Murdoch hack, Troy Bramston (is he related to Mavis?), starts off his latest ‘kill Bill’ rant in The Australian with saying that the Australian Labor Party’s (ALP) central mission statement is “to implement the socialist objective”. He mentions assorted plans to have committees to review this objective, and how nothing was ever done. This ‘socialist objective’ comes from 1921, nearly a century ago1, over twenty years before the Liberal party existed. This objective dates from a more radical time in the ALP’s history, when it was responding to a period of industrial unrest and economic uncertainty following the First World War. Even then, the commitment to the “nationalisation on banking and all principle industries” was watered down to suggest that its objective was the “democratic socialisation of industry, production, distribution and exchange, to the extent necessary to eliminate exploitation and other anti-social features in these fields”2.
Modern ALP politicians argue that a healthy private sector is essential for economic growth and employment and that capitalism is not inherently exploitative [it is], and that basic government regulation, effective industrial relations legislation, and active unions, rather than nationalisation is all that is needed to prevent exploitation. In addition, it is well over half a century since the Chifley government unsuccessfully attempted to nationalise an industry (the banks); the last time the ALP attempted to nationalise anything. Indeed, Chifley attempted this nationalisation because he considered the banks were resisting stimulus policies and were not adequately funding the development of the manufacturing industry. Apart from the banks, Chifley was very supportive of private industry, especially in manufacturing2.
The Whitlam government did not attempt to nationalise any industries, nor did the Hawke and Keating governments. Indeed, the latter governments introduced economic rationalist policies with the support of the trade union movement and actually increased private profits by trading off real wage increases in exchange for providing superannuation, education and welfare benefits. The Rudd and Gillard governments both saw a healthy private sector as having a crucial role to play in the economy. Both saw the ALP as being a modern social democratic party2.
It shows you the depths to which the Murdoch press will sink to try to ‘kill Bill’. Dragging up something from nearly a century ago, which has been shown to be largely irrelevant for a modern social democratic party, is typical of the Murdoch press. One could just as easily compare Menzies’ 1942 ‘forgotten people’ speech with the modern ethos of the Liberal Party, given that he was its founder. In this speech, Menzies said that the backbone of the nation was the middle class, while the rich could look after themselves, and the unskilled people were well organised with wages and conditions safeguarded by popular law3. That sounds very much unlike the modern Liberal Party. In fact it sounds more like the modern Labor Party. So, despite the Labor Party ignoring its 1921 ‘socialist objective’ for at least the last 70 years, and being more akin to Menzies’ party than the modern Liberal Party, which is the party of right wing predatory capitalism, Troy Bramston writes this drivel. He is pathetic.