August 3, 1977
Mrs. M. Thatcher,
Leader of the Opposition,
House of Commons,
Dear Mrs. Thatcher,
When my daughter and I first met you, which was shortly after the appointment of Malcolm Fraser as Prime Minister, you were a little taken back at my sorry belief that Malcolm Fraser had missed out.
The Fraser administration has done so many things which I am sure run counter to the way that Malcolm thinks privately. Therefore I thought it might be of some small help, in the difficult task that confronts you, if I were to recount some of the problems that the present Australian Government has failed to overcome.
You seemed surprised when we told you that Malcolm Fraser had not reduced the cost of government. True he promised to get stuck into big government. Unfortunately he has not. It is bigger than ever and still growing.
With the greatest majority of our history, signifying the full support of the Australian nation to radically depart from the drastic practises of the Whitlam administration, he had the greatest opportunity that has ever been given to any Prime Minister to put a check on government squandering and so stop the ever spiralling internal price structure in Australia which is rapidly pricing us out of world markets. Instead he has followed blindly in the Whitlam path.
In his policy speech of November 27, 1975, Mr. Fraser slammed the Whitlam Government for giving us “more and more dependence on government, more and more regulations, more forms, more controls, more bureaucracy.”
He promised: “A great many improvements in administrative efficiency can and will be made.”
Let’s look at government and the bureaucracy at all levels, starting at the top with Mr. Fraser’s own appointed administration.
By promoting his own cronies Mr. Fraser boosted his ministry to 26 — only one fewer that Mr. Whitlam’s 27 — initially costing the taxpayer another $100,000 in salaries for the minister and extra staff.
If efficiency is what the Prime Minister admires, he should streamline his ministry down to 19, because at least seven departments overlap and are wasteful.
Looking even wider, we have another 117 ministers in the six State administrations among a host of 571 elected legislative assemblymen and councillors.
With 13 elected chambers — and mini-assemblies in the two territories — we remain the most over-governed and heavily bureaucratised nation in the Western world.
Incidentally, the ratio of politicians to people in the States varies from one in 49,839 in N.S.W. down to one in only 11,640 in Tasmania.
Talking of ratio, nearly a third of all working Australians are now public servants, according to figures released during the week by the Bureau of Statistics. The total is 1,459,800 — 30,900 more than when the Fraser Government came to power.
Of these, 388,500 work for the Federal Government, either in department or offshoots like Telecom, the Post Office, the Commonwealth Bank, etc.: 388,500 work for State governments and 123,700 for local government.
The armed forces are not included in this bureaucracy. And here’s an interesting thing: for the 70,200 men and women in the navy, army and air force, the Department of Defence hires a back-up force of 28,252, civil servants in the department.
The army of public servants throughout the land keeps on growing.
The above is only one aspect of the disappointing nature of Malcolm’s administration. I feel that his gravest errors are in not combating at Day One the instruments of socialism and nationalisation that have been gradually built up by various governments over the last 20 years. It is now too late. The bureaucracy has asserted its ascendancy over the new administration.
I have written this letter, not with the purpose of denigrating Fraser, but in the hope that the pitfalls that he has obviously fallen into are able to be avoided more skillfully by your goodself when you become Prime Minister.
With kindest regards from Gina and myself.
August 1, 1978
Mrs. Margaret Thatcher,
Leader of the Opposition,
House of Commons,
LONDON, SW1A 0AA. U.K.
Dear Mrs. Thatcher,
Further to our recent conversation I hope the example of Malcolm following in Whitlam’s footsteps, resulting in Australia having a growth-rate of one-fifth that of Singapore, is a shining example of what not to do when you become Prime Minister.
Gina and I hope the British people have enough common sense to elevate you to the position of Prime Minister as we believe that Britain’s only hope of salvation lies in your hands.
Had time permitted, I would have raised with you the subject of the present world depression which, I believe, can be cured by the OPEC countries putting pressure on the American Government to abandon its restrictive energy regulations.
Enclosed with that letter was this one-pager titled, “WORLD DEPRESSION?”
Theoretically, one barrel of oil above world demand means a price slump. One barrel of oil less means a price rise.
In practice, when USA turned from an exporter of energy to an importer of oil, the way was open for OPEC to engineer a staggering price hike which caused an imbalance of the world’s major industrial nations’ foreign exchange holdings. In other words, by using up to four times their normal amount of foreign exchange to purchase their oil requirements, their capacity to buy good from other nations was reduced accordingly, thus bringing about a general slump in world trade — hence our present depression.
To add to the world’s troubles, a build-up of enormous funds of money in Arab hands which was not re-cycled gainfully has made the world’s withdrawal from depression very prolonged.
Worried as they are by the declining value of their funds when receiving payment in the rapidly devaluing US$, one would have thought that the OPEC countries would have launched their muscle on the American Government to rectify the position by insisting that they do away with the root cause of the United States energy crisis, namely the restrictive interference of the bureaucracy on energy sources when acted upon by the environmentalists.
The U.S. environmentalists were able to delay the building of the Alaska Pipeline by five years; stop the drilling of the North Atlantic sea board in search of oil; stretch out the schedule of building nuclear power plants from 3 to 10 years; drastically reduce the development and output of coalmines; and increase the consumption of oil for motor cars by having all sorts of exhaust emission controls instigated.
The problem is how the deal with the Middle East. Obviously it cannot be done on a government to government departmental basis because the more enlightened of the Arabs are the first to point out that it has taken them 5,000 years to perfect bureaucracy; something which Australian Government are fast approaching after only 200 years of experience.
I suggest a highly personal summit discussion between Margaret Thatcher as British Prime Minister, Crown Price Fahd of Saudi and the Shah of Iran could be a good starting point.
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