Operating from the bowels of Parliament House is the highly secretive OCPC, the Office of Commentariat and Polling Coordination. Despite my long experience in media regulation, I have decided it is in the national interest to blow their cover.
Like a military high command, the OCPC sends out orders of the day to key operatives in the major media and opinion polling organisations. These are talking points which have achieved a remarkable uniformity of the Australian media.
Media heretics are dealt with by ridicule or old-fashioned censorship. Thus, in a rare ABC appearance, Alan Jones was quickly gagged when he dared summarise essential statistics concerning CO2 to a verbose and warmist journalist from the Australian unaware of this information. Tony Jones interrupted saying Alan had often stated this on radio, without conceding that this was never heard on the ABC whose audience is to be kept in the dark.
Now the OCPC instructions when Robert James Lee Hawke departed this world were clear. He was to be massively eulogised and with the suggestion this was the silver bullet which might help a declining Labor campaign.
As to where Mr Hawke was going, the wonderfully-christened Israel Folau may well be more certain than most. He has no more than restated fundamental Protestant teaching, although I must admit to preferring the Catholic approach where a second chance can be available in Purgatory.
Israel did not preach this in public in, say, the streets, but in what is presumably closer to Heaven, up there in his Church in the Cloud, his Instagram page. Surely the $800,000-a-year-salaried Rugby boss Raelene Castle appreciated that to be offended, any one of those professional offendees would have had to go into his church through Google or by becoming one of his over 300,000 followers.
The result is the most un-Australian attack on freedom to believe and freedom of speech that I can recall. It should not be tolerated for one minute.
To return to Mr Hawke, the media obeyed the OCPC by inundating the nation with eulogy after eulogy, all at the end of a federal election.
On his departure from this life, I did recall that he, a former prime minister, once branded me a liar on a national radio programme. I cannot recount to you the degree of my distress.
This cruel branding was because I had been shown to be correct in pointing out that the republican movement and Attorney-General Daryl Williams QC were wrong when they claimed that if the nation endorsed their soi-disant republic, we would automatically continue as a member of the Commonwealth. In fact, any one of the other 51 members could have imposed a veto. Pointing out that Malaysia’s Dr Mahathir had recently vetoed our membership of another international organisation, I asked what precautions had been taken to ensure our continuing membership. Instead of answering my question, I was denounced as ‘silly’, ‘shameful’ and ‘a liar’.
Not prepared to accept those accusations, I contacted the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Anyaoku, who not only confirmed that I was right but also authorised me to release his letter, which I did. There was no apology from Bob Hawke nor from the drive-by media commentators who took his side.
Now I do agree that Bob Hawke was a successful prime minister. But let’s remember that he was greatly assisted by Opposition leader John Howard who, unlike Labor when he in turn became PM, judged each piece of Labor legislation on its merits and allowed much through the Senate.
The fact is that despite his achievements, we are still suffering from some of his misguided even disastrous policies.
The first was that like so many Australian politicians, he underwent a messianic conversion to free trade, just as so many today are over global warming. Unlike other countries’ politicians, ours not only believe in free trade, since Whitlam they practise it without insisting on reciprocity. The result is we have lost most of our manufacturing industry while still being locked out of vast parts of the agricultural markets of the world.
Nor was HECS the answer to the mess Whitlam had made by unconstitutionally trying to take over tertiary education. It was a socialist answer to a socialist problem. Nor indeed was forcing self-government onto the ACT and creating a monstrosity the correct approach.
Above all, there was the failure to drought-proof the country. Hawke closed down Fraser‘s inquiry into the feasibility of the Bradfield Plan to bring down water from the North, protecting North Queensland from flooding and also turning the Murray-Darling into the breadbasket of not only Asia but probably the world. But for Hawke, this scheme could now well be in place.
Then, even going so far as using the RAAF to spy on fellow Australians, he blocked the building of the Franklin Dam by the Tasmanian Hydro-Electric Commission. Clearly a matter for Tasmania and Tasmania alone, this had nothing to do with any power specifically given to the federal government. Hawke’s success there led to a reluctance of most governments across Australia to build any more dams.
Then there was Medicare. In justification, it was claimed a small number of people could not afford doctor’s appointments or health insurance. So a giant, lumbering, inefficient, wasteful and socialist juggernaut was created at enormous cost. This resulted, as all socialism does, in queuing for services with bureaucrats deciding who should go first. Eventually private insurance had to be allowed but on socialist terms resulting in massive bills for gaps nobody understands. Having created such an appalling mess, the socialists now want to do the same with dentistry.
Then there was privatisation, usually for the totally improper purpose of spending the proceeds immediately and usually on the bureaucracy and welfare. This is as foolish as selling your house and living high for a year. Public ownership can work for the public benefit in both monopolistic and oligopolistic markets.
Hawke was a successful but not a perfect prime minister. And I’m still waiting for my apology, although that would of course be against OCPC guidelines.
Subscribe to The Spectator Australia today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Subscribe – Try a month free