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From a Correspondent
SYDNEY. — Once there was a village which voted that the earth was flat. A Flat-Earth Party is about the only one not vet Droiected in Australia.
We now hold the world's record for political parties in proportion to population, and are on our way to the all-out record for a single country. France had 40 parties before the war. But she had 25,000,000 elec tors. We already have nearly 30 for 4.500.000 electors. Our ally/Russia, gets along with one 'monolithic' party for 180.000.000 people. Most of our parties have sprung up this year. We sprout a new party every week-end lately. Most of them are weak at both ends. 'It is clear that the country is ripe for a new political set-up.' declared the Canberra letter of the Associated Chamber of Manufac tures on April 29. But is it ripe for several dozen new set-ups? The only suggestion for ration ing parties has come from Mr. Coles, M.H.R., chairman of the Rationing Commission, and a one man party himself. 'Every little group that has been hurt by the war,' said Mr. Coles in Perth on May 11, 'is forming- a group to look after its own interests. This is abomin able.' v/NE should also list, as a party to end parties, the In stitute of Public Affairs. Launched on Friday, May 7 (in defiance of the belief that Friday is an unlucky day to start any thing), this aims at securing a National Government which will use the best brains of all parties. It will support parties and candi dates with that outlook. Its council has 25 members, which was one for each party existing when it was formed. It has power to add to its members from time to time. It can thus keep pace with the parties. Its other aims including: creat ing an informed public opinion on economic problems, and on the political and social welfare of Australia. It has a full-time job ahead. The list omits such bodies as the Civic Reform Party of Sydney, which is concerned with munici pal affairs, and the Blackburn. Coles. Wilson, and other one-man Independent parties. Of the 25 (or 26) parties listed. 16 are under a year old. Most of them have come to light in the past four months. lyUR forgotten men, and women, of the middle class now have a party and several parts of parties. The Middle Class Party was formed in Mel bourne on April 8 at a meeting convened by the Australian Bank Officials' Association. Headed by Mr. Hector L. Dwyer — the original Hector of Troy fought for a lost cause — the meet ing decided to strive for adequate representation of the middle class. Even before that. Mr. Menzies, M.H.R., had championed the cause of the 'great, sober, and dynamic middle class.' and described him self as their representative in Par liament. How far the Ginger Group of 17 Federal members, to which Mr. Menzies belongs, is committed to the cause of the middle class is not clear. Mr. Menzies and Mr. Dwyer are not the only Columbuses of the Middle Class. The Liberal Demo cratic Party, launched in Sydney on April 10, two days after the Middle Class Party, appeals to 'the little people,' a term which seems to mean the lower middle class. jf HE platform of this party includes a classless Govern ment, co-operation with the United States (one of its sponsors. Cap tain E. K. White, is also president of the Australia-America Move ment), more labor and social legis lation, secret strike ballots, more pay for soldiers, and pay-as-you-go taxes. It opposses nationalisation. Socialism. Fascism, and Commun ism. ' The Liberal Democrats live up to the first half of their title. They have offered £10 war bonds as prizes for persons offering the best and most effective criticism of the policy. It looks like easy money for someone. The down-trodden middle class has yet another champion in the National Service League. This aims, among other things, at bet ter representation of the middle While the Institute of Public Affairs is to teach the electors the elements of public policy, the New Social Order teaches the candi dates. The 11 candidates that it has already adopted for the New
South Wales State elections are graduates of a special school of political science. The aim of the New Order is the abolition of injustice, unemploy ment, and poverty. It also opposes dicatatorships. It plans to abolish income tax. State revenue will come from the collection by tbe State of all 'socially-created land rent.' M. HE aims of the Sol diers* Independent Political Orga nisation are reported to include the elimination of political and military snobbery. There is no mention of eliminating human nature. The One Party for Australia Party wants to eliminate the 'un- moral indirect taxation of food.' It seeks the recall for members who do not satisfy their electors, and the election of Cabinet Ministers bv open ballot in Parliament. 'A population of 15,000,000 and a 15-year plan for war and peace in dustries, and for the building up of a standing army, are planks sug gesting pessimism about the inter val between this war and the next. More cheerful is a proposal for a yearly holiday, to be called National Family Day. On this politicians, Press, and pulpit would extol the virtue? of family life. President Roosevelt set aside May 16 this year as 'I Am An Ameri can Day.' But. as it was a Sun day, the Americans did not get a holiday out of it. ff HILE new parties soring up like mushrooms in a showery May. there is a tendency for the old ones to split. Mr. E. K. White, a sponsor of the Liberal Democratic Party, lately described the A.L.P. as decomposed and the U.A.P. as diseased. If we take decomposed in the sense of 'separated into constitu ent parts or elements,' his diagno sis needs reversing, or at least amending. It is the U.A.P. that is decom posed. From it has split off. or half-off. the ginger group of 17 Federal members. ^ On the other side, there is a move to make one party grow where three grow now. On May 13 the New South Wales Labor Council approved by 110 votes to 98 a pro posal for a united front of 'all political parties of the working class.' The Popular Front idea thus en dorsed was proposed to the A.L.P. by the Communists. Its chances of acceptance by both the A.L.P. and the S.L.P. are poor. R ROPOSALS to amalga mate ihe U.A.P. and the U.C.P. on an Australia-wide basis were made recentlv. but failed. Yet in 1941 the two parties merged in Queensland into the Country National Party, which covers ' both State and Federal politics. The Liberal-Country League plays much the same part in South Australia. Of the new parties, eight are in whole or in part servicemen's par ties. It may be expected that some of these will run together. Whatever the mortality among newcomers, many of which will hardly survive their first election. it seems certain that there will be somcssort of ex-servicemen's party. Just now it looks as if the result of one man one vote will even tually be one man one party.
Mr. Coles, M.H.R.. recently A understated the number of parties now. operating in Australia as 18. It is hard to .say whether come of the gioups are parties or not, but here is the latest list, E. and O.E. — -1) A.L.P. (Australian Labor Party ). (2) S.L.P. (State Labor Party). A (3) Communists. (4) U.A.P. (United Australia Party). (5) U.C.P. (United Country Party). (6) Liberal Country League (South Australia). (7) Country National Party (Queensland). (8) National Service Group (U.A.P. breakways). (9) United Electors of Aus tralia. (10) Social Credit. (11) New Social Order. -12( Middle Class Party. (13) Ex-Service Men and Women's Political Party of Australia. (14) Second Australian Ex Service Men's Associa tion. (15) Service and Citizens' Party. (16) Diggers' Party (provi sional title). (17) Ex-Service and People's Party. (18) Soldiers' Protection or Progressive Party. (19) Greater Australia Movement. (20) Liberal Democratic Party (Voice of Free dom). (21) One Party for Austra lia Partv. (22) Australia's National Service League. (23) Soldiers' Independent Political Organisation. (24) Newcastle and Northern Rivers' Services Party. (25) Atokist Party. (26) Women for Canberra Movement.