Exposing the crime and providing the cure

  I will start by reminding you that foreign corporations now own many of our most profitable corporations and are permitted to send their profits overseas.  Under the current Double Taxation Agreement enacted by the Menzies [Liberal-Country] Government in 1953, companies registered in foreign countries are not required to pay the same taxation as those companies whose headquarters are in Australia.

  In point of fact, even Australian-owned enterprises can use the Double Taxation Agreement to evade and avoid income tax by transferring their headquarters to a foreign address, with the result that whereas a factory worker is required to meet an up-front PAYE [Pay As You Earn] tax of 30 cents in the dollar, a billionaire is able to employ sharp accountants and highly-paid legal experts on tax avoidance and evasion that will reduce his income tax to as little as nine cents in the dollar.

Hon. Clyde R. Cameron, A.O., "Exposing the crime and providing the cure"
Address at annual general meeting of the
Georgist Council of Australia Inc., in Melbourne, 30 May 1997

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  The Hawke [Labor] Government's decision to deregulate our financial system has allowed foreign banks and foreign multinational corporations to combine for the purpose of capturing control of nearly all of our most profitable undertakings.

  It is no longer necessary for a foreign power to employ troops to invade our country in order to capture control of its wealth.  Foreigners can now achieve that end by using dollars to do their dirty work.  It is much cheaper than using their troops, warships, bombers and tanks; and what's more, their invasion will be welcomed with open arms and fabulous tax concessions.

  The Japanese, whose troops and fire-power failed in their attempted invasion of our country fifty-odd years ago, have now won ownership of most of the Gold Coast, as well as billions of dollars worth of property in Cairns and other parts of Australia, without risking the life of a single soldier or firing a single shot.

  Labor voters also shared my sadness in seeing the Hawke Government selling publicly-owned assets to the profiteers of private enterprise.

  The privatisation of the Commonwealth Bank was that Government's greatest blunder.  What it should have done was to follow Ben Chifley's example and abolish the Board that was controlling the Bank's policy so that it could once again be permitted to actively compete against the private banks by offering higher rates of interest to depositors, lower interest charges to borrowers, and prevent the lucrative bank fees that are now being charged by all banks, including the Commonwealth Bank.

  Originally sold by the"Labor" Government for only $5.50 a share, Commonwealth Bank shares a few days ago had risen to $14.78, or more than $9.00 a share above the price at which they were bought.

   During the 31 years [1949 - 1980] I was a Member of the House of Representatives I sat opposite nine Members who had once served as anti-Labor Prime Ministers. They were Billy Hughes, Earle Page, Bob Menzies, Artie Fadden, Harold Holt, Jack McEwen, John Gorton, Billy McMahon and Malcolm Fraser.

  However, at no time did any one of those Tory Prime Ministers ever propose or even suggest that they favoured the privatisation of the publicly-owned Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

  Their judgement was that if the Commonwealth Bank fell into the hands of private enterprise there would be nothing to prevent an arrangement being made that would result in the profits of private banks reaching disgustingly high levels.

  That, in fact, is what has now happened!  The profits of the now privately-owned Commonwealth Bank is now more than a billion dollars a year.  The ANZ and Westpac banks are also making record profits; and the profit of the National Australia Bank this year will exceed $2 billion!

  Another hallmark of the present system was the widespread corruption revealed by the Fitzgerald Inquiry in Queensland; the Costigan Royal Commission in Victoria; the Rouse Inquiry in Tasmania; the revelations of corruption in New South Wales; and the WA Inc. Royal Commission which proved that the souls of some politicians, public servants and police officers are now for sale. 

  The terrible truth is that this country is fast becoming so corrupt that lucre very often cuts more ice than logic.

  The former Premier of Western Australia and Ambassador to Ireland, is now in gaol after being found guilty of stealing more than $120,000 from the Labor Party, and he admitted that between $7 million and $8 million in donations received from wealthy businessmen had been deposited in his Leader's Account while he was Premier.  His Deputy Premier, David Parker, was sent to gaol for giving false evidence to the WA Inc. Royal Commission on how he came to be in possession of large sums of cash.

  We are now living in a country in which if a hungry man steals a loaf of bread he becomes a criminal; but if a billionaire steals a bank he is hailed as a business genius!

  In last year's election 600,000 former Labor voters turned their backs on the "Labor" Government.  And according to a recent public opinion poll, those who swung to the Coalition Parties are already leaving the Liberal chariot in droves.

  The plain truth of the situation is that our voters are fed up with both the Labor Party and the Coalition Parties.  They are desperately looking for a credible alternative.  So desperate, in fact, that they re-elected Graeme Campbell in Western Australia and Pauline Hanson in Queensland. 

  Pauline, who has no policy for curing her complaints, is now polling a higher percentage of support than the Australian Democrats.

  For 13 years our Federal Labor Governments allowed themselves to come under the spell of economic rationalism, which resulted in a rising level of unemployment, adverse trade balances and a huge foreign debt.  The Liberal Government will be no better!

  Voters won't go on forever oscillating between the Labor and Liberal Parties while their country falls deeper and deeper into the mire.

  Unlike Pauline Hanson, Graeme Campbell, and the major Parties, Georgists do have a policy that cures the present crisis; but if we want people to listen to what we have to offer, we must do more than we are now doing to expose and oppose the current system.

  Ms Pauline Hanson MHR is busy listing her criticisms which is what accounts for her popularity, but she doesn't say how she intends to remedy the disease.  We must not only hammer hell out of our rulers' mistakes but we must explain to our listeners that there is an alternative which will bring an end to the present maldistribution of wealth.

  In the first ten years that the Hawke-Keating Government presided over Australia's economy, Australia's richest 200 individuals increased their wealth by 30 per cent to reach a staggering $28.5 billion.  Add to that sum the wealth of Australia's 20 richest families, and we find that this tiny handful of people owned assets worth $36.7 billion; and in the three years since 1993, their enormous wealth has grown even greater!

  However, during the same ten-year period the bottom ten per cent of wage-earners saw their real wage fall by five per cent!

  Less than two years ago (20 December 1995) John Deutch, the Director of America's CIA, warned that in the next decade international terrorism will increase dramatically in the United States of America and other Western countries.

  The polarisation now taking place between the very rich and the rest of society must eventually produce a social crisis that will lead to a bloodbath unless the Parliament corrects the injustice of the present system by peaceful means.

  I repeat that Australia now has a million men and women who are unemployed, of which number more than 30 per cent are young people.  Altogether, three million Australians are now living on social welfare.

  Those who viewed the recent television segment telling of the scores of unemployed teenagers who are committing suicide, and told of the happy homes being destroyed by poverty, will not be surprised by Deutch's warning that the world is moving towards an era of deadly violence.  It is already happening in Africa.  Bombings in America have resulted in hundreds of people being killed.

  In Australia we have had the Port Arthur massacre, followed by an increasing number of murders.  Drug addiction is growing day by day.

  This situation cannot be ignored!  We must join the countless thousands who are condemning the existing order, but we must tell them how it can be brought to an end.

  So, if we want people to listen to the solution we offer, we must begin by emphasising our disgust with what is now happening to the people of our country.

  We must let the electorate know that we are opposed to what is now happening; and that we have the recipe for a cure.

  We must do more than we have been doing, to remind the 600,000 battlers who deserted Labor in last year's election, that our solution is one that was always included in the Platform of the Australian Labor Party for more than 70 years after it was first established in 1891.

  The Labor Party's commitment to the collection of the economic rent of land was not deleted from its Platform by a resolution of its supreme policy-making body.  It was removed by subterfuge and quietly forgotten by the Party's parliamentary wing.

  If we follow the course I have put to you tonight we can, and will, be able to prove to grassroot Laborites that Georgists are much closer to the real Labor Party of yesteryear than many of those who now pose as the Party's heroes. -- Clyde Cameron, A.O.; 68 years Australian Labor Party membership, Labor Member of the House of Representatives 1949 to 1980, Minister in the Whitlam Government 1972 to 1975; delivered on 30 May 1997, at the annual general meeting of the Georgist Council of Australia Inc.,  at 31 Hardware Street, Melbourne.

  For worldwide examples of politicians helping the very wealthy minority, and vice-versa, sometimes called "Corporate Welfare," click: Multinationals' News, Australia,  http://www.multiline.com.au/~georgist/tncnews.htm
World Development Movement , London, http://www.wdm.org.uk/background/multinat.htm  
Corporate Welfare, U.S.A., http://dir.yahoo.com/Government/U_S__Government/Budget/Corporate_Welfare/
MAI News -- Multilateral Agreement on Investment, http://www.multiline.com.au/~georgist/mainews.htm

Tagged on AOLPress/2.0   09 June 1999, (18kb), last revised 06 June 2000
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