September 10th 2016

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY 'Born that way' far from being scientifically verified

CANBERRA OBSERVED Malcolm's 25-point action plan is a bit dusty

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Chinese Australians deplore Mao celebration

U.S. POLITICS A superficial comparison: Donald is no Ronald

VIETNAM MEMOIR Reminder of communist tyranny from a good man

AUSTRALIAN MILITARY HISTORY 10 more awards for Long Tan after 50-year delay

EUTHANASIA BOOK REVIEW Moving stories by no means the whole story

UNITED STATES LABOUR The dwindling state of the States' unions

MUSIC The past is a present and enduring danger

CINEMA Stop-motion serves memory: Kubo and the Two Strings

BOOK REVIEW The West's left turn into today


EDITORIAL 'Free market' ideology a failure: economists

Books promotion page


News Weekly, September 10, 2016

Kirby’s ‘alien’ claim

Former High Court Justice Michael Kirby tells us (ABC online, August 23) that a plebiscite on same-sex marriage is “alien” to our constitution.

How unusual for a former judge to scorn a people’s vote. It is well known that those promoting same-sex marriage fear a plebiscite or referendum on the subject. They consider it unwinnable.

The public and media comment on same-sex marriage is one sided. There are forced limitations on the discussions of marriage between a man and a woman, as such discussions are deemed to be discriminatory.

Archbishop Julian Porteous of Hobart found that out when he received a notice to appear before a Human Rights Commissioner over the publication of a booklet explaining Catholic teaching on marriage to families within Catholic schools.

Promoters of same-sex marriage prefer to wear down parliamentarians with a ceaseless flow of bills on the subject. Is that wayward behaviour constitutional? Not in my book.

Robert Bom,
West Rockhampton, Qld.


Look to your past, Liberals

Malcolm Turnbull has scraped home. But the election cannot be regarded as a victory for either the Liberals or the ALP.

In the Division of Longman, we kicked  out Wyatt Roy. He was an anti-Abbott conspirator whose spendthrift ways cost the Australian Taxpayer $308,000 just to fit out his office. He was pro-abortion and against the LNP position on same-sex marriage. Better if the little boy joined the Greens or, in Bob Katter’s words, went away and played with his toys.

In effect, I would be happy to vote for the Coalition if it returned to being the party of Sir Robert Menzies, which was in favour of or at least tolerated:

Low taxes, when those taxes were fair and equitable and sufficient to run essential government programs.

Centralised wage fixing, meaning, everyone got a fair share of the pie.

Tariff protection for Australia’s manufacturers; meaning a car industry that we could afford, Australian-produced brooms, electrical goods and clothing. Liberal policies – supported by the ALP – have wiped out the car industry in Geelong, government clothing factories in Ballarat and Bendigo, and broom manufacturers in Adelaide, Strathpine, Rockhampton and on the Tweed River.

Centralised marketing for Australian agricultural products. In 30 years LNP policies have reduced the number of dairy farmers from nearly 22,000 to 6,000.

Fixed exchange rates so exports were viable and imports pricing was stable.

Government-owned enter-prises: Commonwealth Bank, Australian National Line, Qantas, railways, clothing factories.

Infrastructure development: the Snowy Mountains Scheme, the Ord River Development, beef roads, paid for by government (something Liberals seem to have forgotten).

Family. Under Menzies, abortion and sodomy were criminal offences.

Wyatt Roy represented a part of the Liberal Party that is divorced from the party of Menzies. Menzies reportedly voted DLP in retirement because the Libs (and now the ALP) were more right wing economically than any of Menzies’ cabinets had been and were as morally degenerate as the Greens are today.

We need an alternative to the right-wing social-libertarian economic rationalist anti-family anti-industry anti-worker group that the Liberal Party has morphed into and the ALP is doing its best to imitate.

Wyatt Roy’s defeat shows that no Liberal can be elected without the support of a coalition of voters consisting of traditional Liberal-National voters along with workers, self-employed tradesmen and farmers, and those who voted for minor conservative parties.

Roy was only the second Coalition candidate to be preferenced below  the ALP by the DLP (2010) and the only Coalition candidate ever to be preferenced below the ALP (2016) by all minor parties, including Family First; which I regard as nothing but a front for the Liberal Party.

The ALP’s semi-trailer sign stating “Wyatt Roy just does not get it” sums it up perfectly.

However, for Susan Lamb, the victorious ALP candidate, not to suffer the same fate in 2018–19, the ALP needs to recognise that it cannot get elected with a coalition of trade-union officials and inner-city ideological lefties. It needs the support of country and outer-suburban voters to win. It needs the support of those who did not vote ALP in 2016.

It needs also to keep the preferences of those like me who preferenced the ALP because the Liberal candidate was unfit for office.

For the ALP to win a general election, it needs the Liberal Party to keep endorsing the likes of Campbell Newman and Wyatt Roy.

If I had been enrolled in the adjoining electorate of Petrie, I would have preferenced the LNP. Our vote/preference is dependent upon who is endorsed by both major parties.

Clearly the next election will be decided by those of us who are economically “Third Way” Distributist and socially more conservative than the major parties.

Just as Donald Trump cannot win the United States presidential election by moving to the right, the Liberals cannot win by appealing to economic libertarians; and the ALP cannot win by appealing for ever more social degeneracy.

Andrew Jackson,
Burpengary, Qld.

No bill of rights

Further to Dr Augusto Zimmermann’s article (News Weekly, August 27, 2016) on the meaning of marriage in the Australian Constitution and the High Court’s definition of marriage in the ACT case in 2013.

Given the constitution does not have a bill of rights, it does not limit the power of government vis-à-vis the people of Australia, instead it distributes plenary powers between federal and state governments. Thus, the High Court’s decision seems to mean that the essential elements of marriage as at 1900 were irrelevant. All the High Court had to decide was which level of government, federal or state, has the power to make laws regulating marriage, including defining what are the essential elements of marriage.

For better or worse, the decision avoided federal and state jurisdictions having competing “types” of marriage, which would have undermined the purpose in giving this power to the Commonwealth in the first place.

Chris Hilder,
Queanbeyan, NSW


WA renewables a mistake

Doctors for the Environment, Australia, are misguided in congratulating West Australian Treasurer Mike Nahan for plans to double the amount of renewable energy in Western Australia over the next four years.

Just look around the world where Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Britain and others have invested strongly in renewable energy and closed down many coal-fired power stations. The result has been a dramatic increase in energy costs; so much so that these countries are reverting to coal-fired power stations to regain international energy competitiveness.

South Australia has suffered the same consequences with unsustainable energy cost rises as a result of switching from coal to renewables.

It is in WA’s vital economic interest to keep energy costs as low as possible to achieve energy competitiveness, nationally and internationally. Coal-fired power is the lowest-cost energy.

As for the claim that our health will win as we will no longer suffer from fossil-fuel polluted air, it is important to note that coal-fired power stations, using clean coal technology, do not emit pollution. They do, however, emit carbon dioxide (CO2), which is essential for life on Earth. The more CO2 in the atmosphere, the more abundant will be life on Earth.

Recent satellite data shows the amount of green vegetation on the planet has increased by 14 per cent since 1982, that it has happened in all eco systems but especially in arid tropical areas, and that it is due, in large part, to man-made CO2 emissions.

No empirical evidence supports the statement: “Climate change … is already significantly costing the health of West Australians through increased heat waves and bushfires.”

Despite the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere of about 2 per cent a year over the last couple of decades, the Earth’s temperature has cooled during much of that time.

Denis Whitely,
Mount Lawley, WA


Gold standard

I am grateful for the carefully analytical comments of Alix Turner on my article in News Weekly (August 13, 2016).

I would like to make a few comments on his observations, but first a clarification. I did not say “creating additional currency and credit will automatically energise the economy”. What I said was if the economy was operating at less than full capacity (which ours is) then government spending into the real economy was the only means by which that surplus capacity could be brought into use.

By contrast the Government (and Opposition) seem to believe that growth can be achieved by cutting back on government spending and thereby contracting an already underperforming economy. Quite how that will lead to growth is never made clear.

As to the position of Alan Greenspan on fiat currencies like those of the United States and ours, the text I quoted came from a speech he gave to the Catholic University Leuven, Belgium, on January 14, 1997, when he was still chairman of the Federal Reserve. It is worth reading in full. I would be interested in the source of any later comment he made contradicting his comments in Belgium.

In Australia the government has established the Australian dollar as the unit of account for transactions/contracts involving exchanges of goods and services. It is widely accepted in this role; further, it is the only means by which our citizens can clear their tax obligations.

Mr Turner seems attracted to gold as a store of value. But it, as a commodity, moves back and forth, as does our currency, in accordance with the ebb and flow of demand.

Further, as an instrument for backing the financing of international trade it has a fundamental flaw. Used strictly, it must mean that the volume of trading will be limited to the amount of gold available to back the currency.

It also means that the price of gold has to be fixed artificially. For example, in the Bretton Woods agreement, concluded among the Western countries after the end of World War II, the U.S. decided that its dollar could be the unit account for international trade tied to the price of gold at $US32 an ounce.

In other words, the U.S. guaranteed to provide an ounce of gold to anyone who presented the government with $US32. Bretton Woods collapsed in 1972 when the U.S. could no longer honour that commitment. Why? Because gold producers would not sell gold for that price. In the marketplace the metal was worth much more. Also people were bombarding the U.S. government with dollar bills to exchange for gold at $US32 an ounce.

In the modern world with so many more international transactions now taking place, a currency backed by gold is simply impossible.

Colin Teese,
Toorak, Vic.

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