John Singleton with Bob HowardRip Van Australia (Stanmore: Cassell Australia, 1977), pp. 105-10, under the heading “Government”.

To be governed is to be watched inspected, spied upon, directed, law-ridden, regulated, penned up, indoctrinated, preached at, checked appraised, seized, censured, commanded, by beings who have neither title, nor knowledge, nor virtue. To be governed is to have every movement noted, registered, counted, rated, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, refused, authorised, endorsed, admonished, prevented, reformed, redressed, corrected.
P. J. PROUDHON, 1849.

We have stated elsewhere what we believe the proper role of government is — to protect the rights of all inhabitants within a country. We have stated that the government can hardly be said to be doing this if it is itself guilty of violating the rights of its citizens. We have further pointed out the fact that over the years, governments have gradually more and more power over us all, both socially and economically, and that today, governments function primarily as distributors of privilege.

There is no need to go further into the theory of government here. What we will do instead is point out some of the details of our governments, so that we can all see just how extensive their power and influence are.

  1. Look through the sections on Federal, State and local government in your telephone directory. If you live in the country, do it the next time you are in the city.
  2. Buy copies of the Budget papers when they are released each year.
  3. Buy copies of the Year Books — Federal and State.
  4. Look through the odd government report, for example, Taxation Commissioners Report, Jackson Committee Report on Manufacturing, Vernon Committee Report on the Post office, Henderson Committee Report on Poverty.

If you just look through a selection of these papers and documents, you’ll be amazed at what you find.

For example, this year (1976-77) our three levels of government, Federal, State and local, will spend about $30,000,000,000, most of which is raised by taxes. These governments will employ one and a quarter million public servants to sit around shuffling paper and to generally obstruct the business of decent and innocent people. Their activities in Sydney, for example, cover some nineteen pages of the telephone directory and, as anyone who has tangled with them knows, are scattered all over the city. Getting detailed information out of them is like getting blood out of Ayers Rock.

The 1975 Australian Government Directory lists some 374 Departments, Authorities, Commissions, Boards, Committees, etc., of the Federal Government alone. The old Department of Agriculture (now the Department of Primary Industry) for example, has listed under its heading three Bureaus, four councils, eighteen committees, two corporations, nine Boards, one Institute and one Authority. So much for our free enterprise primary industries.

This Department had the responsibility for administering some ninety-one different Acts of Parliament that relate to Agriculture — such as the Butter Fat Levy Act, the Chicken Meat Research Act, the Dried Fruits Export Control Act, the Egg Export Control Act, the Honey Industry Act, the Meat Industry Act, the Pig Slaughter Levy Act, the Processed Milk Products Bounty Act, the Tobacco Industry Act, the Whaling Act, the Wheat Industry Stabilisation Act and the Wool Industry Act.

It is also interesting to note that the Federal Primary Production tax estimates listed in the latest Budget Report for 1977 are as varied as follows: Apple and Pear Export Charge ($10,000), Apple and Pear Levy ($532,000), Butter Fat Levy ($1,572,000), Canned Fruit Export Charge ($155,000), Canning Fruit Charge ($108,000), Dairying Research Levy ($363,000), Dried Fruits Export Charge ($209,000), Dried Fruits Levy ($47,000), Honey Export Charge ($24,000), Honey Levy ($160,000), Livestock Slaughter Levy — Eradication of Disease ($7,800,000), Livestock Slaughter Levy — Cattle ($4,368,000), Livestock Slaughter Levy — Sheep and Lambs ($1,589,000), Meat Chicken Levy ($157,000), Meat Export Inspection — Overtime Charges ($2,002,000. Last year this was $15,915,160!), Pig Slaughter Levy ($420,000), Poultry Industry Levy ($11,500,000), Tobacco Charge ($523,000), Wheat Export Charge ($60,065,000), Wheat Tax ($1,650,000), Wine Grapes Charges ($1,080,000), and Wool Tax ($81,200,000) — a total of $175,533,000. The total estimated income for the Primary Industry Department is $213,762,000. Its total estimated expenditure is $351,254,000. Of this, $38,360,500 is allocated to pay the salaries of the 3112 people on the staff of the Department. It is difficult to compute just how much the primary industries actually receive back in the form of direct and indirect assistance to offset all the taxes that they pay, because both the taxes and the benefits are channelled through many different Departments.

However, we hope we have illustrated to some degree, the complexity of the industry situation, and the enormous degree of government-industry interaction. This is what is today called free enterprise by the National Country Party. It is blatantly obvious that it is, in fact, no such thing.

Federal Government Budget statistics for 1976-77 show that salary payments for an average of 218,071 staff are covered under Appropriation Bill (No. 1), at a total salary cost of $2,364,715,000. This includes 69,485 people in the Permanent Forces (army, navy, airforce) and 31,026 Civil Personnel in the Defence Department, with a total salary bill of $1,062,827,000. These figures do not include the expensive First Division Officers, Holders of Public Office,  Judges, Parliamentarians, and a host of other Federal employees. Indeed, Forecast, an economic newsletter published by economist Roger Randerson, states that at 30 June 1976, government employment statistics were as follows: Federal, 458,000; State, 773,000; local, 121,300. Total of 1,352,800. This would indicate that the total salary bill for our army of bureaucrats would be over $14,000,000,000.

If we consider that $13,000,000,000 of this is non-military spending, we can get some interesting comparisons. Permanent naval forces number 16,241 (salary cost $174,428,000), permanent army forces number 31,648 (salary cost $342,032,000). Our non-defence bureaucrats, then cost the equivalent in salaries of around seventy-five of our navies, or thirty-eight of our armies, or fifty-three of our air forces.

Let’s hope the next war is a paper war. It’s our only chance.

The Australian Taxation Office will employ an estimated average of 12,580 people (7071 in Production [?], 1497 in Accounting, 2328 in Enforcement, 309 in Valuation and 1375 in Executive [Management], at a cost in salaries of $125,681,000. Costs of running the Taxation Office — telephone bills, paper costs, printing costs, etc. — are all extra on top of that.

The Federal Government has also made provision in the 1976-77 budget for the payment of $1,373,200,000 in Public Debt Interest. Just what the size of the Public Debt is is difficult to determine, but we estimate that it is around $20,000,000,000 and rising.

In his, as usual excellent article in The Bulletin last year, Peter Samuel detailed some of the more extraordinary expenditures of the then Whitlam Government: $8987 to surfriders association for the national championships currently held at Victor Harbour, South Australia; $9532 to the Parachute Federation for a trip to West Germany; $2695 for the Indoor Bias Bowls Association; $3200 for the Hockey Associations’ administrative expenses; $11,150 for archers to go to Switzerland; $1434 for yachting; $1202 for the Ski Patrol Association; and $33,224 for various Rugby events. As Samuel comments:

Labor certainly did not start it, but they have made the handout industry the fastest growth area in the Australian economy. With your money, taken forcefully out of your pay packet or added to the cost of the beer and petrol and household goods you buy, politicians are buying the subservience and political indebtedness of a whole range of community groups, and organisations. They are aided and abetted in this political operation by bureaucrats building their personal prosperity and careers on the tax-financed government departments, commissions, councils, authorities, offices, organisations, boards and committees, being spawned to advise, administer and generally exploit the national pork-barrel.1

Because the government apparatus is growing so complex, the old Department of Urban and Regional Development produced a book of fifty-seven pages called Australian Government assistance to local government projects — sources of funds and how to apply for them. Apparently, there were (are?) eighteen Federal Government agencies running thirty-five programmes for local government alone. Samuels goes on to quote the following:

  • The then Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) listed six Federal Departments apart from the Department of Aboriginal Affairs which were (are?) running programmes for Aboriginal advancement involving nine interdepartmental committees.
  • The then Head of the Industries Assistance Commission, Mr Alf Rattigan, identifying no fewer than twenty-six Federal Agencies significant in economy policy, compared with only eight existing in 1965.
  • That there existed at least sixteen Federal Agencies involved in welfare, making cash payments, running research programmes, administering services, these being split on functional lines, client lines, and territorial lines. And things haven’t changes. Last year, as quoted by the Taxpayers Association Journal, Taxpayer , the Federal Government spent $100,000 on the anti-smoking campaign and $496,000 on tobacco research.

This is the Federal Government alone. Add to it the boondoggles of the State governments and the maze of local government rules and regulations and you begin to see what modern government is all about. It is also easy to see why the taxation levels have to be so high — the more government does, the more it costs.

If you look through the regulations governing any business — the Companies Act, the licencing requirements, health restrictions, standards, building codes, local government ordinances, trading regulations, the Corporate Affairs and Trade Practices restrictions, etc., etc., etc., and etc., you’ll begin to see that it’s amazing that we are able to do anything.

We are being drowned in a swamp of pettiness. Unless we decide to do something about it, this situation will continue to get worse. Our basic choice is to decide whether or not we want a still bigger government, or alternatively, a smaller one. If we want a smaller one, then we have to start actively campaigning to get it.

For anything to be done, however, more and more people need to be educated about the issues involved. As people become aware of the futility of expecting governments to solve problems; of the dangers of increasing the size, cost, and power of governments; of the enormous size and power governments have already; and the alternatives to the simple knee-jerk reflex, then we might start to get somewhere. We also might get nowhere. But it used to be Australian to give it a go. At least we should all do that.

The American newspaperman, H. L. Mencken, said what has to be the last word on government:

It (the Government) has taken on a vast mass of new duties and responsibilities, it has spread out its powers until they penetrate to every act of the citizen, however secret; it has begun to throw around its operations the high dignity and impeccability of a State religion; its agents become a separate and superior caste, with authority to bind and loose, and their thumbs in every pot. But it still remains, as it was in the beginning, the common enemy of all well-disposed, industrious and decent men.2

  1. Peter Samuel, “Cut Silly Government Spending and Save Us All,” The Bulletin, May 24, 1975.
  2. H. L. Mencken, 1926. Quoted in Albert J. Nock, Our Enemy the State, Free Life Editions, New York, N.Y., 1973, p. 2.
(in order of appearance on
  1. Governments Consume Wealth — They Don't Create It
  2. Singo and Howard Propose Privatising Bondi Beach
  3. Singo and Howard Speak Out Against the Crackpot Realism of the CIS and IPA
  4. Singo and Howard on Compromise
  5. Singo and Howard on Monopolies
  6. Singo and Howard Support Sydney Harbour Bridge Restructure
  7. Singo and Howard on Striking at the Root, and the Failure of Howard, the CIS and the IPA
  8. Singo and Howard Explain Why Australia is Not a Capitalist Country
  9. Singo and Howard Call Democracy Tyrannical
  10. Singo and Howard on Drugs!
  11. Simpleton sells his poll philosophy
  12. Singo and Howard Decry Australia Day
  13. Singo and Howard Endorse the Workers Party
  14. Singo and Howard Oppose the Liberal Party
  15. Singo and Howard Admit that Liberals Advocate and Commit Crime
  16. Up the Workers! Bob Howard's 1979 Workers Party Reflection in Playboy
  17. John Whiting's Inaugural Workers Party Presidential Address
  18. John Singleton and Bob Howard 1975 Monday Conference TV Interview on the Workers Party
  19. Singo and Howard on Aborigines
  20. Singo and Howard on Conservatism
  21. Singo and Howard on the Labor Party
  22. Singo, Howard and Hancock Want to Secede
  23. John Singleton changes his name
  24. Lang Hancock's Foreword to Rip Van Australia
  25. New party will not tolerate bludgers: Radical party against welfare state
  26. Singo and Howard introduce Rip Van Australia
  27. Singo and Howard on Knee-Jerks
  28. Singo and Howard on Tax Hunts (Lobbying)
  29. Singo and Howard on Rights
  30. Singo and Howard on Crime
  31. Singo and Howard on Justice
  32. Singo and Howard on Unemployment
  33. John Singleton on 1972 cigarette legislation
  34. Singo and Howard: Gambling Should Neither Be Illegal Nor Taxed
  35. Holed up, hold-up and holdout
  36. The libertarian alternative vs the socialist status quo
  37. Workers Party Platform
  38. Singo and Howard Join Forces to Dismantle Welfare State
  39. Singo and Howard on Business
  40. Singo and Howard on Discrimination
  41. Singo and Howard on the Greens
  42. Singo and Howard on Xenophobia
  43. Singo and Howard on Murdoch, Packer and Monopolistic Media
  44. Singo and Howard Explain that Pure Capitalism Solves Pollution
  45. Singo and Howard Defend Miners Against Government
  46. Singo and Howard on Bureaucracy
  47. Singo and Howard on Corporate Capitalism
  48. The last words of Charles Russell
  49. Ted Noffs' Preface to Rip Van Australia
  50. Right-wing anarchists revamping libertarian ideology
  51. Giving a chukka to the Workers Party
  52. Govt "villain" in eyes of new party
  53. "A beautiful time to be starting a new party": Rand fans believe in every man for himself
  54. Introducing the new Workers' Party
  55. Paul Rackemann 1980 Progress Party Election Speech
  56. Lang Hancock 1978 George Negus Interview
  57. Voices of frustration
  58. Policies of Workers Party
  59. Party Promises to Abolish Tax
  60. AAA Tow Truck Co.
  61. Singo and Howard on Context
  62. Singo and Howard Blame Roosevelt for Pearl Harbour
  63. Singo and Howard on Apathy
  64. Workers Party is "not just a funny flash in the pan"
  65. Singo and Howard on Decency
  66. John Singleton in 1971 on the 2010 Federal Election
  67. Matthew, Mark, Luke & John Pty. Ltd. Advertising Agents
  68. Viv Forbes Wins 1986 Adam Smith Award
  69. The writing of the Workers Party platform and the differences between the 1975 Australian and American libertarian movements
  70. Who's Who in the Workers Party
  71. Bob Howard interviewed by Merilyn Giesekam on the Workers Party
  72. A Farewell to Armchair Critics
  73. Sukrit Sabhlok interviews Mark Tier
  74. David Russell Leads 1975 Workers Party Queensland Senate Team
  75. David Russell Workers Party Policy Speech on Brisbane TV
  76. Bludgers need not apply
  77. New party formed "to slash controls"
  78. The Workers Party
  79. Malcolm Turnbull says "the Workers party is a force to be reckoned with"
  80. The great consumer protection trick
  81. The "Workers" speak out
  82. How the whores pretend to be nuns
  83. The Workers Party is a Political Party
  84. Shit State Subsidised Socialist Schooling Should Cease Says Singo
  85. My Journey to Anarchy:
    From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
  86. Workers Party Reunion Intro
  87. Singo and Howard on Freedom from Government and Other Criminals
  88. Singo and Howard on Young People
  89. Singo and Howard Expose how Government Healthcare Controls Legislate Doctors into Slavery
  90. Singo and Howard Engage with Homosexuality
  91. Singo and Howard Demand Repeal of Libel and Slander Laws
  92. Singo and Howard on Consumer Protection
  93. Singo and Howard on Consistency
  94. Workers Party is born as foe of government
  95. Political branch formed
  96. Government seen by new party as evil
  97. Singo and Howard on Non-Interference
  98. Singo and Howard on Women's Lib
  99. Singo and Howard on Licences
  100. Singo and Howard on Gun Control
  101. Singo and Howard on Human Nature
  102. Singo and Howard on Voting
  103. Singo and Howard on
    Inherited Wealth
  104. Singo and Howard on Education
  105. Singo and Howard on Qualifications
  106. Ron Manners on the Workers Party
  107. Singo and Howard Hate Politicians
  108. Undeserved handouts make Australia the lucky country
  109. A happy story about Aborigines
  110. John Singleton on Political Advertising
  111. Richard Hall, Mike Stanton and Judith James on the Workers Party
  112. Singo Incites Civil Disobedience
  113. How John Singleton Would Make Tony Abbott Prime Minister
  114. The Discipline of Necessity
  115. John Singleton on the first election the Workers Party contested
  116. Libertarians: Radicals on the right
  117. The Bulletin on Maxwell Newton as Workers Party national spokesman on economics and politics
  118. Singo and Howard: Australia Should Pull Out of the Olympics
  119. Singo and Howard Like Foreign Investment
  120. Mark Tier corrects Nation Review on the Workers Party
  121. The impossible dream
  122. Why can't I get away with it?
  123. The bold and boring Lib/Lab shuffle
  124. Time for progress
  125. The loonie right implodes
  126. Max Newton: Maverick in Exile
  127. John Singleton on refusing to do business with criminals and economic illiterates
  128. Censorship should be banned
  129. "Listen, mate, a socialist is a bum"
  130. John Singleton on Advertising
  131. John Singleton on why he did the Hawke re-election campaign
  132. Sinclair Hill calls for dropping a neutron bomb on Canberra
  133. Bob Howard in Reason 1974-77
  134. John Singleton defends ockerism
  135. Singo and Howard talk Civil Disobedience
  136. The Census Con
  137. Singo and Howard Oppose Australian Participation in the Vietnam War
  138. Did John Singleton oppose the mining industry and privatising healthcare in 1990?
  139. Bob Carr in 1981 on John Singleton's political bent
  140. John Singleton-Ita Buttrose interview (1977)
  141. John Singleton on elections: "a Massive One-Day Sale!"
  142. John Hyde's Progress Party praise
  143. King Leonard of Hutt River Declares Defensive Just War Against Australia the Aggressor
  144. Singo says Lang Hancock violated Australia's 11th commandment: Thou Shalt Not Succeed
  145. Singleton: the White Knight of Ockerdom
  146. John Singleton bites into Sinclair Hill's beef
  147. Save Parramatta Road
  148. 1979 news item on new TV show John Singleton With a Lot of Help From His Friends
  149. Smoking, Health and Freedom
  150. Singo and Howard on Unions
  151. Singo and Howard Smash the State
  152. Singo and Howard on the big issue of Daylight Saving
  153. Come back Bob - It was all in fun!
  154. A few "chukkas" in the Senate for polo ace?
  155. Country Rejuvenation - Towards a Better Future
  156. Singo and Howard on Profits, Super Profits and Natural Disasters
  157. John Singleton's 1977 pitch that he be on a committee of one to run the Sydney 1988 Olympics for profit
  158. Thoughts on Land Ownership
  159. 1975 Max Newton-Ash Long interview on the Workers Party
  160. The Electoral Act should allow voters to choose "none of the above"
  161. The great Labor Party platform: first or last, everybody wins a prize
  162. The politics of marketing - laugh now, pay later
  163. Singo and Howard call Australia fascist and worse
  164. The mouse will roar
  165. Viv Forbes and Jim Fryar vs Malcolm Fraser in 1979
  166. Quip, Quote, Rant and Rave: four of Viv Forbes' letters to the editor in The Australian in 1979
  167. Australia's First Official Political Party Poet Laureate: The Progress Party's Ken Hood in 1979
  168. Hancock's playing very hard to get
  169. Harry M. Miller and The Australian disgrace themselves
  170. Ocker ad genius takes punt on art
  171. John Singleton 1976 ocker Monday Conference Max Harris debate
  172. John Singleton mocks university students on civil liberties and freedom of choice in 1971
  173. Murray Rothbard championed on Australian television in 1974 (pre-Workers Party!) by Maureen Nathan
  174. John Singleton profile in 1977 Australian MEN Vogue
  175. I think that I shall never see a telegraph pole as lovely as a tree
  176. Ralph Nader vs John Singleton on Consumer Protection
  177. John Singleton's first two "Think" columns in Newspaper News, 1969
  178. Singo and Howard on Ballet
  179. Product innovation comes first
  180. Protect who from a 'mindless' wife?
  181. A party is born
  182. Tiny Workers' Party gives us a hint
  183. John Singleton on the ad industry, consumerism and innovation
  184. Workers Party Economic Policy Statement, December 1975
  185. Lang Hancock on the Workers Party, secession and States Rights
  186. John Singleton and Howard on Government Largesse
  187. Counterculture must exclude government handouts
  188. John Singleton's 1974 Federal Liberal Election Campaign Ads
  189. John Singleton believes in the Workers Party
  190. Write-up of John Singleton's 1978 speech to the Australian Liberal Students Association
  191. Singo in 1987: "Joh doesn't go far enough ... I want absolute deregulation of the economy"
  192. Maxwell Newton chapter of Clyde Packer's No Return Ticket (1984)
  193. Singo and Howard on Totalitarian Socialism and Voluntary Socialism
  194. Rip Van Australia on Ripoff Vandals Taxing Australia
  195. Singo and Howard beg for tolerance
  196. John Singleton's 1985 advertising comeback
  197. Singo and Howard Demand End to Public Transport
  198. John Singleton and Howard on Fred Nile, Festival of Light, FamilyVoice Australia and the Christian Lobby
  199. Capitalism: Survival of the Fittest
  200. Return Australia Post to Sender
  201. Singo and Howard on Public Utilities
  202. John Singleton and Howard say monarchy should be funded by monarchists alone
  203. John Singleton on cigarette advertising
  204. Singo in 1972 on newspapers' demise
  205. John Singleton farewells Bryce Courtenay
  206. John Singleton on Australian political advertising in 1972
  207. Gortlam rides again
  208. Announcement that Lang Hancock will be guest of honour at the Workers Party launch
  209. John Singleton on trading stamps, idiot housewives and government
  210. 1975 John Singleton-Sir Robert Askin Quadrant Interview
  211. Singo asks two prickly questions
  213. Why John Singleton can't keep a straight face
  214. Why John Singleton Defends Smokers Rights
  215. Tony Dear on Paul Krutulis, the Workers Party and murder
  216. An Ode to Busybodies
  217. Progress Party and Workers Party lead The Australian
  218. How many tits in a tangle?
  219. Viv Forbes in 1978 on loss-making government, the Berlin Wall and misdirected blasts of hot-air
  220. John Singleton wants the Post Office sold and anti-discrimination legislation scrapped
  221. A speech from the Titanic
  222. A crime must have a victim
  223. John Singleton vs Australia Post
  224. Minimum wages the killer
  225. Has Fraser got his priorities all wrong?
  226. John Singleton says "the royal family should be flogged off to the U.S."
  227. John Singleton vs Don Chipp and the Australian Democrats
  228. John Singleton vs Don Lane
  229. John Singleton. Horseracing. Why?
  230. John Singleton's 1986 reflection on the Workers Party
  231. Bob Howard in 1978 on libertarianism in Australia
  232. John Singleton on the stupidity of anti-discrimination laws
  233. Thou shalt know the facts ... before thou shoot off thou mouth
  234. Charity: An Aesop Fable
  235. Bob Howard announces the Workers Party in freeEnterprise
  236. New improved moon
  237. Announcing people ... YES, people!
  238. Creativity in advertising must be pointed dead on target
  239. John Singleton on barriers to, and opportunities for, effective communication
  240. Wayne Garland on John Singleton on Advertising
  241. John Singleton schools ad course
  242. John Singleton: advertising awards
  243. Mr Singleton Goes to Canberra for Australian Playboy
  244. John Singleton on his TV career for Australian Playboy
  245. John Singleton sacked for telling the truth about Medicare
Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5