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Friday, 5 October 1984
Page: 1342

Senator PETER RAE(3.41) — The Senate this afternoon is debating a matter of public importance moved by Senator Kathy Martin with her usual skill and attention to detail. That matter of public importance is:

The deception perpetrated on Australians by the Hawke Government's introduction of Socialism by stealth.

Senator Martin was cut short by time from completing the quote which she had from certain London investment advisers in relation to what people ought to do about Australia. The last part that she was not able to quote reads:

Faced by a government which is essentially hostile to resource development and innately contemptuous of private enterprise perhaps it would be better to leave investment in Australia to the international institutions just like any other third world country.

Having listened to Senator Grimes's speech I am more confirmed than ever before that the year is 1984 and that George Orwell made only one mistake. He talked about newspeak instead of Hawkespeak. If ever we have heard a load of Hawkespeak nonsense we heard it from Senator Grimes this afternoon. Let me talk for a minute about the nonsense of the prices and incomes accord. All the functions of government are to be taken over by this new corporate state-the corporate state of the unions and the Government, the industrial wing and the political wing of the Australian Labor Party. We had the theatre of the National Economic Summit Conference. It was sheer theatre. It was perhaps thespian joy to many. However, those who fear for the future of this country could see that it was in so many ways a confidence trick. What we find happening in this country is well set out in an article by Katharine West published in the Bulletin of 26 June of this year. When referring to the Government she said:

Nor its determined attempts to undermine the independent bargaining power of both business and the trade unions-forcing them instead to take direct responsibility for decisions actually made by Government ministers and public servants.

She went on to comment a little further about the Hawke revolution which drew forth some very interesting comments in the edition of the Bulletin of 14 August 1984. The author of a letter said:

There is no doubt that we are experiencing political shifts which threaten to concentrate power in the hands of the few.

The author also said:

The 1984 ALP conference has reinforced and accelerated this trend and the formation of the Hawke corporate state. Skilful balancing of powerful forces, some solid arm-twisting behind closed doors and a dash of public theatre have produced a recipe which will reinforce the power of organised labor, big business and the Hawke Government.

But clearly the corporate state does not care for people.

The author of that letter was Senator Don Chipp, the Leader of the Australian Democrats in this chamber, so I have his support for what I am saying. When we look to see what the newspapers say about it we find that on Tuesday, 13 September 1983, the Australian said:

Without any doubt, the outcome of the summit was all about improving the living standards of those still left with jobs and not about making the maximum effort to help those without them.

This is the problem. Whilst some cosmetic financial deregulation has taken place under this Government, it has really been about entrenching power in the hands of the few at the expense of the many. This Government has not been about overcoming unemployment in Australia, which is a great and growing concern, but about ensuring that it will be able to control power indefinitely. It was made so clear by Senator Grimes this afternoon in everything that he had to say that his interest was in whether his Government would stay in power, not about whether he would overcome some of the problems to which Senator Martin adverted and to which many other people have been adverting. Many people in the community are concerned and will express their concern when they get a chance to vote.

Let me talk about the shallowness of the recovery which this Government inherited. It inherited a recovery in which as a result of the wages pause which had been introduced by the former Government, the recovery from the drought- there can be only one recovery from a drought so there can be no benefit from it more than once-the United States recovery and the world recovery we had a situation of a temporary but relatively shallow recovery in the economy. If we look at the manufacturing industry which is a very good test of what has been happening, we find that the figures for the past 18 months show that there has been a steady decline in the rate of growth compared with that for the last quarter. There has been an actual fall in productivity. If we consider retailing figures we find that the major retailers of Australia are unable to find the alleged statistical uprise in the retail sector. If the major retailers of Australia are unable to find it, I think it very unlikely that the corner store would be able to.

There has been a major but temporary growth as a result of the Government's pump priming through the housing policy. This has had a very beneficial effect for a large number of Australians and has certainly been beneficial to employment. However, what has it done to public sector borrowing requirements? The public sector borrowing requirements have doubled in the past two years. The impact of that must be to further threaten those who think of investing in the private sector, of investing in housing other than through some government sponsored scheme and theaten those who think they might do anything on their own behalf other than through the controlled areas of government. The accord again had that impact. The accord had the impact of threatening the growth of this country. It demands that the Australian Council of Trade Unions be given access to confidential Budget information which is denied even to the Economic Planning Advisory Council. The position is that because of the accord, the selfish accord , the document which is for the haves in employment rather than for the have nots, we have not seen any real solutions in industry. What we have seen is the sort of thing that came out of the industry policy discussion at the ALP conference in July, namely the resolution which reads:

Conference affirms that interventionist policies which are closely monitored and comprehensive in nature are necessary to bring about the growth which is required on a sustained basis if unemployment is to fall on a continuous path.

Fundamental to the interventionist policies required is a planning mechanism.

In a letter circulated by the Minister for Health, Dr Blewett, crowing about the Centre Left's success at the National Conference with the industry platform it was said that the Centre Left encouraged and facilitated negotiations between the Minister and the metalworkers in pursuit of an agreed policy. That is another bit of Hawkespeak because the position in fact has been as set out in the Australian Financial Review of 13 July 1984 under the heading 'Unions force revisions to the industry platform'. The article states:

Industry development agreements on investment, pricing and employment will be written into the ALP industry policy platform today under a strongly-bargained deal between the Minister for Industry and Commerce, Senator Button, and an alliance of metal unions and the Labor left and right wings.

Senator Button —And right wings.

Senator PETER RAE —There was a big flap on, from what I heard, so I suppose the Party had both wings going. We then find reported in the Weekend Australian of 14-15 July this headline: 'Pockets of disquiet greet new ALP industry strategy'. Very significant criticism was made of the new ALP policy-the interventionist nature of it, the extent to which it did not take into account the interests of small business, the extent to which it gave power to the two wings of the ALP, the political wing and the industrial wing. We found in the Australian Financial Review of 17 July an article headed 'Council rejects new planned market concept' . The article stated:

The Business Council of Australia warned the Federal Government of strong business resistance to the AMFSU-inspired shift towards government and union intervention in industry policy which was incorporated in the ALP's platform last week.

I do not have the time to read in more detail the comments about that. Let me just quote the comments of the Prime Minister himself, who apparently is fairly self-satisfied about what has been able to be achieved. An article in the Age of 18 August 1984 states:

Referring to Australia as a successful corporate State, Mr Hawke said: 'the application of the principles of industrial democracy in the biggest business in the land has worked well. It is not planning in the throttling sense of Eastern bloc dictatorships, but based on voluntary co-operation.

The sort of voluntary co-operation that we have seen was the sort that I gather Senator Button experienced at the ALP conference.

The position is that borrowing generally has left us in a position where this country is at a very severe financial risk. Why we have to have an early Federal election is not for reasons of coincidental timing of the elections of both Houses because such an election could be held in May next year. It is because the Government well knows that its corporatist policies have brought this country to the point of risk of financial bankruptcy with the fall and deterioration in the recovery which this Government inherited. The Government is bringing this country to a stage where a mini-Budget will undoubtedly be necessary. The sooner the Government can get to an election, get back in and bring in a mini-Budget, the sooner it will be able to come out in its true colours. Perhaps when it is doing so it might cut out some of its corporatist expenditure such as the $4m it is spending on committees, such as the Economic Planning Advisory Council, the Australian Manufacturing Council and the industry councils, and such as the $750,000 or whatever that it is spending on the accord .

The way in which this Government has set out to solve problems is to corporatise. Typical of that is the creation of the Steel Industry Authority and the Automotive Industry Authority. One can only say that corporatism is about power; corporatism is about privilege; corporatism is about socialism by stealth . Corporatism is not about looking after employment and equity opportunities. It is not even about egalitarianism. It is about the other alternative method of achieving the keeping of power within the hands of the few. As Maximilian Walsh said in the Sydney Morning Herald of 17 July:

The fact that the Labor conference was not prepared to explore the really difficult questions of industry policy and, instead, adopted a policy dictated by an anti-intellectual, self-interested bunch of industrial power-brokers should be set against the Prime Minister's theme.

That is the theme of the debate this afternoon. That is the theme of the concern expressed by the Opposition that what we have here is the development in so many areas-in the social, industrial and economic areas-of the corporatist state in which there is power and privilege to the few at the expense of the many. What this Government has done has been to do little for the have nots. It has done little for the pensioners and it has done little for the unemployed. It has done little other than repress the masses through the strength of what might be called the commissars, the industrial and political wings of the Australian Labor Party. It has sought to entrench its own power at the expense of the many citizens of Australia. It will not be long before the many citizens of Australia see what has been happening to them and, like John Stone, come out in the open and criticise the Government. John Stone, in his Shann Memorial Lecture, talking about Shann, said:

What would he have thought, in that connection, of the nascent growth of our latter-day mini-corporate States?-generally hiding behind the rosy name of ' industry policy' but smelling no less repellant under that euphemism.

He went on to say:

Would not Shann have marvelled that the industrial philosophies of Fascism which had begun taking hold in the Europe-but never the Australia-of his day, were now being activated in his own country 54 years later? . . .

Senator Button —That is not your MPI. Your MPI is about socialism, and not national socialism.

Senator PETER RAE —I have wondered, and I have even asked the Minister, what is the difference between socialism and national socialism. I have inquired as to what is the difference between the way in which the corporatist state has been developed by the Australian Labor Party and the national socialist policies which have been put forward by some countries. I want quickly to add that it was not only nazi Germany that tried to follow national socialist policies; others put them forward at various times. I think that this matter could do with some consideration and explanation. But what John Stone said just a few weeks ago is partly in explanation of why he had tired of it and resigned from the Treasury. He did so to get away from this Government-this corporatist Government, this Government which is taking over Australia by socialism by stealth.