Maxwell Newton on Whitlam in 1975 to the Workers Party

Maxwell Newton, “New Director Speaks Out: What he had to say,” Workers Party Newsletter, vol. 1, no. 2, June 1975, pp. 1-4.

Maxwell Newton, one of Australia’s most colourful and dynamic business figures, is to play a key role in the future of the Workers Party.

He is a new director of the party and becomes our national spokesman on economic and political issues.

Newton, 46, owns the Sunday Observer newspaper in Melbourne.

He gave an immensely successful speech to a public meeting of the Workers Party in Sydney on May 26.

His speech, published in this issue of the Newsletter [see below], graphically spelled out the rapidly growing trend towards Communism in Australia today.

Maxwell Newton was born in Perth and attended Perth Modern School where one of his “chums” was Bob Hawke.

After winning first class honours in economics at the University of Western Australia in 1951, Newton went to England to Cambridge University.

At Cambridge, he got first class honours in economics in 1953. He was an honorary scholar at Clare College, Cambridge and a Wrembury Scholar a Cambridge in 1953.

From 1953 to 1955, he worked with the Commonwealth Treasury and from 1956 to 1959 was political correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald.

Following this, Newton became managing editor of the Financial Review before coming foundation managing editor of Rupert Murdoch’s national newspaper The Australian in 1964-65.

From 1966 to 1971, Maxwell Newton earned his living as a political and economic writer in Canberra.

Since 1971, he has been managing director of Maxwell Newton Publications.

WHAT HE HAD TO SAY
There is no longer any doubt that there is an acute danger of major economic breakdown in Australia in the next year, to be accompanied by a massive drive for nationalisation of private industry and a curtailment of freedom of individuals.

The forthcoming Federal Budget will bring forward a critical mass of decisions to be made by a Government which has now sunk into an abysmal state of disorder, marked by internal fighting, hatred of criticism, suspicion of its advisers, and pathological commitment to a course of action bound to undermine the traditional social and economic structure of the nation.

Under Whitlam we have come to see the full flowering of the “Envious Society” where total national output is stagnant and where social activity comes to be centred more and more on the vicious pursuit of gain at the expense of one’s fellow citizens. Led by the silver-tongued mountebank Whitlam, with an army of charlatans and quacks behind him, we are seeing the destruction of the foundations of economic growth in our country and we are seeing its possibilities of great wealth being frittered away in an appalling display of profligate government spending whose sole significant result will turn out to have been to throttle economic growth and to put man against man, brother against brother, in the unseemly and disgusting rush for more and more gluttony at the trough of public funds.

The con game of “getting the government to cough up” has replaced the old-fashioned virtue of “getting up off your bum and doing something” which used to be the driving force for national achievement.

Hatred of success in others, envy of achievement, detestation of profit, suspicion of economic development itself have been elevated into virtues by this crypto-Communist rabble which now has seized control of the apparatus of the Commonwealth Government of Australia.

Urged on by these lovers of Russia and China, the Whitlam gang who cheered so long and loud at the death of South Vietnam, Communists in unions throughout the country operate with immunity to disrupt, destroy and foment hatred.

Mr R.J. Hawke may strut the stage and simper on the TV screens but the truth of Australia’s industrial relations is that the Communists are making all the running and Mr R.J. Hawke is having to jog at a hearty clip to keep his position in the front of a union movement fast going mad.

As unprecedented inflation rages, the very heart of future economic progress is being cut out, as profits disappear, private investment plunges and the day of the handout for every bludger in the land is at hand.

The time has long since passed when there could be a hope of a quiet end to the destruction we are now experiencing.

There will be no gradual and painless transition back to sound economic growth, low unemployment, industrial peace and freedom.

That is not possible.

Matters have progressed too far.

In the Budget talks to occur in the next six weeks, it will be evident that Whitlam has two clear choices.

He may either make draconian cuts in his program for socialisation of Australian economic life or he may allow his program of socialisation to continue.

In the first case, there will be a further substantial increase in unemployment now, perhaps to a level exceeding 350,000.

Enormous rise
In the second place, there will be a further enormous rise in the price level during the next year, followed by outright nationalisation of major corporations during 1976 and 1977 as more and more Australian companies collapse under the burdens of fantastic wages demands, shortage of working capital and crippling taxation.

In this second case, there will be a continuance of unemployment over the 300,000 level into 1977.

These are two terrible alternatives for Whitlam.

He has brought the decision upon himself.

He wanted to play God.

He wanted to change our nation overnight.

He wanted to destroy established relationships.

He wanted to unleash a torrent of hate, envy and spleen.

Well, he has had his way.

In the process he has brought the nation rapidly to the point where the forms of a Communist State will seem more and more attractive to his Cabinet, desperately seeking to maintain some forward momentum of economic activity.

There is already plenty of indications that the Communist alternative will be the one which will appeal.

Already under the evil Connor-Hewitt axis there is the program for the nationalisation of oil/gas exploration, uranium, gas pipelines, offshore oil/gas drilling and development.

Mr R.J. Hawke has unveiled one after another of his fanciful – and so far commercially disastrous – schemes for getting the trade union movement into business.

I cannot say how personally committed Mr Hawke is to this program as he makes a very handy sideline, more money, from libel writ settlements, enough to keep a tradesman (or two), in full time and overtime work.

Last week Mr Hawke said the ACTU wanted to nationalise oil and petrol companies in Australia.

Senator Wheeldon, a refugee from the Young Liberal Movement of Western Australia, of which he used to be the head, evidently intends to nationalise the insurance industry and confiscate the funds which form much of the financial life blood of private industry in this country.

It is clear that there will be a crisis in the motor industry in this country within the next year, and there will be demands from the unions concerned for Whitlam to “take over the motor industry because private industry has failed in its job.”

It is certainly not too fanciful to state that there is a very good possibility that Whitlam will eventually make a move to nationalise steel, if and when the BHP company is throttled into financial submission by the dual efforts of the Prices Justification Tribunal and the Communist leaders of the unions.

The essential point is that this is a Government which believes wholeheartedly in the efficacy of the bludgeon.

It is deeply contemptuous of private business and suspicious of private freedom.

Only last week there was the suggestion by Clyde Cameron, that companies be prevented by statute from using their funds for self-protection through advertising and the like.

There is nothing these people will stop at to save their skins and to keep Australia safe for Communism.

The basis of their program has been, and continues to be, to destroy economic stability in order to prepare Australia for the acceptance of the forms of the Communist State.

Whitlam has had spectacular success in cutting the heart out of the once-vigorous Australian economy.

There are still dupes and fools who believe otherwise.

In my own field, of newspapers, these dupes and fools currently control the editorial policies of The Australian Financial Review, The Melbourne Age and Rupert Murdoch’s Australian.

Indeed, the success which Whitlam has had in selling his program of class hatred to the writers on these newspapers (and to their proprietors) is one of the gloomier facets of the trend of events in our country.

It has taken Whitlam less than two years to destroy the economic health of our nation.

Complete control
By the middle of 1973 he had gained complete control of the Australian economy. He had all the reins in his hands.

It was his show completely.

He had dozens of now smart aleck advisers infiltrating the civil service in Canberra.

He had the rabble of Clyde Cameron, Jim Cairns, Connor, Hewitt, simpering Bill Hayden and the viciously devious Lionel Murphy to hand.

He had Fred Gruen, Brian Bogan, Nugget Coombs.

Canberra was crawling with clever dicks who were doing to usher in the millennium Now we can see from the stark facts available the extent of the shambles Whitlam and his army of crawlers and hangers-on have made.

First and foremost, there has been no rise in national output since the middle of 1973.

Gross domestic product, the output of goods and services, at constant prices rose by only 2 per cent in the year and a half ended December 1974. That is little more than a statistical discrepancy.

The great promise of a flowering of a new world of faster growth of output under Whitlam has thus degenerated into stagnation – a no growth, weed-infested, rat ridden pond of an economy.

If Whitlam had been able merely to repeat what Billy McMahon had managed to do during the 1960s, when national output rose by some 5 per cent per annum on average in real terms, then by the December quarter of 1974, total national output would have been about 7.5% greater in real terms than in the June quarter of 1973.

The value of that increase would have been something like $2,500 a year in terms of today’s prices.

That is a measure of the loss in production we are currently suffering in this nation because of the vandalism of Whitlam’s policies.

Output is running at a level at least $2,500 million a year less than would have been the case if smart boy Whitlam had merely done as well as little plodding Billy McMahon.

How much does this work out at for every worker in Australia?

There are currently some 4.75 million civilian employees in Australia.

So if Whitlam had merely succeeded in doing as well as Billy McMahon in bring about the expansion of our national economy, every civilian employee, each worker, in Australia, would currently be able to benefit from $525 more output per head. A principled reason for the cessation of economic growth under Whitlam has been the throttling of the growth of productive investment which has occurred.

There has been a slump in private fixed investment, the very stuff of economic expansion.

Between the December quarter of 1973 and the December quarter of 1974 “real” private fixed capital investment expenditure has fallen by 13 per cent. This has been characterised by some of the socialists in the Fairfax Press as a “strike of capital.”

Drop in profits
It might more accurately be described as “flight from capital spending” occasioned by a very heavy drop in profits, an unprecedented financial squeeze and a wild wages splurge, to the accompaniment of the barrage of abuse from Ministers in menial bowyangs who think of private business as inhabited by mugs and hillbillies.

Private fixed capital investment is still falling heavily.

For all practical purposes, there has been a cessation of work on any new investment projects. Work is continuing on projects approved in earlier years. But the foundations of future growth are simply not being laid.

So Whitlam can whistle for any further substantial increases in output per worker under full employment.

They will not be forthcoming until major changes in policy occur to encourage business once again to take the risks involved in investing for future growth.

Every time some Communist-loving Minister of Whitlam’s opens his mouth the day when this change will take place recedes.

More importantly, Whitlam simply cannot make the resources available for future investment.

This is because he is so busy sending Australia’s existing wealth up the wall in massive increases in wages and in government spending.

Some idea of Whitlam’s priorities may be gauged from these facts.

During the year ended December quarter 1974:

  1. Gross domestic expenditure in current prices rose 17%. That was entirely inflationary. There was no increase in the real value of output at all.
  2. Wages and salaries rose in current prices 31%.
  3. Government spending of all kinds rose 34%.
  4. Company profits in current prices fell 9% – and probably fell by about one quarter in “real” terms.

Now Whitlam is in this position.

He has materially destroyed the prospects for any growth in private investment spending during the next year.

He has already decimated company profits. He cannot get any more from that well.

He has encouraged the unionists to believe that real wages can be increased at the expense of profits and productive investment for the future as a permanent fact of life.

But this is not so.

There is no scope whatever for increasing real wages in the next year unless output increases.

And output will not increase unless private investment increases.

And private investment will not increase unless there is a prospect of a big increase in profits.

And to permit an increase in profits of the proportions needed, Whitlam will have to abandon his program of socialisation.

I do not believe he will do this.

He will not do this because ultimately he and his Ministers are dedicated to erecting the fabric of a Communist state in this country.

So I believe he will continue to try to wriggle out of the corner is in by continuing to spend and spend.

This will merely encourage more inflation.

And this in turn will bring about the collapse of the private economy, as is the case in Britain today.

Already under Whitlam we have experienced terrible inflation, the normal forerunner of a Communist takeover.

Under Billy McMahon, we used to have five to six per cent inflation and five to six per cent “real” growth in national output each year.

This was not world-shattering, but it was a setup which brought steady annual gains to all Australians and the prospect of further steady gains in the future.

It was a situation in which those who wanted to get ahead had prospects of doing so, without having to face the certain knowledge (as is the case today) that their gains would have to be some other Australian’s loss.

By contrast, under Whitlam, we have no growth in production at all, to speak of. And inflation has raged at a rate almost four times that of the average experienced under Billy McMahon in the 60s.

That is the stark contrast.

McMahon’s years
In the eight years ended 1972-73 (the years dominated by Billy McMahon as Treasurer), consumer prices in this country rose 38 per cent, an average of about four per cent a year.

But in the two years ended the March quarter 1975 (the heyday of Whitlam’s rabble), consumer prices rose 34 per cent, an average of 16 per cent a year.

It is almost beyond imagination that there could exist a greater contrast between the “Golden Years” of Billy McMahon and the “Dark Ages” of Gough Whitlam.

Again, Whitlam and his clever dicks in the back rooms in Canberra have topped all their other achievements by bringing about levels of unemployment which would have caused street riots under Billy McMahon.

In 1972, Mr R.J. Hawke, Communists, academic long hairs living off government handouts and smarty financial journalists rushed to condemn little Billy McMahon for the level of unemployment.

What was Billy’s record?

The average level of seasonally adjusted registered unemployed from June 1969 through June 1973 was 75,354.

In February 1974, the figure was 259,551.

So Whitlam has achieved a level of unemployment 3.5 times as high as the average in the last five years of Billy McMahon’s rule.

It is not surprising that unemployment should have rocketed under Whitlam.

You cannot destroy the basic urge to grow in a country and expect a shortage of labour to develop. [sic?]

However, this very abysmal failure of policy under Whitlam will, I believe, only give added fuel to the Communist tendency in the Government.

There will be a greater and greater trend towards using government spending to try to cure all ills.

This will simply mean that a greater and greater proportion of national resources will accrue to the State.

And that State will be controlled by crypto-Communists, who will use the weakness of private business which they have themselves induced, as the justification for taking over ownership and control of more and more of private business.

Experience shows that the tendency for the expansion of the role of the State in the nation’s economic and social life is irreversible, under the present party system.

The function of the Liberals has merely been to delay any further expansion of State power, to inhibit the growth of government.

The principal weapon in the Liberal armoury for bringing about this delay has been that of inertia.

Liberal Governments tend to be very slow moving.

This is a very desirable characteristic.

But it would be foolish and in my view very very self-deluding to believe that a return to a Liberal Government would be accompanied by any material contraction in the power of the State.

In any case, that is very much an academic question at this time.

The momentum of events is so great and the crisis of such proportions, that any thought of a prospective change of government as any sort of a solution to the pressing problems of today is a pipe dream.

Certainly, the Liberals have still failed to give any strong lead to the nation in relation to the immensity and horror of what is occurring.

They seem to believe that Whitlam is some sort of democrat.

Whitlam is a front man for the erection in this country of the forms of a Communist State.

In this, he is a traitor to the spirit of the Constitution.

I believe that only a mass campaign of agitation and even of civil disobedience by the anti-Communist majority of Australians will halt the present trends towards the Servile State.

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