Niccolo, National Miner, November 10, 1975, p. 6.
In a by-election in remote Greenough, a WA State Assembly electorate, the fledgling Workers’ Party fielded a candidate on a platform of complete free enterprise — and won the support of 14 per cent of the voters because they believe that the free enterprise system is still the best social order so far devised.
This surprisingly high percentage should give the Liberal Party cause to look closely at its policies which are sailing too close to the socialist wind to be acceptable to true Liberals.
Another person who agrees with the perceptive electors of Greenough is Mr Russell Prowse of the Bank of NSW, who recently called for “champions of the profit motive”, and who wants TV stations to join a crusade for free enterprise and against socialism.
But Australia’s return to the prosperity and stability of free enterprise will be hindered, not helped, by the recent Jackson Report, which is the latest of the cure-alls for Australia’s economic problems — some years ago it was the Vernon Report which was supposed to contain the panacea we have all been waiting for.
These reports have much in common. Vernon specified more and more planning — so does Jackson, only he goes much further along the socialist track by demanding “long-term programmes to transfer foreign investments to majority Australian control” because of “national pride … independence and freedom from uncertainty”.
This is complete balderdash and indicates only that the Jackson Committee was dominated more by ALP ideology than by concern for Australia’s basic needs.
This country desperately needs massive injections of foreign capital, on whatever terms we can get it, otherwise we will continue to wallow in our present trough.
But who in his right mind overseas would invest in Australia, with the Jackson in-crowd calling for “regulation of new foreign investment and foreign takeovers” to continue?
The report, of course, has its share of ideological inevitabilities from committee members like Marxist Associate Professor Wheelwright, ALP socialist Brian Brogon and Bob Hawke, about “quality of industrial life”.
Terms like “lack of understanding between management and labour … conciliation … frustrations causing absenteeism … high labour turnover”, crop up in predictable quantities.
It is hardly comprehensible that Mr Rod Carnegie, a member of the Jackson Committee but also a pillar of private enterprise with CRA, should have bought this nonsense.
He knows and so does every sensible Australian, that this country is a paradise for slackers and loafers, and that almost all the industrial unrest is due to deliberate Communist (of one kind or another) sabotage — not to genuine grievances.
For the bureaucrats, the Jackson Report is a joy.
There will be councils galore, of “governments, firms, unions and farmers, to develop policy proposals”.
“These councils will assist the separate industry groups with serious policy problems … an overlapping network generating practical and forward-looking policy proposals for industry within guidelines … a focus in Canberra … would submit an annual consensus report annually.”
It is unbelievable that this pusillanimous jargon should be offered to industry as a solution to its problems — yet there it is, bunkum unlimited, enshrined in the report of an official, top-level committee.
Australia is suffering from years of over-full employment. More serious work, more production and better quality through incentive payments, are needed to transform the attitudes of management and labour — not socialist jargon.
An immediate end to silly tariff protection, the elimination of payroll and sales tax, and reduction in company tax, would do more to resurrect our dead and dying private sector, than all the hot wind of the Jackson Report.
Even the Industries Assistance Commission, a government body, is against the continued tariff shelter of inefficient operators.
The Jackson Report makes a show of agreeing, but suggest that changes should be phased in over 15 years or so.
But the compilers know that before 15 years are up there will have been yet another series of reports recommending even further delays — and so it will go on for the next 100 years if we last that long.
Perhaps the easiest thing would be to have the AIDC take over the whole of Australia’s industry by paying for it with paper printed by the government.
Sir John Dunlop, an AIDC director, and Mr Jackson both work for the same firm, so they could probably fix up the sale quite nicely.
Then we could all pass this paper from hand to hand, until the little red hens of Australia — and thank Providence there are still an industrious few of them left — refuse to bake any more bread.
And the lucky country will have to wake up to the economic facts of life.
The AIDC is certainly a grand idea — for losing money. The Financial Review of October 31, headlined the corporation’s operating profit as $1 million — but went on to say that its potential losses are a mere $17 million!
The AIDC is a complete farce. Set up to “buy back the farm”, it tries to do it by borrowing major proportions of its funds overseas! It can’t harness Australian capital because Australians don’t really care.
But if AIDC loses after borrowing overseas, the Australian taxpayer has to foot the bill.
Fundamentally the only solution to all this nonsense is a return to a free enterprise economy.
If so many electors in isolated, rural Greenough can see this so clearly, surely it is not too much to expect that it could be comprehended also by Australia’s political and economic powers-that-be.
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