Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
The role of the Country Party in Australian politics

Download PDFDownload PDF


"WE conceive our role as a

dual one of being at all times the specialist party with a sharp fighting edge, the specialists for rural industries and rural communities. At the same time we are the party which has the total co-ordinated concept of what is necessary for the growth and safety of the whole Australian nation."

Thus the Leader of the Australian Country Party, Mr. John McEwen, summarises the role of the Party in the broad national concept in this special article.

By John McEwen, Federal C.P. Leader.

be found when the bale of wool is turned into a bolt of material.

And there has never been so clear a perception put before the Australian people as has in re-cent years been put by the Aus-tralian Country Party of the totality of our interests.

We know that this is a lonely island continent; we face our prob-lems of security. We will never be secure by just seeking to have a com-fortable stagnation with a small

population, notwithstanding it might be a rich, small population.

Need for New Production I Security will come to us when we

'^WE in the Count ry Party see our-selves as having a dual role. Most obviously we're a specialist party. In the nature of things we

know mo re as a political organisa-tion about life and industry out-side the metropolitan cities than any other political party does.

We have a more concentrated in-terest in it, because we don't have representation from the metropolitan cities, or domination from the met-ropolitan cities.

So, as in the case of medicine or law or anything else, if there is a real problem you turn from the gen-' eral practitioner to the specialist, and this is what rural communities are doing and recognising in Australia

today at an increasing rate: that if they have a problem there is a spe-cialist party, the Country Party, and we are proud to discharge our re-sponsibilities in that role.

Now I said this is the most obvious thing to cite. And so it is. It's not necessarily the most important thing.

The most important thing is that we have a total national con-cept of the Australian need.

From what other platforms have you been hearing people say that Australia must be secure and Aus-tralia must grow? And if Australia is to be secure it'll cost a lot of money, and money isn't produced by a speech or a printing press.

New wealth produced is a bale of wool, a box of butter, a case of fruit, a ton of lead, iron or tungsten or whatever it may be.

This, and a hundred other things, this is real wealth. We're not a party that says real wealth is only to be found in a bale of wool. We know that real wealth is just as much to

When you have jobs you have not only contentment and prosperity for the native-born but you can bring migrants to the country when you

have jobs.

have a much greater population.

Something out of the forest turned Eight million when my Government into timber for building or paper. came into office. Almost 12 million Added wealth by raw wool being today. Fifteen million in a few years' taken into a factory and coming out I time—predictable, coming up now at with the benefit of labor and skill, I that rate, because there are jobs In as a fabric or clothing. this country.

r The Role? of , the Country

Party in Australian Politics

You just couldn't bring migrants if

you didn't have jobs.

Last year we brought in 135,000 migrants, and a job for every one of them. And the policies that we pro-pound are policies designed to see

that there shall be jobs so that we may have migrants, so that we have not eight million but 12 mil-lion, not 12 million but 20 million.

Essence of Security

This is the essence of real security for the Australian nation, and you can't have these great ambitions without great wealth to service its cost.

We are the people who are not talking only about butter or potatoes, or about labor and shorter hours or higher pay. We are not talking only about how you can earn more profits.

We're talking about Australia, our own country, the higher standards we want in it, the greater safety that we want in it, the growth of our own country—this is the Country Party. Be proud to be members of it.

I believe that when one can convey to others that this is what the Coun-try Party stands for, this party will be increasingly respected and sup-


Respect for C.P. Growing

As Minister for Trade and Indus-try, it becomes part of my obligation, recurringly, to go and talk to a meet-ing of bankers, manufacturers, or chambers of commerce. And as I ex-plain this is the kind of thing that I, and those who stand behind me, are trying to achieve, I find that not only is it accepted and respected but the respect for the Country Party is grow-ing.

So we conceive our role as a dual one of being at all times the specialist party with a sharp fighting edge, the

Governments are passing things, they don't last so very long. Ours has lasted 18-odd years, but I can say, having been the man in charge of export earnings and the policies re-lated to it in the life of our Govern-ment, that we have earned, as a nation, from wealth produced and sold overseas, nearly three times as much last year as we earned as a nation the year I became a Minister in this Government—$3,024 million in wealth produced and sold overseas in

1966-67 compared with $1,085 million in 1948-49.

Now this is the very essence upon which growth is built, and this is the very fabric upon which national security can be designed and achiev-

ed. This is the Country Party.

specialists for rural industries and rural communities. At the same time we are the party which has the total co-ordinated concept of what is nec-essary for the growth and safety of the whole Australian nation.

Progressively, we are making sig-nificant developments. We do some-thing for dairying or indirectly some-thing for rural industry by super-phosphate, or whatever it may be.

I think in the public mind the idea of political policies is either that politicians think them up really for broadly one of two reasons: one, be-cause they're serving a vested inter-est, or, secondly, they feel they'll get votes if they do it. Now I want to say this is not what motivates the Country Party.

If I talk about a policy for pro-tecting the paper industry, as I have done, or the textile industry, or pro-tecting the timber industry; or whether I talk about policies for wool, or negotiate a Japanese Trade Treaty to get a big customer for our wool; or do a deal, as I did with the United Kingdom Government, to es-tablish quotas on the importation of butter, this is not a series of isolated incidents or patronage. It is part of the total complex of seeing that this nation grows evenly right across the board.

Tariffs and Jobs

If it becomes necessary to ensure that there are jobs, we must impose protective tariffs that make an im-ported item dearer than it otherwise would have been, so that there may be jobs.

All right, that's good for that in-dustry, the job is created there, the migrant can come.

But what of the fellow who has to export? He says: "Well, you've pushed up my costs." And, broadly, he's right.

So what do I say? Rather than push up his costs, I would allow Aus-tralian industry to stagnate and migration to cease? No, that is not the line I take.

The line I take is that Australia must grow. Australian industry must be protected. Jobs must be created.

But to the extent that we impose a disability on someone else in the course of those policies, we must have an offsetting policy to help him.

So you get a superphosphate sub-sid y . Or you get a dairying industry subsidy. Or you get an extension from butter and cheese subsidy to processed milk subsidy.

To Offset Disabilities

Now you get some disabilities im-posed from some of these policies, but right along the line there is a whole conspectus of offsetting poli-cies: special taxation concessions for those engaged in the rural industry; first, an accelerated depreciation al-lowance, 20 per cent, per annum for five years until the tractor, the work-man's house or the cowshed is paid off.

Now, for a new machine, an addi-tional 20 per cent. depreciation allow-ance or investment allowance, as we call it, in the first year.

You have a problem with rabbits: we pour tens of millions of dollars into the C.S.I.R.O. and they come up with myxomatosis, and you're re-lieved of the cost of the rabbit.

Or you may have a problem of needing better pastures: we find the money to send men to the Argentine, or Mexico, or the Mediterranean, or

"Be Proud To Be C.P. Members"

2 The - Role of the Cowrttry Party in Australian Politics

Afghanistan--and I'm not plucking I The person who says: "Well, if I

these names out of the air—we have I do build a new dairy, if I do go in sent men to these places, searching I for bulk milk, if I do put in a re-for new and better pasture species, I

frigerator, well at least the Govern-

men in laboratories searching for ment will allow me substantially in my knowledge of trace elements, or new taxation, so I'll have a crack at it." fertilisers. These are the encouraging things.

In Canberra we spent $1 million And the end result—more than 75 per establishing a phytotron in which, cent, more wealth produced, but no within cubicles, the scientist can es- new scope for immigrants to get jobs tablish the climate of Darwin, or on the land. For the work force is Macquarie Island, or Launceston, or 10 per cent. less than before. Alice Springs.

He can simulate the climate any- Million New Jobs where and grow any crop appropriate to any area at any time of the year. But in the total field, more than a If it lends itself, three or four crops million new jobs have been created a year. while I've been in this Government.

So if he is a plant breeder, in- If there are fewer jobs in the rural.

stead of taking 20 years to breed industry, the evidence is that the new better species, he'll do it in three or jobs have been created in the manu-four years. facturing industry and in the service

These are some of the great offset- industries. As a result, we have got ting policies that we have, tremendous industrialisation in Aus-


Results Achier+ed

I was able to say to a great con-vention the other day that Australia

Listen to politics wherever you like is the most industrialised nation in and, tell me, does anyone know where the Southern Hemisphere. In half you hear the comprehensive grasp of the world Australia is the most in-the issues that touch the Australian's dustrialised nation. interest as you do when you came to And in the Asian hemisphere—all

a Country Party meeting and hear us of Asia and Australia—only Japan is talking abut these things? more industrialised than Australia.

Ours is a party that's achieved re-sults. It is a party to be proud of. But we've got to go out and propagate the party's policies. I believe that as we do this we'll get Increasing sup-port.

We have had enormous growth in the economy. I speak of growth in the rural industries—let me speak briefly.

In the life of our Government the volume of rural production

has increased by more than 75 per cent.

dously serious about it—we're not in a situation where we have to say:

"Well, in a pinch we will marshal manhood and hope to goodness that Britain or America will give us the sophisticated fighting equipment without which they're just no good; we'll hope to goodness someone will give it to us."

Today we have such industrial strength that we can say: "The French Mirage supersonic fighter is, in our judgment, the best fighter in the world. It's fabulously complex, costs $2l million each—okay, we'll make it in Australia."

I don't think there are a dozen countries on earth that can say: "Okay, we'll make a Mirage fighter in our country." But we can.

Or we can sit down, as we have done, with the representatives of Britain, and Germany and France, and Italy, and Switzerland—the high-ly skilled technical nations — and say: "Right, we'll join with you in the design and the fabrication of a communications satellite, and we will launch it in Australia, and it'll circle the earth to be used for telecom-munications."

We're accepted as a partner by these countries because we have got this great industrial development, scientific know-how.

This all adds to our strength, our capacity, and it adds to the respect in which we're held.

Today we have one of the great steel industries of the world. Outside the United States, our steel industry would rank third or fourth.

We're building one of the great aluminium industries here. We're building it here in our strong and respected country, with political sta-bility—and this, in the judgment of other nations, is by no means the least of our qualities.

If we were not judged to be a

sane, sound, politically stable country our Government could not have negotiated with the powerful United States the A.N.Z.U.S. Treaty to make America and Australia military partners.

America doesn't subscribe to part-nership with second-rate powers led by second-rate governments. This is the assessment in which we're held.

That s something to be proud of, but it's more, it's a matter of strength.

Time was, not so long ago, when we were busy selling as many bales of wool, boxes of butter and sides of beef so that we could import motor

cars, textiles, and chemicals, and paper from overseas.

Producing our wealth, and, having produced our wealth, establishing a job for somebody else in Germany, or in America, or in Italy, or some-where, with our money.

Today were saving this wealth by

I'm not speaking of value—that producing paper, chemicals, textiles fluctuates. But the quantity of wheat, and motor cars in Australia, and wool, meat, etc., has increased by creating a million new jobs at the more than 75 per cent., and the work same time.

force that produced it has reduced by 10 per cent. Now here is a magnificent example Making Modern Weapons of high efficiency. And the high ef-ficiency that I'm not to subtract from This is the picture of our industrial the capacity of the people on the growth and now, as the scene darkens land, but it's been backed up by these in the North—and I am not tremen-policies. dously pessimistic but I'm tremen-

7F; Role of the Country 3

Par ty- in Australian Aolt ics

Must Go On and On

I say, as I come back to my starting point, these are great achievements, they're great dreams come to frui-tion, but we've got to go on and on.

I'm proud of what we've done, but don't let me leave the impression for a second that I'm satisfied with what we've done. For the moment a per-son or a party becomes satisfied, then they'll stop, they'll stagnate.

I am completely dissatisfied about the things that we haven't yet done, and I put that on the record. I say: "AIl we've got to do is work harder to do more of the things that we haven't yet achieved,"

But all this does start from the commencement that you can't do it with a speech, you can't do it with a printing press — youve got to produce the real wealth, and then you can bring your policies to life.

This is the philosophy of the Country Party. Tell me where else you'll find it, the basic philosophy that we know what we want, we go after what we want.

We get what we want, but from the outset we say: "No good dream-ing those dreams unless you've got policies to produce new wealth, and

have a contented population. Then you have contentment at home and respect overseas." I think we've got this.

Party's Philosophy

Our philosophy as a party is simple but it's profound.

• We want national security for Australia. • We want growth for Australia. • We want harmony in Australia and we want progress in Australia.

• We want nothing but fair deal-ing in Australia and by Australia. • We want an Australian com-munity which is free of tensions.

I have made a hundred speeches in recent times, but I've never yet once found it necessary to attack some other Australian or Australian party.

It isn't necessary.

We've made more progress, com-paratively, than any other party, and we're the only party that is not preaching hate, or fear the other


We don't want tensions in this country. We do want a better dispersal of the Australian population than

we have at the present time. We do know that all these objec-

tives call for the production of new wealth, and that there must be, as well as the significant things you can reach out and touch, a continually rising standard of living for the people.

"Mission Is Right "

Summed up, our philosophy and our intent are the determination to have a safe Australia and a secure Australia, a growing Australia, a rich Australia.

These are the things that domin-ate the whole of our political think-ing.

There's no room in our political creed for preaching a doctrine of class-consciousness, or of socialism, or any foreign doctrine of any kind whatever within Australia.

We're completely confident that our mission Is right. With the record we have, we want decent wages and decent conditions for the people who elect to work for their living.

We want an absolute assurance of profit for those who invest in a farm, a factory or a mine. These are the basic ingredients of confidence and


4 rho,, Role of the Count Party.' in AosfralianPglifics


on behalf of

The Australian Count ry Party (N.S.W.) by W. Ford, General Secretary, 7 Phillip St., Sydney, June, 1968. Printed by The Land Printing House,

59 Regent St., Sydney.


(. b ' v