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Dear Government

December 20th, 2012 by admin

Viv Forbes
Written April 1998.

It was Gough Whitlam, I think, who said:

“It must be election time – I can feel a dam coming on”.

It was also probably Gough’s political adviser, who, at the start of a vote buying tour of regional Australia, advised his chief:

“If they’ve got a river, promise them a dam. If not, promise them a college of advanced education.”

Working on the observation that the only time the butterflies in Parliament even pretend to listen to us toads who employ them, is during election time, it is probably a good time to offer them all some advice. This open letter is thus directed to all candidates from all parties in both Queensland and Federal electorates, and their staff, advisers lobbyists and wordsmiths. (That probably gives a potential audience of several million.)

Dear Government,

Please stop doing things to us – you have done too much already.
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Playing Favourites

December 20th, 2012 by admin

Viv Forbes
Written December 1997.

Justice should not be influenced by the status, size, wealth, nationality, age, religion, political belief or gender of those who seek it. This is why the universal symbol of justice comprises the scales, for impartially weighing the evidence, the sword, for swift punishment of the guilty, and the blindfold, to eliminate bias, favouritism or nepotism in the judge.

Democracy, however, causes vote-seeking politicians to play favourites for electoral support. Every party identifies a constituency and sets about buying their votes with a combination of bribes for the favourites and bashings for their enemies.

Thus the Nationals like to be seen bribing family farmers, while bashing the banks. Liberals bribe business while bashing unions. Labor tries to woo the workers, particularly public servants and unionists, while being seen to bash bosses, particularly if they are big, rich, or foreign corporations.

Apart from these permanent political perversions of justice, any other noisy minority that emerges (such as the environment or the aboriginal industry) will be bribed by all politicians, and their unloved enemies and victims (such as pastoral and mining companies) can be bashed with impunity.

In the process, some untouchables arise such as “the battlers”, small business, and the health and education industries. No politician dares to be seen to harm these sacred cows, no matter how outrageous their demands for discriminatory legislation or government handouts.

Government, however, is a zero sum game. Bribes and favours can only be delivered at the expense of other groups in the community. Every bribe requires a tax to fund it; every favourable regulation generates its own red tape victim.
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Sideshows and Secret Agendas

December 20th, 2012 by admin

Viv Forbes
Written October 1997.

Australia has real problems – over-taxation, stifling centralisation, monetary mismanagement, depopulation of the bush, and the burning question of whether we are to be one nation or two.

None of these real problems stem from our historic ties to the British Monarchy, but politicians and the media are about to offer us a distraction – “The Great Republic Sideshow”. Even more disturbing, the sideshow is likely to be a stalking horse for those with a secret agenda. Many republican zealots see this as an opportunity for a dramatic increase in the power of politicians, especially federal politicians. I see little upside and much downside from the whole sideshow.

As Dame Leonie Kramer has put it, the Queen is a symbol of our constitutional arrangements, while the Governor General is actually our head of state. It is striking to recall that the only attempt to involve our current Queen in Australia’s government was when Gough tried to over-rule an Australian Governor General in 1975. The Queen replied politely that the Australian constitution placed all constitutional matters in the hands of the Governor General. As Sir David Smith puts it “That, surely, put an end to all nonsense about Australia’s sovereignty, independence and national identity being centred on London.”

Over 100 years ago, that famous English novelist Anthony Trollope said “No form of government has given so large a measure of individual freedom to all who live under it as a constitutional monarchy in which the crown is divested of direct political power”.
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