The day the Premier resigned

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has been found to have received a $3,000 bottle of 1959 Penfolds Grange as a gift, which he failed to declare, and failed to admit to ICAC, conveniently suffering from memory failure, and has accordingly resigned this morning.

Before all thoughts move to who will move on up into the top spot, our anti-lockout friends at I’m Not The Problem Barry – No Lockouts NSW have been taking advantage of this scintillating story to have a bit of a laugh. The full gallery is here, but some of my favourites are below!








Really Not Part Of The Plan


by Allan Essery

Sustainable Development? Part 3

In support of its deception the United Nations through its pseudo-scientific educational programme claims that private ownership of property, including both urban and rural, facilitates environmental degradation.

Acceptance by many of this bizarre UN teaching were caught up in ''Group-Think''.  Group-think is almost always associated with feel good philosophies and is the irrational consensus thinking that aggressively rejects alternatives.  This is the mentality that causes large numbers of people to accept a bizarre belief  that a tax on carbon dioxide can control the climate.

Most Australians would agree that care of the environment is necessary and the development of a locally designed sustainability programme arrived at by democratic process would be acceptable. State governments such as the New South Wales and Victorian governments in particular rejected that and moved to an ecocentric sustainability policy which has been designed by a foreign entity, namely the UN, and is monotored by a foreign entity, again the UN and poses a fundamental and ongoing threat to the sovereignty and democracy of NSW and Victoria and all of their residents.

The rights of private land owners are increasingly being eroded under the guise of environmental concerns generated by the United Nation's fradulent Agenda 21 and associated programmes.  Instead of defending the fundamental importance of private property rights, the NSW and Victorian governments have actively worked against landholders by introducing so much green tape that it is leading to properties becoming unusable and worthless. In addition, green laws are preventing the clearing of woodland regrowth and undergrowth and that will directly contributed to the increasing fierceness and uncontrollably destructive nature of bushfires as we have just witnessed.

In order to implement their green laws, State Governments will make local councils agents for Local Agenda 21, promoted by the International Council For Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) which was created and monitored by the UN. The UN is fully aware that to achieve its intended goal of 'World Government' it must first succeed at a local level.

Federal and State Government plans to empower local councils to force Agenda 21 upon it residents in defiance of the Commonwealth and State Constitutions and two referendums that make such empowerment illegal would be seen by any responsible person to be an abandonment of democracy.  Given that local council do not have legislative authority it is surprising that they undertake a widespread adoption of Agenda 21 without challenge. It is frightening that both levels of government and local councils have made a decision to treat their constituents with utter contempt by NOT seeking democratic endorsement of Agenda 21 during the normal electoral process or by referendum.


In a demonstration of amazing ignorance of the law and/or arrogance, the CEO of the Victorian Melton Local Council, Kelvin Tori, during an open council meeting claimed,  ''The rates and charges that council impose are imposed under the power granted to council by the State of Victoria, under the Victorian Constitution.  Local Government is recognised within the Victorian Constitution which gave rise to the Local Government Act 1989, and confered to local government some of the powers of the State.  That would include the power to impose rates and charges.''

Now, that statement brings to light a major problem for Mr Tori and the Melton Council.  In the 1988 referendum there were three questions. Look at questions 1 and 3.

Question 1 was in regard to recognition of local councils as ''Local Government'' in the Federal Constitution.  Question 3 was, ''Each state shall provide for the establishment & continuance of a system of local government bodies elected in accordance with the laws of the state, and empowered to administer, and make by-laws for their respective areas in accordance with the laws of the state.''

Sixty six point seven percent (66.7%) of voters said NO and the referendum was soundly defeated.  That meant NO to the establishment/recognition of  'local government', NO to a system of 'local government' bodies and NO to elections in accordance with the laws of the state for 'local government' and NO to the empowerment of 'local government' to administer laws or make by-laws for their respective areas.

The referendum failed to reach a State majority which means there was no mandate for it to have been implemented anywhere, not in the Federal Constitution and not in the State Constitution. The Victorian Local Government Act 1989 and cannot be legally enforced. Local councils remain ''local councils'' that are in fact ''Incorporated Bodies'' complete with Australian Business Numbers (ABN) and the requirement to pay taxes. 

Carbon Tax gets two Vetoes


Australians have elected the second Prime Minister who made a prominent election promise that: “There will be no carbon tax under my government”.

The electorate supported this policy twice. With two vetoes, the desire of the people is surely obvious.

Why are politicians still having a debate about whether to repeal this silly tax on the gas of life?

Viv Forbes,

Rosewood    Qld   Australia

Sustainable development not part of their plan


by Allan Essery

Part 1 – Agenda 21 again

Awareness of the environment and concern for its delicate balance are indeed sensible endeavours. Concern, however, arose during a 1992 United Nation's conference to discuss future environmentally friendly development. From that conference an action agenda was revealed for an innocuously sounding aim of ''Sustainable Development''. That agenda was known as Agenda 21 and not as innocuous as it sounded.

Agenda 21 was promoted as a non-binding and voluntarily implemented action plan, and so the lie began. It was also called the brainchild of a group of powerful elitists known as the Club of Rome. Their aim was world domination brought about using the United Nations and its agencies to create a World Government together with a World Bank and a Security Force to ensure implementation of its aims.

Far from being a non-binding and voluntary action plan the following was the reality for those that signed on, ''This global contract binds all nations and spreading regions to the collective vision of "sustainable development." They must commit to pursue the three E's of "sustainability": Environment, Economy and Equity’’, referring to the UN blueprint for environmental regulation, economic control, and redistribution of wealth.

Sold to the world’s nations as a plan for creating sustainable societies 176 governments around the world, including Australia, saw it as a means of social justice and a healthy planet. Initially, few if any were awake to their lies and doomsday scenarios, the pseudo-science and the unimaginable costs that came with this elaborate and fraudulent con.

Had any of the worlds leaders caught up in the lie bothered to undertake just a little research, or even given it some considered thought, they would have realised as did others that, Marxist economics has never worked. Socialism produces poverty, not prosperity. Collectivism creates oppression, not freedom. Trusting environmental "scientists" who depend on government funding and must produce politically useful "information" will lead to economic and social disaster.''

Back in1992 when Agenda 21 was born there was not yet the hysterical knee-jerk reactions of the alarmist's ''carbon pollution'' and ''man-made climate change'' and so these lies were cleverly created by the UN and its agencies to justify their ''sustainable development'' agenda. 

The UN very effectively, but falsely, enhanced the illusion when the Secretary General of their Earth division said, ''Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middleclass – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work air conditioning, and suburban housing are not sustainable.''

In line with this propaganda, new buzzwords came into being. Words such as sustainable development, environmentally sustainable, future earth, smart growth, and biodiversity.  Phenomena such as climate change were promoted as man-made disasters while naturally occurring climate change was conveniently ignored.

To achieve the aims of Agenda 21 it would be necessary to undertake the mammoth task of reprogramming the human race. Human rights as we know them would have to be removed for the good of the collective.

The UN plans to rid the world of poverty as a means of controlling the world's population; but how are they going to achieve that?  Well, they have already surreptitiously commenced a redistribution of wealth from affluent nations to the poorer nations. Think about Carbon Tax and where all the proceeds go. Think about the transfer of manufacturing from affluent manufacturing nations to poorer nations. Think about where Australia's manufacturing and farming assets have gone. Think about the lowering of trade barriers and tariffs to bring that about. And, think about the redistribution of the population of poorer countries to the more affluent nations.

To achieve its intended agenda the UN will attempt to coerce the world's governments into surrendering the sovereignty of their nations. They hope to achieve a quiet transition through which our individual freedoms would be stripped away. Your children would become the sole property of the ''State'' and you would have no say in their upbringing, their education, or their future.  You would not be allowed to own any property and nor would you be allowed to choose where you live.

The United Nations is fearful that more and more of the world's population will realise what is happening and fight against it. They would be ecstatic that some would be sucked into their deception and support Agenda 21 by labelling those against the agenda as ''Conspiracy Alarmists'' and the UN will seek to discredit them and any elected official who undertakes to work against them.

Abbott’s new broom is a wire brush

New MH2

In August last year I attended a talk by Tony Abbott in Sydney. Aside from the snappy sound bite for the evening news, Abbott settles from an evasive and indecisive stutterer to a rather smooth orator certainly on top of his game. That surprised me and prompted the column: Abbott—more than a 10-second news clip.

Abbott’s deliberation was a likely safeguard to avoid the relentless and spiteful attacks upon his character in parliament by an orchestrated chorus of shrill fishwives and other rusted-on Laborites. Even the Coalition’s resounding victory has done nothing to stop the new opposition’s dog-tired assault upon the man who caused them to haemorrhage so profusely at the polling booth.

Just a day or two after the election, Labor resumed blame upon Abbott for more illegal boat arrivals and has continued to do so confirming an inability to recognise the failed tactic that damaged them so badly. The matter that those boats were already en route during Rudd’s reign exemplifies Labor’s disconnect from reality.

Handbag-hitsquadHowever, Abbott’s announcement revealing few women in his government caused predictable hysterics among the Opposition’s inquisitors of misogyny who scattered like headless chooks crying foul. The new Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is one of six women in the 42-strong ministry but the only woman in Cabinet.

Unexpected by many has been copycat bleating from some on the government team. “I think it’s shocking and I think it’s embarrassing, and it’s not just embarrassing nationally but I think it’s embarrassing internationally,” said Senator Sue Boyce. The Senator was a fool to play the “embarrassing internationally” card because nobody in other countries of any consequence could give a damn how many women our parliament has, they have enough problems of their own to worry about. Besides, too many confuse Australia with Austria.

Furthermore, the Coalition will remember Boyce’s defiance of policy when she sided with the Greens, crossed the floor, and voted for their gay marriage bill. Labor Senator Penny Wong says Tony Abbott’s new frontbench sends the message that female Coalition MPs are inferior to their male colleagues. But the fearless Amanda Vanstone, an ex minister of the Howard era, says more women on the frontbench does not equal a good government. Look no further than Labor’s former selection of frontbencher females for that.

Has Tony Abbott been underestimated?

A vignette of Abbott’s past contains clues that form the building blocks of his character. They are there for those who want to look.

Abbott adheres to habit. Fit, he is and seriously competitive. That he is now prime minister will inject confidence into an already ambitious man. He is surrounded with experienced ministers and has already moved to address a number of election promises. Dumping Tim Flannery, Labor’s climate change guru was a good move.

Just hours after his swearing in as PM, sackings of Labor’s padded appointees began and you can bet it is just the beginning of what will become a vendetta against his political enemies.

For a person abused throughout every parliamentary sitting by the gaggle of Labor shrews spitting venom across the despatch-box, Abbott always remained calm, perhaps plotting an electoral judgement-day. That dream has come and now it’s payback time.

For those who can remember, the once seminary aspirant, Rhodes Scholar, and decorous family man showed ambitious capabilities through his role in the damaging of One Nation that ultimately saw the imprisonment of Pauline Hansen and David Ettridge. He wanted to please his boss, a court was told—proof that politics supersedes piousness in his good book.

With unprecedented national debt to be repaid and interest accruing at $24,600 each minute in every day, the government will have to make many unpopular choices. And, the loudest objectors will be from the arsonists whose accountability was ignored for six expensive years.

In the weeks leading to the Coalition victory, Fairfax media seemed resigned to a change of government with a few conciliatory bouquets toward the Coalition. That brief offering now seems an aberration as the left media has mounted renewed attack of blaming Abbott for further boat arrivals never mentioning that those boats set sail during Rudd’s watch.  Watch Fairfax shares further drop as readers tire of the same old.

Nevertheless, the Abbott haters can squawk all they want because the majority of Australians view him as the doctor who knows best how to cure “profligacy” the eternal Labor disease.

Abbott has three years in which to pull that rabbit from the hat. He can and will ignore his raucous detractors before campaigning on what may well be his record of success that wins a second term. If that happens, it would be goodbye Labor for a very long time, I should think as the door will be ajar for a third party to gain a foothold.

Abbott’s new broom is indeed a rough wire brush that easily dislodges rusted-on ideology.


Carefully considered or bad decision?


Jim McCrudden 

Dr Dennis Jensen, BAppSci, MSc, PhD, has worked with distinction in industry and with the CSIRO. His PhD is in Materials Science and Physics. At the CSIRO he worked as a researcher but also as an analyst at the Defence Science and Technology Organization. 

He still makes serious contributions with regards to the Joint Strike Fighter debate, climate change, nuclear energy, scientific research, National Broadband Network, and education matters. He is on the Advisory Board of the Australian Research Council (Centre of Excellence) for Anti Matter/Matter Research.

Cutting it short, he is the most highly qualified Federal MP in science—on all sides.

So when the opportunity arose of appointing Jensen Minister for Science he was obviously the favourite in the minds of anyone who was interested.

Abbott clearly thought about it.

But rather than put this highly qualified man in that position, Abbott, in an act of craven cowardice abolished the position of Minister of Science altogether!!

The ALP had done the groundwork of effectively destroying the position of Science Minister and reshaping it into a sinecure for speechmakers by appointing schoolteachers and economists and union bosses to be Science Ministers. Simultaneously, they twisted the CSIRO so much that the initials now stand for the Corrupted Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. But in that, it could be argued, they were merely short of competent people. The Coalition had been no better.

Corrupting the CSIRO was another thing altogether, of course. That was political and was done cynically to get support for their Global Warming agenda.

But why did Abbott abolish the Ministry altogether rather than appoint Jensen? Why not keep it? Reform it? Take science seriously?

Because Jensen carries baggage. Nearly ten years ago when even men like Howard were running scared from the Global Warming scare, Jensen proclaimed that the so-called evidence was ridiculous and that the models were worse – they didn’t even half work.

Oh, God, thought Abbott as he went on his knees at church, I will be slandered and shamed in the Fairfax press if I appoint a climate skeptic to the position. And the ABC will eat me up. There will be snide remarks in Crikey! Jokes about science hating misogynists. Only one thing to do – take the coward’s way out.

Abbott could choose between dishonour and vilification.

He chose dishonour and got vilification. Every scientist polled in the country was astonished and disbelieving. What, keep a Sports Minister and remove the Science Minister? Are you nuts, the cry went? Crazy?

Abbott said science would “largely” be in the industry portfolio, under incoming minister, Ian Macfarlane.


What the hell does that mean? 60%? 90%? What? And who will be doing the rest? The Minister Responsible for Sitting Behind the PM and Nodding When the PM Addresses Parliament? The Attorney General? The Under-secretary to the Tea-lady’s Deputy Assistant?

Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, complains that development of science is already too fragmented, “Already it’s spread across multiple budget lines; at the last count we had something over 70 spread over something to the order of 14 portfolios and we could miss things if we aren’t strategic in the way we go about it.”

So why not appoint the best man for the job?

Because it was politically inexpedient.

Appointing someone with no qualifications would carry huge criticism. It would run for years. It will smear all the other appointments.

Anyway, he thought, Jensen talks too much. The coalition’s policy on emissions has exactly the same target as Labor had, and Jensen may have words to say about that.
Abbott abolished the Ministry of Science because it was politically expedient?

That – because it was the gutless thing to do.

We’re no brainwashers, say the brainwashers

Quadrant's Tony Thomas exposed how our tax dollars were being spent by brainwashing immigrants about the treasures of Labor in his July article.

Don't miss Tony's follow up below on what is going on at the Yarraville Community Centre in Melbourne and how your money is being spent. GC.Ed.@L.

Yarraville Community Centre (YCC), in Melbourne’s inner west, has come up with various excuses for brainwashing its African and Vietnamese English-learners with Labor and Green electoral propaganda. The migrants were given loaded fact-sheets and quizzes about newly-restored PM Kevin Rudd and Greens leader Christine Milne.

YCC  has now even forwarded me on August 1 a nice teaching document featuring Tony Abbott, his biography and his policies. YCC manager Christine McCall says this document was presented to the migrant students in the lesson following the lesson featuring the Rudd and Milne propaganda. The classes are run by teacher Michelle Ryan.

However, Ms Ryan’s Abbott document is quite different in style and format to the Rudd/Milne documents, and is impeccably sourced to Abbott’s own websites.

A possibility is that the Abbott document was cooked up after QuadrantOnline’s expose on July 23 of the Rudd/Milne propaganda. At least three members of the migrant class – my original informant and two people she contacted – never saw the Abbott document.

Full story here: Via Quadrant online

Turning a blind eye, funding Indonesia’s genocide in West Papua, What’s the risk?

The down fall of dictators and the transition to democratic governments are opportunities to give citizens suffering under these repressive regime hope for a brighter future, writes Anthony Craig.

Opening up these countries to economic growth, democratic freedoms and opportunities is key. Yet most democracies believe or state they will, follow international treaties and conventions against torture, genocide and support for human rights.

Sadly, some regimes are not truly democratic. The fall of the Suharto regime, a military dictatorship in Indonesia in the late 1990's opened the door for those suffering years of oppression, to taste freedom for the first time. East Timorese was given a democratic vote after years of oppression, supervised by the United Nations in 1999.

The Indonesian Military who still have an enormous influence in Indonesian politics today, did not like the outcome of a free democratic vote, the aftermath resulted in a bloodbath. Thousands of East Timorese were murdered, large numbers of the population forced to relocate to West Timor and East Timor burnt to the ground.  

The evidence today in Timor is shocking. Mass graves, burnt out buildings and torture chambers can still be seen. No one has been brought to justice over these war crimes and crimes against humanity. The United Nations report on East Timor from 1975-1999 was damming on both Australia and other countries for supporting Indonesia's genocide.

The same military, murdered the Balibo Five and both Indonesia and Australia covered it up through the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. These strategies are not of a military under democratic control. West Papuans are a people who continue to suffer under Indonesian military rule today. They have suffered another slow genocide spanning 50 years.The world including Australia continues to turn a blind eye.

In June the United Nations Human Rights Committee met in Geneva  and the Indonesian government made a chilling statement. They made it very clear that Human rights are not a automatic guarantee and those pushing West Papuan separation from the Republic of Indonesia will be dealt with appropriately.  

Australia through its foreign aid program gives Indonesia over 500 million a year, when Indonesia spends over 8 billion on their military. A military which coincidentally commits mass murder and torture of the West Papuan people. People might asked the question, why worry about a few West Papuans when economic growth and trade should be the overriding consideration regarding relations with Indonesia.

The answer is very simple, dictatorships and corrupt governments when appeased, continue their corrupt practices which has a significant impact on free trade and open markets as well as companies trying to compete in the marketplace.  

So to say nothing, or turn a blind eye to these crimes, only encourages these corrupt military and government officials to continue a "business as usual" approach and does nothing to support an open, honest or responsible democratic government.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade appeasement policy with Indonesia is alive and going full steam ahead. We have seen what Indonesia appeasement does. Recent history is full of examples of making a bad situation worse. If Indonesia is a democracy, then they should be able to prove it without getting up in arms and demanding payback. When politicians and Bureaucrats believe the rules don't apply to them, all citizens of a democracy need to be alarmed.

The question has to be asked, will turning a blind eye to Indonesian atrocities in East Timor, the murder of the Balibo Five and ongoing genocide in West Papua, come back to bite us. 

Anthony Craig writes from Lithgow NSW and is a Federal Executive Officer for the DLP

General George Patton – McTernan’s alter ego?

Bertel Torsten in Canberra

Even the best political spin-doctors have their bad days.

Whatever else you might think about Hitler’s fabulously titled Minister for National Enlightenment and Propaganda, Dr Josef Goebbels, he was a consummate master of the dark art.

In 1941 when the war from his perspective was going quite nicely, came the shattering news that the Deputy Fuehrer Rudolf Hess had secretly flown to the UK on a lunatic mission to try and broker a peace deal.

The acknowledged spin doctor of his era went into a complete meltdown, fled to his country residence and went into a massive sulk. Begged by his offsider for guidance on what to say, Goebbels shouted down the phone, “Say whatever you please. I don’t know what to advise you. There are situations which even the best propagandist in the world cannot cope with.” Then he hung up and went to bed.

PM Gillard’s propaganda chief John McTernan, a British import who has had his job since September, 2011, must have similar and ever increasing moments daily.

Back in May 2012, Sydney Morning Herald journalist Paola Totaro described his modus operandi thus: “McTernan’s strategy has been to keep the Prime Minister looking like a prime minister … (his) job is not so much day-to-day media management and monitoring, though he does do some of that, but to keep the government message on track. If that means yelling at journalists, backbenchers or ministers who stray, McTernan is happy to oblige.”

It wouldn’t surprise if the frequency and crescendo of his yelling recently has reached frenzy level.

In March this year, ABC Online asked him if he was working here on a 457 visa and his reply was at least concise: “Hardly f*ck**g relevant.”

Reflecting on his contribution to good government, it is hardly surprising that Gillard’s government has decided to crack down on those naughty employers who bring in foreign workers on such visas rather than hire Australians. Then again, perhaps Julia couldn’t find an Australian prepared to do what McTernan has done and continues to do. Particularly as the job is a career terminator.

His charm offensive includes twitters such as “Ah, so now we are clear, you’re a graceless buffoon” and “What a surprise. Abuse from a moron.”  Sydney 2GB’s Ross Greenwood has revealed McTernan called him once and launched into a spray which Greenwood later described as an “absolute tirade” laced with the incessant use of the “F bomb”.

According to 2GB’s Ben Fordham, he and McTernan met at the State of Origin match in Sydney earlier this month when McTernan said, “You might want me to do a regular spot on your show next year if we lose the election.” When asked by a journalist if this was true, McTernan flatly replied “NO” yet he texted Fordham complaining, “Your tweet had gone viral, I though that what goes on at Origin stays on Origin”

Fordham commented, “Nobody likes a bullshit artist, it’s no big deal but he should own up to it.”

My favourite McTernan story was the disclosure in May that he gathered some seventy Ministerial advisers to inspire them to sell the forthcoming budget and screened a motivational scene from the 1970 movie Patton, about the US World War 11 hero, General George Patton.

In this famous scene George C Scott, playing Patton, delivers a speech before a giant American flag to his troops just prior to the 1944 D Day invasion saying, memorably, “No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country; he won it by making the other poor bastard die for his country.”   

Just what Ministerial advisers, many of whom no doubt have a long history of selfless devotion to the ALP, thought of this tactic from some pommy blow-in isn’t hard to imagine.

It was that great American statesman Richard Milhouse Nixon who screened Patton – one of his very favourite movies – to Henry Kissinger and a friend the night before he ordered the massive assault on Cambodia saying, “We go for broke”. Kissinger remarked later, “When he was pressed to the wall, his (Nixon’s) romantic streak surfaced and he would see himself as a beleaguered military commander in the tradition of Patton.”

Perhaps McTernan has a romantic streak although nobody has ever accused him of that or perhaps he just thinks the Nixon precedent was so inspiring that it should have been repeated. “We go for broke” sure could be a McTernan quote.

It would not surprise me if McTernan agrees with another quote attributable to the equally charming Nixon, “When you’ve got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.”

Patton was speaking ahead of an actual victory; Nixon’s career ended with his own Waterloo. I wonder if McTernan, no doubt inadvertently, has foreseen his own inglorious demise?


Centenary of the 1913 Federal Election

A couple of weeks ago on 31 May 2013 was the centenary of the 1913 federal election, which went unnoticed.  It was one of the most critical elections in Australian history and its story needs to be retold, writes John Ruddick 

Between 1901 and 1910 Australia had eight Prime Ministerships with no party having a majority in either the House or the Senate.  The backdrop to this period of political flux was the seemingly inexorable rise of Labor. 

In 1901 Labor had just 14 seats in the House (out of 75) making it the smallest of the three parliamentary parties.  In 1903 the Labor tally almost doubled to 23 and then strengthened in 1906 with 26 seats.  The election of 1910 saw Labor not only win a clear majority in the House (42) but almost two thirds of the Senate.  It was a historic victory – Labor was the first openly socialistic party to win a national election in the world.

At the following election in 1913 Labor lost office to the Commonwealth Liberal Party by a single seat.  Australia was in its formative years and the election of 1913 is arguable one of our most consequential – it embedded free enterprise but only just. 

Chris Watson served as the first Labor leader from 1901 to 1907.  During Waton’s leadership Labor held the balance of power between the two pro-business parties – the Protectionists and the Free Traders.  Watson was a Labor moderate who aimed to advance the Labor cause through trading the two other parties off against the other. 

Watson was PM for an inconsequential four months in 1904 (as a result of a parliamentary realignment, not an election) but when the two other parties patched things up he resigned.  Watson remained as Labor leader but his compromises were increasingly resented by the Labor caucus.

In 1907 Labor elected Andrew Fisher as leader.  Like many of early British Labour leaders Fisher was a devout Christian and a teetotaller and unlike today’s ‘Labor’ leaders had spent two decades actually labouring at the bottom of mines. 

Fisher’s colleagues, political opponents, the press and the public would soon admire Fisher as a man of integrity and conviction.  A contemporary noted Fisher: 

has a kind of Olympian dignity, an unruffled and quite impenetrable calm. 

Fisher was an avowed radical socialist who did not think of hiding it.  When campaigning for the leadership he told Caucus: 

it would be cowardly for the man who believes that nationalisation is a proper principle not to express his views in the House.  We have too long shrunk from maintaining propositions which we clearly believe in.

Fisher had absolute confidence that by boldly declaring socialism a majority of the public would soon agree.  He told the Labor Party conference in 1908: 

In the church, the Parliament, in the streets and newspapers all over the civilized world there are no more sneers and scorn for socialism.  Everyone has this one great question to consider: we are all socialists now and indeed the only qualification you hear from anybody is that he is ‘not an extreme socialist.

In late 1908 Labor under Fisher withdrew its support of Protectionist PM Alfred Deakin.  Such were the hostilities between the Protectionists and the Free Traders that Deakin gave his votes in parliament to support Fisher as PM. 

In this first of his three non-consecutive terms as PM, Fisher knew passing socialist legislation was impossible without a majority … so from 1908 to 1909 Fisher principally used the office of PM, not to legislate, but to travel the nation, give speeches and campaign for socialism at the upcoming 1910 election. 

He spoke of: 

soon having a sufficient number in Parliament to express our views in legislation,” and of “Australia being able to lead the world with Socialistic legislation in such a way that it would be helpful to those great countries of the world with congested populations.

Talk like this soon made the two pro-business parties put aside their differences.  The free-traders had lost the debate over tariffs and with socialism a far greater threat the two merged into the Commonwealth Liberal Party. 

It was now obvious Fisher would be removed as PM as soon as Parliament resumed so Fisher mischievously delayed recalling Parliament for as long as he could.  He extended his tour of the nation and his enthusiastic crowds grew. 

After a six month recess Parliament finally returned and Fisher was voted down as PM immediately.  Fisher asked the Governor General for an election but was denied and Deakin returned as PM.  Deakin however was by now tired and probably suffering the onset of dementia while Labor under Fisher had the momentum.

Prior to the formation of the Commonwealth Liberal Party the Protectionists had cut into the working class vote.  The new political environment of two parties (not three) played into Fisher’s hand.  The electorate had a clear choice – the workers versus the capitalists – and Labor’s primary vote leapt from 36.6% 1906 to 49.9% in 1910 making it easily Labor’s biggest ever swing. 

Fisher was Australia’s first powerful PM and he set about using that power.  An unprecedented 113 pieces of legislation passed easily – almost more than all previous governments combined.  Welfare programs and payments boomed. 

Government money was thrown at the arts and sport.  Taxes were hiked as were the number of public servants … but the power Fisher most wanted was to nationalise monopolies and start government owned businesses to compete with the private sector. 

Fisher feared the High Court would declare such laws unconstitutional … so within a year of winning office Fisher put forth two amendments to the Constitution via referendum.  They sought to take the power over commerce and industrial relations away from the states and give it to the federal government.

The referenda lost 61-39%.  Most politicians would back away from such a rebuff but Fisher had often said he would rather return to labouring in the mines than back down on principle.  Fisher immediately announced he would put the questions again to the electorate … and he raised the stakes.  He added six more socialist referenda and timed the vote to be on the same day as the next federal election in 1913.  Fisher reasoned his personal popularity (which was high) would this time get the referenda passed.

In 1913 Fisher’s opponent was the long term anti-socialist campaigner Joseph Cook.  During the campaign Cook focussed not on attacking Fisher but his eight referenda declaring “Labor wants to get in a position of socialistic supremacy over the whole Commonwealth”.

A hundred years ago Cook defeated Fisher by one seat despite Fisher narrowly winning the popular vote.  All eight referenda were defeated just as narrowly.

Fisher did return as PM for a year at the outset of World War One but the war consumed his agenda and he resigned in mid-1915.  He then lived out his days in London depressed at failing to bring about his socialist utopia in the Antipodes. 

One hundred years ago living standards in Argentina were higher than they were in Australia but today the OECD says Australia is the happiest nation on Earth.  Had Fisher’s Labor Party won one more seat in 1913 that may not have been the case.

John Ruddick is a Sydney based mortgage broker