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Ron Manners’ ideas
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Lang Hancock, “Come on you Liberals — what about being dinkum?,”
Sunday Independent, October 20, 1974, p. 20.

Anybody who has studied the latest platform of the Liberal Party emanating from their recent Federal Council meeting, and Mr Snedden’s qualifying remarks, must seriously wonder which section of the community is expected to vote for Liberal at the next election.

Certainly no person who holds genuine, free enterprise, liberal principles could possibly vote for him. In essence, it is a mere re-hash of the actions of the present Labor Party, or as one newspaper puts it: “The document itself is in many cases a copy of the Labor Party decisions of years gone by,” and another reports them as dropping their anti-Communism stand.

Let’s assume for one moment that Mr Snedden and his merry men were to take over the reins of Government. Is anybody naive enough to believe that the affairs of this country would be conducted in any manner different from what they are today?

Would the AIDC be disbanded? Would the regulation of our currency be taken out of the hands of rank amateurs? Would the Reserve Bank be closed, or at least its power curtailed to within reasonable limits? Would the advisers whom the Whitlam Government inherited from the McMahon Government (the worst of whom the preceding Liberal Government inherited from Chifley) be dispensed with?

The answers to all these queries is, of course, “no”, so that the ship of State would roll along on its present, sorry, downhill course. Government spending would continue; industry would be further disrupted by the “econuts” white-anted by subversives with all sorts of restrictions on obtaining capital; particularly for high risk areas pertaining to the development of Australia’s natural resources.

In short, the country would suffer the expense of another election and finish up in the same sorry plight, with Snedlam running for President.

The Liberals should use their time out of office to reform the Party from top to bottom, starting with their method of selection of candidates because it is vital to get better men in Parliament.

They should make themselves distinct from the socialist practices to which they and the Labor Party have been adhering for years. They should become a free enterprise, fiercely competitive, capitalist orientated group sworn to uphold the freedom of the individual, dedicated the reversal of Parkinson’s Law, the raising of the standard of living of Australians and the defence of this country from Communist overlordship.


The one basic difference between the Labor Party and the Liberal Party is that at present, the Labor Party has a leader and if the Liberal Party cannot produce one from their own ranks, they should give some thought to co-opting Mr Whitlam as their head man, following pretty much the precedent set by former distinguished Labor leaders Billy Hughes and Joe Lyons.

Most of the difficulties under which this country are at present suffering have been laid at Mr Whitlam’s door by the “news media,” but a moment’s reflection will show that even if the Government of the day made the decisions Mr Whitlam has an unwieldy Cabinet of 95 in the form of an uninformed Caucus, which in the ALP has power to overrule the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Furthermore, Mr Whitlam has no authority to sack any inefficient Ministers, so that with the best will in the world, he is not in any position to govern — particularly as the real controllers of our destiny are the big pressure groups such as the bureaucracy, the trade unions, the manufacturing lobby and the media.

As leader of the Liberal Party (they will probably have to change their name to accommodate Mr Whitlam), he would be the absolute boss of Cabinet in much the same way as Sir Robert Menzies was. He should then listen carefully to the advice of the Government advisers, study it carefully, analyse it, make certain he understands it, then do the exact opposite to what they recommend.

History has shown that had the very opposite of the advice of these experts been implemented over the last decade or so, Australia today would be a thriving nation, and not in the throes of galloping inflation leading to a depression of the worst kind.

As things stand at the moment, the economic condition of Australia will continue to slide downhill, particularly under the influence of Dr Cairns, aided and abetted by the squanderings of the multitude of heavy spending new departments which have been set up under the guise of caring for the “quality of life.”

Seeing that we can expect no change (or benefit) but merely a continuation of the deterioration of the ultimate welfare of the Australian people, it would seem that there is one hope — and one hope only — left to us, and that is for WA to secede from the Commonwealth under a constitution which limits the power of Government to spend money in vote-buying directions. In this way, we would be unique among all democracies of the world because all are handicapped by this disability, whereby each side is forced to conduct a “Dutch auction” with the taxpayers’ money in extorting the populace to vote for them. This handout condition as a prerequisite to winning at the polls is the main reason why inflation is a world-wide phenomenon.


In other words, any Government which is dependent on the ballot box for its existence can never afford to put a stopper on unqualified Government spending which is the mainspring of inflation. The nearest approach to this ideal is the West German constitution, which places the Treasurer outside the control of Cabinet, answerable only to Parliament and with his capacity to spend money limited under the new constitution. Germany has learned the lesson of inflation and all the horrors that a total breakdown brings — in their case, leading to the rise of Hitler. It is because the Germans understand the horrors of inflation through stark experience that they have framed their constitution to control Government spending. It is therefore no fluke that their rate of inflation in an inflationary world is now running at no more than 4.8 per cent.

Come on you Liberals. Shake the dust out of your brains and the socialist practices from your Party leaders. Insist on a free enterprise platform. Have a look at the following for a starter:

  1. Make a wide and clear demarcation from ALP socialist/confiscatory policies.
  2. Cut Government spending — reverse Parkinson’s Law.
  3. Reduce the power and size of the bureaucracy, particularly the Reserve Bank.
  4. Abolish the AIDC (which is the main instrument of nationalisation and confiscation) and rescind the Financial Corporation Bill.
  5. Gradually reduce the number of Government departments. As a principle, the last to come should be the first to go.
  6. Reduce taxation drastically, particularly in areas that are employment-providing.
  7. Wipe out payroll tax, which is a penalty on people giving employment as well as adding to cost-push inflation.
  8. Break the rising cost spiral overnight by abolishing sales tax and subsidising cost of living items on which the unions claims for increases are based.
  9. Tie our currency to an average of the world’s four major currencies — the US dollar, the German mark, the Japanese yen and the pound sterling; allow trading in gold.
  10. Guarantee security of tenure and of investment; Uphold the principle of private ownership and state categorically that the Government’s duty is to “define rights”, not to confiscate them and distribute them in the form of largesse to its friends.
  11. Invite the Americans to establish a naval and air base on North West Cape, and make it available to the navies and airforces of the Western world.
  12. Enter the nuclear age so that Australia (which unless there is a dramatic change in Government policy will be out of oil in 10 years) is not held over a barrel by the oil producing states.
  13. Come into line with the rest of the world competing for capital and attract large scale risk capital with generous tax allowances.
  14. Transfer the emphasis on education spending away from the erection of costly buildings which are only used for low percentage of hours in the year. In other words, use a businesslike approach to the utilisation of the thousands of millions of dollars that are tied up in these buildings — factories and mines are run on a 24-hour basis, 365 days of the year.
  15. Broaden education — remove its base from that of socialist State education. It should be axiomatic that the more affluent the society, the less the taxpayer should pay for education.
  16. Slaughter a number of other “sacred cows” that consume inflationary Government funds.
  17. Preserve Australia’s right to Christmas Island, where phosphate rock costs us less than $8 a tonne, while the only alternative is the Middle-East, costing $60 a tonne. (Imagine the cost of the housewives bread if the Australian farmer is confronted with such an increase?)
  18. Reorganise the Liberal Party’s pre-selection system so that the best candidates are selected, and make it known that candidates will be selected on merit ONLY, not by means of lobbying, as at present.
  19. Help rebuild the DLP to attract votes from the ALP (this could tip the balance in 20-30 seats).
  20. Work towards an alliance with those Middle-East countries who have industrial ambitions and surplus oil as a counter towards Australia’s almost total dependence on Japan.
  21. Decentralise without cost to the taxpayer by encouraging the development of large-scale mining and primary industry.
  22. Exclude mining from the Take-over Act as capital of this magnitude is beyond the scope or willingness of Australians to provide.
  23. Election of union officers of the main unions to be by secret postal vote under the control of the State Electoral Office.
  24. Outlaw inter-union and other strikes not related to wages and conditions.
  25. Rebate taxes to offset the rising cost of oil to the public — for instance, the risk-taking producer at present gets 5 cents a barrel. The Government adds 22.5 cents a barrel by way of tax, therefore in the event of the producer raising his price, there is plenty of scope for the Government to rebate without the added cost being passed on to the motorist.
  26. Limit the power of Government to squander taxpayers’ money. An example which could be followed is West Germany, where the inflation rate is only 4.8 per cent. This was achieved because the Treasurer is free of direction from Cabinet, is limited to what he can spend by the Constitution, and has to report directly to Parliament.
  27. The best way to serve the public is to make your business profitable — to produce more, create more jobs and by so doing, relieve the burden the Government imposes on the taxpayer.

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