John Singleton with Bob Howard, Rip 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.
- 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.
- Buy copies of the Budget papers when they are released each year.
- Buy copies of the Year Books — Federal and State.
- 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
- 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