Presented by:
The Hon C R Kelly CMG

29 OCTOBER 1981

Thanks you Paul, Mr Premier, ladies and gentlemen. It is quite an event for me to come back to Katherine again. My first time here was in 1959 when I was a member of the Foster Committee which was charged with the responsibility of drawing up an agricultural blue print for the development of the Northern Territory, and I remember going to, and getting from, the Department of Works, two D8s. I had already got a long length of anchor chain and had to try to work out a method, a technique and then a cost of clearing the scrub from three areas, firstly north of Katherine and then on the Daly River Road and then south of Katherine. I remember my brother and I (my brother’s really the expert in the family in clearing scrub — he is a mundane sod, he just works for his living, he’s not like a member of Parliament) having got the chain all tangled up with the tracks of the D8s and trying to disentangle them, and suddenly an aeroplane went over very fast and very high and, I looking longingly at it (I had just recently come from Federal Parliament — we live in a very high plain) said “I wonder what’s going on here” and he said “Oh, I suppose it is some bastard coming up to tell us how to develop the north.”

And then my next part of the process was to become by almost a fluctuation of time the Minister for Works, and I had a lot to do obviously with the Department of Works as it then was. They’ve called it a different name now, it’s got a grander title. It’s never done better work than it did in the olden days. And then I became the Minister for the Navy. The first thing I did as Minister for the Navy was open the Katherine Show. The people were waiting at the bridge with the patrol boat. They expectantly waited to come up the Katherine River, but it was a very pleasant occasion and another link with Katherine. I remember my first show — I was judging the sheep (I was quote a good sheep breeder before I became tainted with politics) and the public address system started. I said to the steward “What is it?” and he said “Some silly old bastard is opening the show I suppose.” So every time I go to open a show (it is not like that, I know, in Queensland) I remember I had the great privilege of opening the Katherine Show.

Then I was Chairman of the Public Works Committee for many years and was up here all the time. I could tell many stories, often unrepeatable, about evidence we heard about various aspects of the Northern Territory in general and Katherine in particular and in the last part I was up here as Chairman of the Public Meat Inspection Committee. A sordid little enquiry of which you may have heard. So, I have many reasons for regarding Katherine with a good deal of respect and affection and I am glad to come here again.

But there is one thing I want to say and that is that I have had a unique opportunity to watch the Northern Territory’s agricultural development. I am a farmer, I was going to say by profession, but that is hardly the word as it was the only thing I had enough brains to do. I was a farmer and I came back, first to watch the Humpty Doo disaster. I came here next (and I hesitate to say this with Mr. Metcalfe present) to warn the Commonwealth not to build the Ord River dam and that got me into more trouble than in proper. At every election I feel a dam coming on and far too often politicians, and I was one of them, seize the opportunity to buy popularity by building dams when they are not certain what to do with the water when they are built.

The next one was Tipperary and I follow that with intimate association. Warning Bill Gunn that they just couldn’t farm that kind of country that way, and then Willeroo, they said “Come in, Kelly, you’re a man of vision”. By that time they ought to have had more sense; but you couldn’t farm Willeroo that way, and you didn’t need a degree in agricultural science to understand that.

At this stage, before I talk about tariffs, I want to give a general warning to this group. There is little worse than to say you are going to have an immense surge of development which you can’t sustain and I beg of you as a group to realise that the thing that is important is not the immediate political popularity that comes with getting a development off the ground. Don’t get it too far off the ground, whatever you do, because if you are not careful you are likely to go down the path referred to in the Foster Committee Report of years ago (to which Paul also referred), which included one poignant phrase, that the Northern Territory is covered with the bleached bones of past failures.

Now, I know from talking to Baden Cameron and to your Chief Minister, that you are aware of the problems, but I do beg of you, as one who knows the Northern Territory agriculture better than almost any person here except Goff Letts and a few others, not to rush it. There is an opportunity here. You have got the country and the climate that can be used: it can be made into a first class agricultural system as long as you don’t try and do it all before breakfast, and that has been the fundamental problem of the Territory. This is fatherly advice: as I looked around the group today in the Sports Centre I suddenly realised I was the oldest sod there and I believe I have the right to give fatherly advice and am now giving it to you. The Territory, in particular, is on the edge of another step forward and I just hope that it is not going to be a surge forward, because if it is, it is likely to end up the same way as the other surges forward have.

After having given you a long lecture, I will now talk about tariffs. (I am not often diverted from my favourite subject of talking about tariffs.) Paul actually asked me to talk about tariffs, but I would have talked about them anyway, whether he asked me or not. It is of particular importance to you people here, as I have been saying and will continue to say in the column, that we have got a problem with tariff protection. We have got to think about it much more deeply than we have.

The way I think I will describe it is to give a “pang by pang” description of the kind of way I had to handle it when I came to Parliament in 1959. I suddenly found myself to be the only silly sod in Parliament who had an interest in such a difficult subject and I started to puzzle about the topic and tried to understand it. Firstly, my electorate was not one of the big ones of course, but about twice as big as Victoria and consisting mostly of farmers, and I quickly realised that you don’t need a degree in agricultural economics to understand that a tariff on, say, farm machinery, or a tariff on weedicides, is a burden on farmers. That was within my moral compass.

I started to clobber the Government, or warn the Government that they ought to watch the farmers’ situation and avoid damaging farmers because the bought the things that the Government was putting tariffs on. The main breakthrough came when I understood that it is not the thing that the farmer buys that worry him as far as tariffs are concerned, but the things he doesn’t buy. I don’t know what things are like here, but at home they are pretty bad and farmers didn’t buy many sheep, but the duty on sheep is built into the cost of living, it is built into the wages structure. It is built into the whole commercial world and it is passed from one to the other, until they come to the bloke at the end of the line, the exporter who could properly claim with eloquence that his cost had been increased too and he should be able to expect the overseas purchaser of his grain to pay more for it. It is very sad we can buy it from Canada for less. So, the second lesson I learned was that, firstly, farmer’s costs were increased by protection of the things he bought and, secondly, the cost of the things he didn’t buy were borne in the end by the exporter. The second thing, and then the whole thing, proceeded with grim determination.

When speaking on the matter I had the ability to empty that chamber quicker than anybody I know. I will never forget one unforgettable occasion. My wife used to doggedly come. She said, “Bert, I’ll come and listen to you even if no one else does.” And she’d sit in the speakers gallery with her hands folded as ladies do when they are angry. There was no-one else in the speakers gallery and I would be giving tongue, and there would be hardly a soul in sight except the clerk, who had to be there, and the speaker who had to be there. Here I was giving tongue about tariffs and old Laurie Fails, who was a member for the Country Party at that stage, came into the chamber and sat down, bringing with him one of his true blue Liberal boys from the bush. (You know, not like you people who are obviously received — you live on a higher plain than most of the farmers.) You could pick him straight away. He had this kind of honest, stupid look. Laurie came in and sat down alongside Lorna, and went straight to sleep with ease, his usual way of passing the time. But the boy from the bush listened. He said, “Wake up Laurie, wake up. This bloke seems to be talking sense.” And Laurie, who was deeply asleep at the time, said “Oh, not Bert Kelly again. We get so sick of him.” Well, they did get sick of me and I guess there are fellows like Gordon Jackson who are more statesmen than politicians, who got sick of me. Almost everybody got sick of hearing my plaintive voice protesting about the burden that is falling on exporters.

Then there was a change in the wind and the people started to come to me by night almost and say they, the secondary industry people, were getting clobbered because their inputs were being increased in price because of the tariff on them. They used to come to me and say, “Now look Bert, our problem is this …,” and they’d spill it out and say, “Well now, don’t say anything about it in public, otherwise the Chamber of Manufacturers will get cross with us. We mustn’t get in the blue, in trouble with them.” But there was this kind of insistence that there was something wrong apart from the problems of farmers, farmers who stick with me all the way through. The manufacturers gradually started to get enough confidence in me to come and help and then God knows the Government with its wisdom frequently gives birth to committees, you’ve heard about them. The Jackson Committee, and even before them the President, head of CSR, and the Vernon Committee came out and spelt out the same kind of message as I had, but they did it with more dignified language, as you would expect, as had indeed the Jackson Committee with unexceptional competence and ability. Saying that you can’t continue this way forever; you have got to be careful; you’ve got to recognise that this policy of tariff protection is not only damaging exporters but limiting the ability of the Australian economy to expand.

I went to India and I remember going to Bombay: members of Parliamentary delegations were terribly important people — and we were. In the morning we went to the factory that was turning skim milk powder, which we supplied, using Colombo Plan aid machinery, which we had given them, mixing it with buffalo milk and selling it to the people who badly needed the milk. Everybody was very pleased with this. I asked them afterwards, “Have you got any problems?” and they said, “Yes, only one, we can’t get the foreign exchange to buy what we want, that is the skim milk powder that they say you have running out of your ears.”

In the afternoon I went to the Bombay dying factory where they were making sheets and after the visit I asked, “Have you got any problems?” They said, “Only one, we can’t get our sheets in over your 55% tariff wall.” They also couldn’t get the foreign exchange to buy the skim milk powder and it suddenly started to come clear to me that we were not only damaging ourselves, but we were damaging our dairy industry, and we were paying more for our sheets than we ought to.

This is where the sods made me Minister, and I was Minister for the Navy. The Navy has many fine traditions: one of them is that after every collision they get a new minister, and we were going through ministers pretty consistently. At the time I was given the great promotion I was the next one down the line and they made me the Minister. I must tell you the story about the time I asked Fred Chaney, the previous Minister, if he would like to come around and meet some of the Navy, people he knew in the Navy. He said he would like to, as he had only recently relinquished his post. Now, everyone gets Fred and myself mixed up. I was over there a little while ago and people were coming up to me and congratulating me on being Lord Mayor of Perth again. (I took it with my usual modesty!) Anyway, we were circulating around as Ministers, even Premiers, do, in a modest refined manner. I had a glass of water in my hand in one room, and Fred was in the other with a glass of beer. While I was in the other room the Captain’s wife came up to me and said, “Oh, Mr Chaney, it’s wonderful to see you again and if you don’t mind me saying so, the Navy has never been quite the same since you have left it.” You can imagine the Captain and the militant; just tell me again dear, what did you say to the bloody Minister?

Well then, after another collision, I came out into what they call the real world again and into the tariff battle in which I was still interested in a modest kind of a manner. I found one considerable change since I had left (since I had been wearing my Ministerial muzzle). The Tariff Board (the group of people whose responsibility it is to advise the Government) had started to measure the cost of the protection which should be awarded, particularly to industries, and they came up with the figure which the Chamber of Manufacturers accepted, round about (at that stage) $4,300,000,000 a year. At that time, if you were going to subsidise secondary industry by giving them a bounty, as they do with tractors and many other things in other ways, it would have cost you around about $4,300,000,000 a year to subsidise the industry. The cost would now be well over $6,000,000,000. Now this was a breakthrough at last. I had been talking for years about the weight of the burden and its damage to the export industry. Now we had some measure of the damage that was being done and I remember being criticised by some of the Chamber of Manufacturer people, who were saying, “You can’t measure it accurately.” Indeed you cannot measure it accurately, and I don’t pretend that there is any degree of accuracy, but I do say that if you tell a man whose foot is being crushed by a wagon wheel that it is very hard to measure the weight of the wagon, he is not nearly as interested in that as in the fact that his foot is being crushed!

So that was the big change — that the Tariff Board were able to measure at last the size of the burden that the export industry (not the farmers, because they only produce around 45%) were bearing, at the rate of about $45,000,000 a year.

The next thing was the 25% tariff cut during the Whitlam Government and I want to say (and I say this as a member of the Liberal Party for years) that I was the only member of the Liberal Party who stood up and said what the Labor Party did then was right, because the Labor Party at that time were faced with the absolute necessity of limiting the demand of supply of input and they had two ways of doing it. One was to let the exchange rate rise and the other was to have the 25% tariff cut, and they did both, but the 25% tariff cut is being blamed for the results of the wage explosion, most particularly of equal pay for women which affected the textiles industry in particular, and secondly for the effect of the exchange rate, which is a subject we will return to in a minute. But that was the thing that made me realise that in Australian politics there isn’t any real room for what is right and wrong: what we politicians are much more interested in (except in Queensland and Western Australia) is a kind mean political advantage, and the 25% tariff cut was one.

The next thing to happen to me was that I went to Strasberg, to represent the Australian Parliament at the Council of Europe. At Strasberg, on the edge of the Rhine between Germany and France, I heard the poignant plea of the people there, “For God’s sake, don’t continue down this road of protectionism, otherwise it will drag us inevitably into the trade wars that so frequently become world wars.” And this is a popular plea when our politicians go overseas. They say exactly the same thing with ringing tones and then come home so frequently and do the opposite. But that was when I got out of Parliament and washed up on the political beach, and the Chamber of Manufacturers saw me go with an overwhelming relief.

The next thing that happened was the campaign about the TCF (textile, clothing and footwear industry), when the Government tried to screw up its courage to follow the IAC, which succeeded the Tariff Board Report, to do what it knew had to be done, and ran for water in the end. Let’s give an idea of the figures. It’s costing us about $800,000,000 a year to subsidise the textile, clothing and footwear industry, and this is done to protect employment, yet the employment in the industry falls every year, and this is a shock to everybody but me. I have got the great advantage of a wife who pulls me back to earth every now and again. I came home one day and there was the poor old girl pushing away at an old sewing machine (I ought to get her a better one, but you know the circumstances anyway). I said, “What are you doing, dear?” She said, “I’m changing the sheets.” I asked again, “What are you doing, dear?” and she said the sheets were too damned dear to buy; you couldn’t buy sheets unless you had worn the other ones out, and I was the first sod in Australia to realise that the employment in the textile industry was falling every year because the demand for clothing and footwear was falling every year. Well look at you people. You know, you’re a pretty shoddy lot; probably if your clothes were cheaper you would wear even more of them. Whether that is so or not, the fact is that employment in the industries we’re paying $800,000,000 a year to protect, is falling every year.

The next thing is with cars. This is still a lively subject, and we are now subsidising the car industry at the rate of around about 1000 million a year (that’s the extra cost everybody pays to buy cars). But you don’t worry about that; you have got plenty of money in Northern Australia. However, that’s what it’s costing the consumer of cars, 1000 million dollars (not my figures — I can’t work these things out — but the IAC’s figures). And the employment in the car industry falls every year. Now we are doing it, we say, to protect the car industry, protect employment, but the employment falls every year, and it falls because the demand for cars falls as the price rises. This is a shock for all (not for the politicians of Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia, who breathe the pure air) but for the rest of us, who know that the way to dampen the demand for a product is to increase the price. We’ve increased the price of cars by at least $1,000 to $2,000 a year, and we wonder why the demand for cars has fallen. And it is worthwhile to remember that we have twice as many people engaged in servicing cars and selling cars than there is in making cars and car components, so we have destroyed not only the employment in the industry for people who make cars by making them dearer, but we have also destroyed the employment of the people who service cars, because there are less cars being sold. So that’s the kind of position we are in now.

God knows I used to have to go and beg on my bended knees to talk about tariffs (and pretend I was going to talk about something else). However, when I came to the Northern Territory and also right around Australia, I found I was being asked to talk about tariffs. I’m not unwilling to do that, but the difference is that it has become obvious to the world, and to Australia at large, that the system hasn’t worked. The industry we protect the most lavishly, that’s the employment industry, declines the fastest and nothing will stop it happening.

This is where I come to the next step along the line and that is the effect of the exchange rate movement. I had difficulty in understanding what the sods were talking about when Dr Gregory came and said, “If you are going to have an increase in mineral export, you have to have an increase in imports, and if you don’t do it by Government lowering the tariff barriers, the exchange rate will appreciate and bring them in anyway.” The crucial point of why I am now becoming a new messiah about tariffs (and it is very hard to become a new messiah when you get to my vast age) is because the whole country now realises that there is no escape from the problem. If we are going to do what the world wants us to do, and begs us to do, to supply the minerals that they need, we have got to have an increase in imports. Imports and exports must always balance and if the Government won’t let them balance, the exchange rate will drag them in.

Now this was spelt out by Gregory and by John Stone in 1979 and it has now become the kind of battle cry which you can really fight for. There are people who are engaged in mining (the Mining Council will run for water at the drop of a hat if anybody boos at them) who now know that if they don’t come and fight with the farmers for a reduction in the barriers against imports, they (the miners) are going to be damaged as indeed are the farmers. Now this is the kind of position that I am in. When I started off on this pathetic path I was the only sod in Parliament that cared, but now there’s 26 members of the Modest Members Association that are joining me. There is a resurgence of interest by people in the community who now realise the path we’ve trod.

Let me then, in conclusion, give you a few of the figures.

You people, if you preach this doctrine, will say, “Ah, yes, well what about employment? We’ve got to have tariffs to sustain the employment of our people.” If you look at the figures (and that’s a terribly uncomfortable thing to do), you will see that the proportion of people engaged in secondary industry has been falling every year since 1921 (and the Jackson Committee spelt it out with exceptional clarity again in their report). Every year the proportion of people engaged in farming and secondary industry is falling, as indeed it has fallen in every developed country in the world. There is the pathetic plea of the protectionists, who ask, “Where are our people going to be employed?” You have only got to look at the figures to see that they will be employed, as they have been since 1921, in the expanding tertiary industry. Journalists (salt of the earth), doctors, politicians, people of the highest quality and people who are aware: here is where the employment opportunities of Australia have always been, in the tertiary industry, and it is so now. So that’s the first thing I want to say: that there has been a change.

And the second point is this: In Australia we will often claim that we have got to have protection because we are an undeveloped country. It is now known (although not generally) that we have got a greater percentage of our workforce employed in secondary industry than has the United States, so you can’t claim we are undeveloped. (Well you can, but no-one will take you seriously.)

The third point is this question of change. Now it is not generally recognised that farmers have been losing employment for the last 25 years, at an average rate of 5460 a year. I am not complaining about this, because if we hadn’t reduced employment we would have gone broke. The bucket of worms has got to turn, it has got to change, and the tragedy in Australia is that we try to hold employment steady without meeting the changing circumstances, and this is a silly system to use. One reason why we continue this is that it is so easy to continue a system that everyone is familiar with. I don’t suppose there is one group of people, or a responsible academic in Australia now, who would defend our present tariff system. If there is, they keep their heads very low below the parapet. Not one person would defend it, but the difficulty of changing it is overwhelming. I remember when the Jackson Committee Report came out and we read it with breathless interest and David Tabreck of the graziers, as he was then, said everybody is in favour of tariff reductions, as long as they don’t actually happen. That was true then and now; everybody recognises that the path we have trodden so pathetically is the wrong one, but when you start to alter it, it is not that easy. Let me quote from a report by Professor Powell that came out just the other day: “Tariffs are extraordinarily attractive to politicians, except, of course, to Queenslanders and Western Australians. Their costs are widely diffused throughout the economy but their benefits are narrowly concentrated and highly visible. For those whose career success must depend markedly on their demonstrated ability to do good things for the politically well organised, without seeming to disadvantage others, protection is a wonderful invention.”

As for the problem, why do we continue a policy as silly as it is, because the benefits of a lower protection system would spread evenly across the country. The benefit is easy to see and that’s the theory of it all. Let’s bring it back to the development of Northern Australia. I believe you people have got some interest in that! Professor Powell, Professor of Economics in Perth, in his speech delivered just the other day, talked about implications for Western Australia. Cost increases caused by tariffs, as quoted in decisions taken in Canberra and wage bargains struck in Melbourne, are activated frequently by the knowledge that the industry is damaged by an increase in wages. They can appeal to tariff protection and get it. They go on wage bargains struck in Melbourne and are a case which falls most heavily on exporting industries, while almost all Australians lose in the long run from our high and uneven structural protection. Western Australia are particularly disadvantaged, even in the short run, and then they go on to include Queensland and the Northern Territory by implication. You are the people who are paying $2,000 extra for your cars, with the employment in the industry that you hope you are protecting so generously falling every year. You are the people that are being clobbered by a tariff system that is particularly aimed at your export industry which you hope to be leading lights.

So it is not by accident I guess, that I am here, because Paul had these things in his mind when he asked me to come here not only for Northern Australia, not only for farmers in Wakefield, but for Australia as a whole. As the Vernon and Jackson Committee and all the wise committees have pointed out with unexceptional logic, we can’t continue along this pathetic path without damaging not only our export industry, but Australia’s ability to do all kinds of exciting things, and I want to end up by saying that the exchange rate position which looms ahead of us is going to bring it home to Australia as a whole with a clarity and force we have never dreamed of. I’ll be washed up on the political beach long before: it doesn’t matter what I say, doesn’t even matter what the Modest Members Association that’s been formed in Australia says. The fact is the exchange rate movement is going to make the whole thing different and the thing that I beg of you as citizens, not only of Northern Australian citizens, is that you realise this inevitability and help to bring it apart.

Thank you very much.


Bert, you seem to have exercised your usual charm and, to the best of my knowledge tonight, there aren’t any Federal Members here other than the Federal Member for the Northern Territory, so you are still doing your best to keep them away. We do regret this, of course, as we have hoped over the years that we’d see Federal Ministers and Federal Members at the Northern Australia Development Seminar, but they have been few and far between, if they have been here at all. I don’t remember too many myself.

The mining industry too seems to have been deterred by your attending because I don’t think that any of the companies involved in mining in the Northern Territory, except perhaps with the exception of Queensland Mines, have shown an interest in this seminar, which I think is a great disappointment. I beg your pardon, Gordon, there is another, CSR, but you are not actually mining, you are exploring. We hope you find something.

Eccles was one bloke that you didn’t mention, Bert, and I was very disappointed that you didn’t explain satisfactorily to us your relationship with Eccles, because it is something that has always intrigued me. From reading that column of yours, it seems to be a somewhat ambiguous relationship and I didn’t say earlier that you are one of the fathers of the Northern Territory self-government, in that you were at different times Deputy Chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Development, and I think the Chairman also at one stage, and I guess it’s no surprise with a father like you that we are such bastards. But you have been paddling your own canoe for quite a long time now and we are starting to paddle ours, and in view of our association this small boat which you can fill with sheep droppings, or whatever you like, and remind yourself of the Northern Territory occasionally when you look at it. Thanks very much.

(in order of appearance on Economics.org.au)
  1. Bert Kelly on his journalism
  2. Move for a body of Modest Members
  3. Modest Members Association
  4. Bert Kelly's Maiden Parliamentary Speech
  5. Government Intervention
  6. 1976 Monday Conference transcript featuring Bert Kelly
  7. Bert Kelly, Hayek and Mencken on the virtues of farmers
  8. Sound economics calls for quiet from government
  9. Petrol for Farmers
  10. Some Sacred Cows
  11. Experiences in Parliament
  12. Spending your Money
  13. Is Taxmania a politician fetish?
  14. How Bert Kelly repays a free feed
  15. Modest column #898
  16. Chicken-hearted feathered friends strange bedfellows on a feather bed?
  17. Who needs literary licence?
  18. A touch of Fred's anarchy
  19. Helping the farmers help themselves
  20. Standing on the shoulders of the downtrodden
  21. Supply and Demand
  22. Bert Kelly responds to claims he is arrogant and uncredentialed
  23. Politics: it's a very confusing business
  24. The best featherbeds run on rails
  25. Bert Kelly on Disaster Relief
  26. Bert Kelly Wants to Secede
  27. Blinded by their tears
  28. Anti-freedom pro-tobacco industry lobby harmed Australia
  29. Under Labor, is working hard foolish?
  30. An Idiot's Guide to Interventionism
  31. Is free priceless healthcare worthless?
  32. Can government kiss it better?
  33. Bert Kelly Destroys the Side Benefits Argument for Government
  34. Bert Kelly gets his head around big-headed bird-brained politics
  35. First Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  36. Second Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  37. Third Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  38. Fourth Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  39. Fifth Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  40. Sixth Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  41. Bert Kelly on the 2011 Budget and Australia's Pathetic Journalists and Politicians
  42. Bert Kelly, Bastard or Simple Sod?
  43. Liberal Backbencher Hits Govt. Over Import Restrictions
  44. Bert Kelly feels a dam coming on at each election
  45. Bert Kelly Enters Parliament
  46. Why take in one another's washing?
  47. Bert Kelly breaks the law, disrespects government and enjoys it
  48. Gillard's galley-powered waterskiing
  49. State Premiers are always asking for more taxing powers
  50. Can price control really work?
  51. Should we put up with socialism?
  52. We're quick to get sick of socialism
  53. Time the protection racket ended
  54. Can't pull the wool over Farmer Fred
  55. People not Politics
  56. Bert Kelly admits he should have had less faith in politicians
  57. The inspirational incentivising Dear Leader Gough Whitlam
  58. Labor: a girl who couldn't say no
  59. Why leading businessmen carry black briefcases
  60. Ludwig von Mises on page 3 of AFR
  61. Bert Kelly's empowering feminism
  62. Another shot at motor car madness
  63. Mavis wants the Modest Member to dedicate his book to her
  64. What if the whole country is swindled?
  65. Moss Cass: "Flood plains are for floods"
  66. A worm's eye view
  67. Eccles returns to haunt us
  68. How to grip a politician's ear
  69. It's hard to digest this economic cake
  70. Time to Butcher "Aussie Beef"
  71. Cold water on government-instigated irrigation schemes
  72. Hooray for Ord River Dam!
  73. Tariffs paid by exporters
  74. The problem of principles v popularity
  75. If you support State Quotas, where will your logic take you?
  76. Against guidance by government
  77. A socialist in Liberal clothing
  78. Never ask the government to help
  79. Don't listen to economists!
  80. Bert Kelly's revolutionary strategy
  81. Welfare state incentivises bludging and being thrown out of work
  82. It all sounds like bloody politics to Fred
  83. Mavis wants me to get in for my chop
  84. Whitlam's July 1973 25% tariff cut
  85. Bert Kelly on Import Quotas
  86. Good directions when government backseat driving, like reversing down wrong side of road
  87. Barriers to imports are barriers to exports
  88. "I was right" — but he's off to hospital ...
  89. Kicking the multinationals is too easy
  90. Bert Kelly reviews The War Diaries of Weary Dunlop
  91. Bert Kelly reviews We Were There
  92. Tariffs get the fork-tongue treatment
  93. Bert Kelly reduces government to its absurdities
  94. Politician sacrifices his ... honesty
  95. It's all a matter of principle
  96. Bert Kelly Destroys the Infant Industry Argument
  97. Bert Kelly Untangles Tariff Torment
  98. Bert Kelly resorts to prayer
  99. Eccles keeps our nose hard down on the tariff grindstone
  100. "Don't you believe in protecting us against imports from cheap labour countries?"
  101. Even if lucky, we needn't be stupid
  102. Great "freedom of choice" mystery
  103. Small government's growth problem
  104. I like my kind acts to get a mention in the press
  105. A Modest Member rakes the embers
  106. Tariffs Introduced
  107. More About Tariffs
  108. Sacred cow kicker into print
  109. Bert Kelly's 1984 two-article quote-collection on Aboriginal policies
  110. Modest Member must not give up
  111. Traditional Wheat Farming is Our Birthright and Heritage and Must be Protected!
  112. Tariff-cut nonsense lives on
  113. Bert Kelly brilliantly defends "theoretical academics"
  114. The high cost of protection
  115. Generosity creates problems
  116. The Society of Modest Members
  117. John Hyde's illogical, soft, complicated, unfocussed and unsuccessful attempt to communicate why he defends markets
  118. Modesty ablaze
  119. Case for ministers staying home
  120. The unusual self-evident simplicity of the Modest Members Society
  121. Animal lib the new scourge of the bush
  122. The Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Krill
  123. modest members society
  124. Repeal economic laws, force people to buy new cars and enforce tariffs against overseas tennis players
  125. Thoughts on how to kill dinosaurs
  126. Let's try the chill winds
  127. Taking the Right's road
  128. Bert Kelly: "I did not try often or hard enough"
  129. Bert Kelly "lacked ... guts and wisdom"
  130. A look at life without tariffs
  131. The Gospel according to Bert
  132. Tiny note on Bert Kelly's column in The Bulletin in 1985
  133. Why costs can't be guaranteed
  134. Hitting out with a halo
  135. Paying farmers not to grow crops will save on subsidies, revenge tariffs, etc
  136. "The Modest Farmer joins us" | "How The Modest Farmer came to be"
  137. Bert Kelly Destroys the Freeloading Justifies Government Argument
  138. Industrial Relations Club shovellers
  139. From Shann to Stone
  140. Government Intervention
    Government Interference
  141. A sojourn in the real world
  142. The tariff wind swings
  143. Bigger Cake = Bigger Slices
  144. Bert Kelly on the Political Process
  145. A charabanc called protection
  146. Taken for a ride - to nowhere
  147. Down hill, in circles, all the way
  148. Economic facts and figures are statistics who should speak out
  149. Any cons arguing small business bad but big government good?
  150. Relationships with the Liberal Party
  151. Tariffs = High Prices + World War
  152. Bert Kelly's Family History
  153. Bert Kelly's Pre-Parliament Life
  154. What the MP could say to the Bishop
  155. Why Bert Kelly was not even more publicly outspoken
  157. How to stand aside when it's time to be counted
  158. How the Modest Member went back to being a Modest Farmer
  159. My pearls of wisdom were dull beyond belief
  160. Bert Kelly on Political Football
  161. Undigested morsels in Fraser spew
  162. Bert Kelly on LSD
  163. Bert Kelly reflects on the Australian car industry in 1992
  164. Bert Kelly wants reprinted Shann's Economic History of Australia
  165. If tariffs are opposed here then why not there?
  166. The emperor has no textiles, clothing and footwear sense
  167. Ross Gittins Wins Bert Kelly Award
  168. Interesting 1964 Bert Kelly speech: he says he is not a free trader and that he supports protection!
  169. This is the wall the Right built
  170. Tariff Protection in Australia (1970)
  171. Has Santa socked it to car makers?
  172. Is the Budget a cargo cult?
  173. Will we end up subsidising one another?
  174. Keeping the bucket of worms alive
  175. Can we get off the stomach-churning head-spinning tariff merry-go-round?
  176. Do we want our money to fly?
  177. Can a bear be sure of a feed?
  178. How to impress your MP -
    ambush him
  179. The time for being nice to our MPs has gone ...
  180. Don't feel sorry for him -
    hang on to his ear
  181. Trade wars can easily end up on a battlefield
  182. Tariffs Create Unemployment
  183. Bert Kelly recommends Ayn Rand
  184. Bert Kelly on Alf Rattigan's Industry Assistance: The Inside Story
  185. Bert Kelly's Satirical Prophecy: Minister for Meteorology (tick) and High Protectionist Policies to Result in War Yet Again (?)
  186. Bert Kelly in 1972 on Foreign Ownership of Australian Farmland and Warren Truss, Barnaby Joyce and Bill Heffernan in 2012
  187. Bert Kelly baits Welfare State Tiger
  188. Why does Govt wear two faces?
  189. Parliament a place for pragmatists
  190. Of Sugar Wells and Think-Tanks
  191. Bert Kelly: "I must take some of the blame"
  192. Bert Kelly on dumping duties
  193. The Govt's helping hand often hurts
  194. Unbuckling the hobbles on the motor industry
  195. A Modest Farmer looks at the Problems of Structural Change
  196. Government Fails Spectacularly
  197. Know your proper place if you want the quiet life
  198. Bert Kelly on political speech writers
  199. Having your cake and eating it
  200. Perish the thawed!
  201. Hooray for Northern Development!
  202. Politicians can resist everything except pressure
  203. The silly image of our MPs
  204. Bert Kelly Question Time highlights
  205. Modest Farmer sees his ideas take hold
  206. Should facts stand in the way of a good story?
  207. Fondling one another's glass haloes
  208. What is the sense in making the effort to look after yourself?
  209. Fred's Feeling: Counterpatriotic country contrarian
  210. Handouts for big boys only
  211. Mavis trying to buy a hand loom
  212. Bad news for bearers of bad news
  213. Is it time to get aboard the tariff band-waggon?
  214. Why farmers resent tariff protection for motor makers
  215. A sordid use of scare tactics
  216. Goods vs services
  217. Tariffs are hilariously counterproductive
  218. The dilemmas of Aboriginal Affairs
  219. Bert Kelly on decentralisation
  220. Inflation breeds moral decay
  221. Who envies equality?
  222. Growth – malignant or benign?
  223. Government wiser than Magna Carta
  224. Bert Kelly on looking to politicians for moral leadership
  225. Max Newton: Maverick in Exile
  226. Whitlam & co on the Dismissal
  227. 25% Tariff Cut
  228. Bert Kelly on pensions
  229. The backseat drivers of the Pilbara
  230. Mr Clunies-Ross of the Cocos Islands should rule Australia
  231. They get the wind up when it changes
  232. Why the Big Green Lie survives
  233. Ross McLean in 1982: "Malcolm! Why don't we try good government? It might be popular."
  234. Bert Kelly on the importance of exchange rate movements
  235. Bert Kelly shows how to attack
  236. Bert Kelly vs Bert Kelly vs Bert Kelly
  237. Industrial relations dinosaur, Bruce, chews his cud
  238. Hooray for "firmly entrenched"!
  239. Respect your dinosaurs
  240. What if something is "deeply ingrained" yet harmful?
  241. A case for ministerial inertia
  242. Why politicians don't like the truth
  243. Our great open spaces
  244. Ominous dark clouds are gathering
  245. Better to be popular than right
  246. Crying in the wilderness
  247. Ivory tower needs thumping
  248. Bert Kelly asks, "How can you believe in free enterprise and government intervention at the same time?"
  249. Politicians get undeserved praise, why not undeserved blame too?
  250. Feet in a bucket of champagne
  251. Rural Problems
  252. Health cover needs a $30 excess clause
  253. Unholy state of taxation
  254. Boring economics worth a smile
  255. The Libido for the Miserable
  256. Agricultural Development and Tariffs
  257. Fred's too poor to have principles
  258. Eccles Law of the constant wage share
  259. "He whom the gods would destroy ..."
  260. Low tariff torch burnt Eccles' fingers
  261. A cow of a car — with dual horns
  262. Tariffs: when to wean infant BHP?
  263. Keep any government as far as possible from farming
  264. The Playford charade is out of date
  265. Bert Kelly: the odd man out who's now in
  266. Dries must resist giving up struggle as going gets tough
  267. How a well meaning Government can be so stupid
  268. The icing on the economic cake
  269. Sir Roderick Carnegie's foreword to Bert Kelly's Economics Made Easy
  270. The Vale of Popularity and the Protection Procession
  271. Politics 101: Pay Lip Service to Capitalism and Shoot the Messenger
  272. Bert Kelly makes politicians eat their own words on tariffs, then says, "We cannot be blamed for treating the statements of our statesmen with cynical contempt"
  273. Bert Kelly on Free Enterprise
  274. Cartoons of protected industry, the welfare teat and the nanny state
  275. Bert Kelly on the theory of constant shares and the Fabian Society
  276. Bert Kelly vs Doug Anthony
  277. You're lucky if you escape being helped by government
  278. Bert Kelly on Small Farmers
  279. Bert Kelly on Apathy
  280. Bert Kelly in 1967 on "problems of government and things like that"
  281. The last "Dave's Diary"
  282. Bert Kelly vs The Australian on tariffs in 1977
  283. Bounties or Tariffs, Someone Pays
  284. Geriatric companies without a minder
  285. A free marketeer wary of free trade
  286. Nixon's puzzling profession of faith
  287. "Ford ... seems to spend more time bending its knees than its back"
  288. Clyde Cameron's weak ways with wise words
  289. Why flaunt what others flout?
  290. Bert Kelly yearns for Tim Flannery's powers of prediction
  291. Looking after yourself is silly
  292. Bert Kelly masterpiece on drought, fire, flood and other natural disaster relief schemes
  293. Government can take credit for our car industry mess
  294. Car makers want the 4wd driven deeper into tariff bog
  295. Why our MP is no longer prone to a good sob story
  296. Auto industry is in a straitjacket
  297. Bert Kelly on market predictions
  298. Why should dryland farmers subsidise irrigation farmers?
  299. How much should government decrease incentive for independence from government?
  300. Clarkson crowned Deputy Government Whip
  301. Bert Kelly to blame for soaring government healthcare costs
  302. 1959 return of Dave's Diary
  303. Bert Kelly in 1966 on developing northern Australia
  304. Successful government intervention can [sic] occur
  305. Vernon Report upholds Clarkson
  306. Quiet Man Makes An Impact
  307. Should it be compulsory to buy footwear and clothing?
  308. To save Australian clothing industry women must all wear same uniform
  309. Don't confuse plucking heart strings with plucking harp strings
  310. Speech only for public
  311. Catchy Tariff Circus Extravaganza
  312. Bert Kelly in 1985 on cars yet again
  313. Hurrah for the Gang of Five
  314. Thoughts on a verse about Balfour
  315. Bert Kelly pep talk to politicians
  316. Government intervention = Agony postponed but death brought nearer
  317. Recipe for disaster: Freeze!
  318. Recipe for government intervention: Gather winners and scatter losers
  319. Recipe for industry destruction: Blanket market signals
  320. Mavis writes!
  321. Bert Kelly's empiricism is not kneejerk reaction kind
  322. The $2,000 song of the shirt worker
  323. Subsiding only small farmers means subsiding the big banks
  324. Difficult to be fast on your feet when you've got your ear to the ground
  325. It would surprise people to see how sensible MPs behave if they think they are not being watched
  326. Bert Kelly on "this land of limitless resources" and "great open spaces"
  327. Growing bananas at the South Pole
  328. Car components tariff protection under fire
  329. Why carry a $300m car subsidy?
  330. Tariff feather beds for the foreign giants
  331. Bert Kelly says end compulsory voting to stop donkey vote
  332. Perhaps being smart and insured isn't all luck
  333. You gets your tariff, you pays a price
  334. More funds to train Olympians?
  335. Fire in their guts and wind in ours
  336. Should free universal healthcare include pets?
  337. Sound advice from a modest farmer
  338. A tottering monument to intervention
  339. Cunning meets wisdom
  340. Competition, Aussie-style: Who's the bigger parasite?
  341. Australians are proud patriotic parasites, says Bert Kelly
  342. Taxpayer-funded sport is cheating
  343. Being loved by all is not always a good thing
  344. Welfare State Destroys Society
  345. 1980 Bert Kelly feather bed series
  346. The White Mice Marketing Board
  347. Government intervention and advice can be harmful, even when right, even for those it tries to help
  348. One small step on the compulsory voting landmine
  349. The free & compulsory education sacred cows have no clothes
  350. Holding a loaded wallet to an economist's head
  351. Political No Man's Land
  352. Only blind greed demands both equality and prosperity
  353. A cow that sucks itself — that's us!
  354. Nip the bud of incentive; mock community spirit into submission
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