
- Write-up of John Singleton's 1978 speech to the Australian Liberal Students Association
- Singo in 1987: "Joh doesn't go far enough ... I want absolute deregulation of the economy"
- Maxwell Newton chapter of Clyde Packer's No Return Ticket (1984)
- Singo and Howard on Totalitarian Socialism and Voluntary Socialism
- Rip Van Australia on Ripoff Vandals Taxing Australia
- Singo and Howard beg for tolerance
- John Singleton's 1985 advertising comeback
- Singo and Howard Demand End to Public Transport
- John Singleton and Howard on Fred Nile, Festival of Light, FamilyVoice Australia and the Christian Lobby
- Capitalism: Survival of the Fittest
- Return Australia Post to Sender
- Singo and Howard on Public Utilities
- John Singleton and Howard say monarchy should be funded by monarchists alone
- John Singleton on cigarette advertising
- Singo in 1972 on newspapers' demise
- John Singleton farewells Bryce Courtenay
- John Singleton on Australian political advertising in 1972
- Gortlam rides again
- Announcement that Lang Hancock will be guest of honour at the Workers Party launch
- John Singleton on trading stamps, idiot housewives and government
- 1975 John Singleton-Sir Robert Askin Quadrant Interview
- Singo asks two prickly questions
- VIOLENCE, TV BAN, DRINK - SINGO SPEAKS HIS MIND
- Why John Singleton can't keep a straight face
- Why John Singleton Defends Smokers Rights
- Tony Dear on Paul Krutulis, the Workers Party and murder
- An Ode to Busybodies
- Progress Party and Workers Party lead The Australian
- How many tits in a tangle?
- Viv Forbes in 1978 on loss-making government, the Berlin Wall and misdirected blasts of hot-air
- John Singleton wants the Post Office sold and anti-discrimination legislation scrapped
- A speech from the Titanic
- A crime must have a victim
- John Singleton vs Australia Post
- Minimum wages the killer
- Has Fraser got his priorities all wrong?
- John Singleton says "the royal family should be flogged off to the U.S."
- John Singleton vs Don Chipp and the Australian Democrats
- John Singleton vs Don Lane
- John Singleton. Horseracing. Why?
- John Singleton's 1986 reflection on the Workers Party
- Bob Howard in 1978 on libertarianism in Australia
- John Singleton on the stupidity of anti-discrimination laws
- Thou shalt know the facts ... before thou shoot off thou mouth
- Charity: An Aesop Fable
- Bob Howard announces the Workers Party in freeEnterprise
- New improved moon
- Announcing people ... YES, people!
- Creativity in advertising must be pointed dead on target
- John Singleton on barriers to, and opportunities for, effective communication
- Wayne Garland on John Singleton on Advertising
- John Singleton schools ad course
- John Singleton: advertising awards
- Mr Singleton Goes to Canberra for Australian Playboy
- John Singleton on his TV career for Australian Playboy
- John Singleton sacked for telling the truth about Medicare