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The Australia First Manifesto


Edward Quicke, Portrait of Percy Reginald Stephensen, 1945

8,217 words

Fifty Points For An Australia-First Party After The War
These Fifty Points of Policy for an Australia-First Party After the War, first printed in The Publicist, Sydney, on 1st May, 1940, are herein elaborated as a primer for the use of Australian students of National Reconstruction.


Sydney, 1st August, 1941

 Fifty Points of Policy For an Australia-First Party After the War

(Reprinted from The Publicist, 1st May, 1940)


1.   For “Australia first”; against secondariness.

2.   For Australian culture; against imitativeness.

3.   For self-dependence; against colonial status.

4.   For nationalism; against “inter-nationalism.”

5.   For equality and alliance; against imperial federation.

6.   For national socialism; against international communism.

7.   For forthright diplomacy; against “moralising.”

8.   For national self-protection; against pacifism.

9.   For conscription for defence; against conscription for abroad.

10.   For territorial integrity; against cession.

11.   For autonomy in foreign affairs; against interference.

12.   For autonomy in military affairs; against interference.

13.   For peace in the Pacific; against war-seeking.

14.   For higher birth-rate; against immigration.

15.   For “White” Australia; against heterogeneity.

16.   For Aryanism; against Semitism.

17.   For government; against anarchy.

18.   For monarchism; against republicanism.

19.   For authority; against dictatorship.

20.   For resolute government; against vacillation.

21.   For statesmanship; against parliamentary careerism.

22.   For leadership; against demagogocracy.

23.   For personal responsibility; against government paternalism.

24.   For long-range policy; against short-term expediency.

25.   For political principle; against unpolicied opportunism.

26.   For national unity; against sectional disunity.

27.   For mutuality; against individualism.

28.   For political partisanship; against class sectionalism.

29.   For “Rightism”; against “Leftism.”

30.   For civil service; against bureaucracy.

31.   For the right to vote; against compulsory polling.

32.   For legitimate speech; against “free” speech.

33.   For responsible journalism; against “freedom of the press.”

34.   For political education; against political apathy.

35.   For women in the home; against women in industry.

36.   For babies; against birth-restriction.

37.   For Australian schooling; against imported pedagogy.

38.   For discipline; against casualness.

39.   For loyalty; against subversiveness.

40.   For the police; against criminals.

41.   For economy; against extravagance.

42.   For saving; against waste.

43.   For work; against doling.

44.   For industrial development; against speculation.

45.   For competition; against monopoly.

46.   For private ownership; against government encroachment.

47.   For conservative banking practice; against inflation.

48.   For less taxation; against greater taxation.

49.   For reduction of debt; against increase of debt.

50.   For world trade; against restricted trade.

 Australia First! Long Live the King!


An Exposition of The Publicist’s Fifty Points

(Reprinted from The Publicist, 1st August, 1941)

PRINCIPLES, NOT PLANKS: For five years and two months, since July, 1936, writers for this Publicist have been expounding principles of politics, rather than advocating parliamentary-party “planks” of legislative reform. To many readers, such a procedure, of influencing public opinion without the ulterior motive of vote-catching, has seemed so unorthodox as to be virtually incomprehensible; yet it is the proper conception, of a political publicist, to arouse political consciousness in the community, in the hope that an informed public opinion will result in better government. We retain, therefore, an independent point of view in our publicism, in contrast with the regimented and dogmatic credos of the parliamentary sectional parties—agglomerations of opportunists which, for more than fifty years, have vied with each other in offering to the public promises of legislative reforms, conferring electoral bribes from the largesse, deemed inexhaustible, of taxation and public loans. We of this Publicist do not adhere to this concept of sectionalised party-parliamentary “democracy,” which has been adequately described by Senator Crawford as “government of the gullible by the garrulous.” In essence, The Publicist has been, and is, the fore-runner of a New Order in Australia, a genuinely-new Order, under which sectionalism in government will become obsolete. Our self-imposed task was to throw a stone into the stagnant pool of Australian political complacency, and this we have done, within the limits of our reach; but a far greater stone was thrown by Mr. Neville Chamberlain, on 3rd September, 1939, when he announced Britain’s declaration of war against Germany. This declaration automatically put Australia also into a state of war; and, ever since then, political consciousness among Australians has been increasing. The war was announced as a war of ideas, a political war; and this in itself was a challenge to Australians to examine their own political fundamentals. Under military necessity, but by political paradox, the Government of Australia, following Britain’s lead, has been obliged to abandon at least some of the practices of democratic sectionalism and community disunity which it was alleged the war is being fought to preserve. Under military necessity, the “democratic” forms have veered towards “totalitarian” forms; and in this respect a profound reorganisation of Australian politics is already under way. This war is, in effect, the birth-pangs of a New Order, which will persist and take clearer shape after the war ends. For fifteen months, since 1st May, 1940, The Publicist has anticipated future developments by publishing “Fifty Points of Policy for an Australia-First Movement After the War.” These “points” have been, and are, intended to direct the thoughts of thoughtful Australians away from sectional politics towards fundamental national-political principles. Though the points are in themselves each self-explanatory, it may remove some misconceptions as to The Publicist’s propaganda if I now elaborate and comment on each of these fifty propositions seriatim:

AUSTRALIA FIRST: Point 1, “for Australia First; against secondariness,” is the basis of Australian Nationalist propaganda, the source from which everything else flows. We hold it to be a truism, derived from all human history, that no community could survive, or make progress, by neglecting its own community self-interest, or by organising itself primarily for the benefit of other communities. A community consists of an aggregate of individuals, banded together for mutual aid, protection, and progress of the whole by united action. The whole is thus much greater in power than the parts; but it is less in intellectual capacity as a whole than in its individual parts. The mark of a community’s progress and vitality, or otherwise, is to be found in the waxing or waning of its corporative community-consciousness: the extent to which individuals identify themselves, or abstain from identifying themselves, with the well-being of the whole. At present, Australia lacks a heightened community-consciousness, and is, from this fact, on a path of community-decay. Our aim here is to inculcate Australian National Patriotism, under the slogan of “Australia First,” as a remedial measure, to integrate the community’s consciousness in the desire for survival and progress. The simple word, “first,” does not permit of compromise. Its imperative is that all Australian individuals and sections should be persuaded or compelled to put the interests of the Australian community-as-a-whole above all individual and sectional interests; for, verily, any individual or section which seeks to benefit itself at the expense of the community-as-a-whole is contributing to the impoverishment of the community-as-a-whole, and hence ultimately of all individuals and sections within it, and comprising it. As a corollary of this proposition, those individuals and sections, within Australia, which seek to sacrifice Australia’s welfare and progress for the benefit of any non-Australian community, are inevitably contributing to Australia’s decline and fall. Those to whom is delegated the duty of governing Australia are plain traitors to Australia whenever, by deeds or words, they neglect to put Australia’s interests first: but this principle is neither given expression nor applied by Australian parliamentarians of the existing sectional parties, dedicated as they are to partial, not total, Australian interests.

AUSTRALIAN CULTURE: Point 2, “for Australian culture; against imitativeness,” implies an obligation upon all Australian individuals, whether as private citizens or as components of the Government, to foster the growth of a distinctive National Australian culture in Australia, as a means of preventing intellectual and biological decline; for a nation without pride in its own traditions could not endure: and it is the distinctiveness of culture and custom which differentiates one nation from another, and thus creates National Unity, National Consciousness, the pre-requisite of National Survival. Lacking a distinctive Australian culture, Australians are nondescripts: and the utmost to which they could aspire would be to excel in imitation. By seeking to conform with cultural habits originated elsewhere, Australians brand themselves as uncreative mediocrities, despised by those they imitate. The opportunity to establish and maintain a distinctive Australian National Culture is thus the opportunity to establish and maintain a distinctive Australian Nation. If this opportunity is declined or shirked, the Australian community will vanish from history, without trace.

SELF-DEPENDENCE: Point 3, for “self-dependence; against colonial status,” implies the maturing of Australian national, political, and cultural consciousness, and the formation of community-habits of mind freed of old-time “colonial” dependence on Britain. This process of emancipation, from “filial” to “partnership” status, has long been recognised, by Britain’s statesmen, as an inevitable development within the Empire. Much lip-service has been given to it as an “ideal”; but there has been a hesitancy, among Australians, in implementing the “ideal”; and the initiative throughout has been retained by Britain, as for example in the enactment of the Statute of Westminster. Exigencies of war have postponed the discussion of Constitutional aspects of the nexus between Britain and her colonies and dominions; but those same exigencies have tended to make Australia in fact much more self-dependent, in defence and commerce, than previously. It remains now only for the Australian community-mind to be readjusted to this incipient self-dependence, and to maintain and enlarge it after the war ends.

NATIONALISM: Point 4, “for nationalism; against internationalism,” implies an adherence to the established realities of human political organisation, as contrasted with the visionary idealism of those who would seek to organise the population of the globe into larger and ever-larger political entities. We believe that nations, of natural growth, are the natural political units, their limits defined by racial and placial factors which are ultimates. As Australia is an Island, strategically well-situated for defence, and of almost homogenous racial composition, it is a nation in posse; but could develop strongly as a nation only by conscious adherence to Nationalism. All those who, within Australia, propagate doctrines of trans-national “internationalism” are militating against the prospects of Australian community-growth. They propose the subordination of Australia’s vital interests to those of other and non-Australian communities. In proportion to as their propaganda succeeds, Australia will fail to make progress.

EQUALITY OF STATUS: Point 5, “for equality and alliance; against imperial federation,” implies a desire that Australia, equal in political status with Britain, should enter into an alliance with Britain, on the basis of co-operation, mutual aid, mutual trade, mutual cultural exchange, and mutual quid pro quo. This concept of Australian status does not imply Imperial Federation, or any form of trans-national federation. We of The Publicist oppose the delegation of political authority over Australians to any body domiciled outside Australia. We therefore oppose any proposals for the adherence of Australia to any inter-national or trans-national Federation of any sort; for it is evident that Australia’s interests would suffer from any such federal merger implying a diminution of Australian self-governing power. We regard all proposals for federal mergers, within or beyond the British Empire, as impracticable idealistic dreams; and we view with profound suspicion all persons who, within Australia, advocate the partial or total abrogation of Australian sovereign powers.

NATIONAL SOCIALISM: Point 6, “for national socialism; against international communism,” does not concede any exclusive right or title to German “Nazis” in the use of the words “national” and “socialism.” Using these terms in their old-established dictionary meanings as English words in general usage, we support all national forms of socialism, as against the so-called “international” aspirations of Bolshevik Russian Communism or Marxism. We believe that socialism is necessary in those departments of production, distribution and exchange in which monopoly-control is advantageous to the community; for the power of monopoly is too great to be entrusted to private enterprise. We believe in socialism as implying the paramount power of the State to regulate trade, industry and finance for the general good, and to prevent abuses; but we do not believe in State ownership or management of any utilities which are adaptable to more efficient management by private and competitive enterprise. The criterion here is that the State should use its powers to curb the abuses of monopoly, by taking over the ownership of monopolies; but, apart from this, socialism, as we understand the term, implies the use of the State’s powers to assist and encourage private enterprise in all those fields in which private enterprise is more efficient than bureaucratic control.

DIPLOMACY: Point 7, “for forthright diplomacy; against moralising,” implies recognition of the need for the negotiation of matters in dispute between nations on the basis of mutual frankness, toleration, and concessions—the principle of “live-and-let-live.” This policy, which has been contemptuously described as “appeasement,” is capable of averting wars in all cases in which there is not a basic biological conflict or opposition between nations. The introduction of tendentious “moralising” into the language and processes of diplomacy, however, is more likely to precipitate wars than to avert them; for what is “right” in the view of one nation may be “wrong” in the view of another dwelling in different conditions. >From this point of view, the introduction of “moral” issues into politics (as distinct from theology) leads to mutual misunderstandings based on arbitrary assumptions. From this springs intolerance and lack of mutual sympathy and respect, which often precipitates wars, on “intellectualised” grounds, between nations whose interests are not biologically opposed.

PACIFISM: Point 8, “for national self-protection; against pacifism,” counteracts the propaganda of those who, on sentimental humanitarian grounds, have urged, particularly during the two Decadent Decades, 1919-39, that Australia should adopt deliberately a policy of military unpreparedness. Such a policy we view as simply a product of decadence. We assume it is the expression of suicidal tendencies in those who put it forward. For as long ahead as foresight can foresee, Australia will need a policy of defensive militarism: the alternative is that this nation will perish.

CONSCRIPTION: Point 9, “for conscription for defence; against conscription for service abroad,” is a statement of the already-existing national policy of Australia, established by the Defence Acts of 1903-1909, and confirmed unmistakably by the referendums of 1916 and 1917. No Australian Government would dare to impose conscription-for-service-abroad without a referendum; and it is inconceivable, in view of Australian tradition and Australian strategic realities, that any such referendum would alter the prevailing practice. The question would merely be “academic” except for the existence of individuals and sections within the community who constantly urge a change in the established policy. Such individuals would be bitterly fought, even to the point of civil war, if they ever attempted to impose their minority desire against the wishes of the majority of Australians. In this matter, “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”

TERRITORIAL ENTITY: Point 10, “for territorial integrity; against cession,” also affirms an established Australian political principle, based on the fact of Australia’s continental insularity as a strategic and political entity. Only a limited amount of time, however, can be reasonably be allowed to Australia by other nations for the effective occupation of this demesne. An under-occupied nutritional area is a standing invitation to acts of aggression by hungry nations. The principle of territorial integrity is therefore knit with the problem of obtaining adequate population for the defence of every Australian square inch. Australian disloyalists have recently suggested the virtual cession of a part of northwest Australia for occupation by alien Jews: an outrageous proposal, implying cession, and equivalent to conniving at invasion by trickery.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Point 11, “for autonomy in foreign affairs; against interference,” supports the power of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia (as set forth in Part V, Section 51, Clause xxix, of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, 63 & 64 V.R. cap. 12) to legislate with respect to “External Affairs.” Under this proviso of the Constitution (and irrespective of the Statute of Westminster, 22 Geo. 5, cap. 4), the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia may act in Foreign Affairs with or without consultation or collaboration with the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

MILITARY AFFAIRS: Point 12, “for autonomy in military affairs; against interference,” rests on Part V, Section 51 (vi) of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia, under which the Parliament of the Commonwealth has power to legislate for “the naval and military defence of the Commonwealth and of the several States.” Under our Constitution, the extent of aid to be rendered by Britain to Australia, and vice versa, in time of war, is entirely voluntary, at the discretion of the respective governments of Britain and of Australia. The maintenance of this established principle is as vital for Australia as it is for Britain. It is the bounden duty of Australian statesmen, under the Constitution, to maintain Australia’s autonomy and equality of status with Britain in military matters, on the established basis of voluntary co-operation and mutual aid; but the question whether or not this principle is best in practice for the maintenance of Britain’s Empire is not within the province of Australians to determine.

PEACE IN THE PACIFIC: Point 13, “for peace in the Pacific; against war-seeking,” implies that Australia’s National Interest, now, and for as long ahead as can be foreseen, is best served by the preservation of peaceful and friendly relationships among the nations which border the shores of the Pacific Ocean. As Australia, however, is not sufficiently powerful to enforce such a pax, we can merely contribute, towards the attainment of such an end, our maximum diplomatic, economic and cultural influences: avoiding aggression and offensiveness, seeking mutual tolerance and understanding, refusing to be used as “pawns” in the game of power-diplomacy tending towards war in this region.

POPULATION: Point 14, “for higher birth-rate; against immigration,” implies a complete reorientation of existing Australian public opinion on the population-problem. Confronted with a steep decline in the birth-rate, presaging a fall in the population, most Australians look to immigration from abroad to make up the deficiency. This attitude of mind evades the real issue, i.e., that conditions which do not attract babies will not attract immigrants. In fact, “babies are the best immigrants”; and there are already enough women of child-bearing age in Australia to enable the continent to be populated to its optimum with Australian-born citizens. If Australian women, however, refuse to bear sufficient children to maintain and increase the population, the community will inevitably decline. It is mere “wishful thinking” to expect further large-scale immigration to Australia from the British Isles, where the decline of the birth-rate has gone even further than in Australia. Future immigration from European Continental countries is hypothetical, except in the case of alien Jews, who would form segregated alien racial minorities within Australia, contrary to the National policy of homogeneity. The biological problem, of maintaining and increasing Australia’s population from at-present-existing resources, is the biggest problem confronting Australian statesmanship. Unless all national energies are concentrated urgently on the solution of this problem, the Australian community, as at present constituted, is threatened with extinction, within a measurable period of time.

WHITE AUSTRALIA: Point 15, “for White Australia; against heterogeneity,” affirms the established Australian biological aim of creating in Australia a permanent home for persons of European racial derivation, avoiding problems of racial minorities, discrimination, and miscegenation. This principle of racial homogeneity could be maintained only by a constant increase of “white” population up to the optimum necessary for defence. Australia was the first country in the world to make racial homogeneity a basic socio-political principle; but such a policy cannot be maintained if the fecundity of the “white” population within Australia is allowed to diminish.

ARYAN AUSTRALIA: Point 16, “for Aryanism; against Semitism,” is an attempt to make even more precise the principle of racial homogeneity implied in the “White Australia” doctrine; for, although Semitic writers have endeavoured to demonstrate that there is no such thing as an Aryan Race, such writers make no attempt to prove the non-existence of a distinct Semitic race. The term “Aryan” is here used, as it has been used by scientific and historical writers for more than seventy years, to describe those inhabitants of present-day Europe whose ancestors migrated, in the dawn of history, from India, Persia, and the Caucasus regions westwards into the European regions, where they settled, became acclimatised, and established European civilisation and the present-day European nations, derived from a common racial stock, and possessing racial characteristics which in fact are different from the racial characteristics of the Semitic, Negro, Mongol and other races of mankind. The effect of the “White Australia” policy has been to establish a population here which is approximately 98 percent Aryan. Any large-scale immigration of non-absorbable Semitic or other non-Aryan elements here now would inevitably create biological disease and disorder in the Aryan Australian community. This problem may become very urgent as a sequel to the present war in Europe, from which there may be a Semitic “exodus” towards Australia as a “Promised Land.”

GOVERNMENT: Point 17, “for government; against anarchy,” implies a recognition of the civilised principle, “the government must govern.” Ever since the French Revolution of 1789, the concept of democratic egalitarianism has tended to diminish the respect of “democratic” peoples for their governments. In Australia, the press pillories parliamentarians and so diminishes public respect for them; and the parliamentarians themselves, playing at the Democratic Game of in-and-out opposition, assist in the process of lowering the Government’s prestige. This process makes strong government, based on long-range policies, virtually impossible. A community cannot make progress when respect for government is lacking.

MONARCHISM: Point 18, “for monarchism; against republicanism,” affirms the existing principle of government in Australia, where all processes of law are conducted in the name of an hereditary Crowned Monarch, as superior to the republican principle of electing the Head of the State by popular suffrage.

DICTATORSHIP: Point 19, “for authority; against dictatorship,” implies a responsibility, upon those who govern, to act firmly in accordance with stated principles, approved by the majority of the people, but not to act dictatorially, arbitrarily, on a whim, or against the wishes of the people.

VACILLATION: Point 20, “for resolute government; against vacillation,” implies a responsibility upon statesmen to be guided by reasoned policies, and not by day-to-day expediency. The system of parliamentary “democracy,” with periodical elections, and changes of government alternating between representatives of sectional interests, tends to vacillation and compromise on the fundamental national necessities; particularly when these necessities demand sternness of mind to put them into effect.

STATESMANSHIP: Point 21, “for statesmanship; against parliamentary careerism,” suggests an obligation, upon those who aspire to govern, to define national policies and abide by their definitions. The system of electing a Cabinet of Ministers, from the majority party or coalition in a sectionalised parliament, to constitute a government, encourages parliamentary careerism, rather than the well-being of the community, as the ultimate objective of candidates for parliament. The necessity to win votes from, or not to estrange, sections within the community, acts as a brake upon statesmanship, and reduces the public utterances and actions of many Cabinet Ministers to a level of affable mediocrity.

LEADERSHIP: Point 22, “for leadership; against demagogocracy,” is an appeal to members of the Australian Government to act as leaders, not as followers, of “public opinion.” While it is admitted that no government, or system of government, can endure against the wishes of the people, this does not imply that the people know better than the Government what is best for the community. The people delegate to the Government the duty and worry of governing the community; and therefore an onus is thrown upon the government to govern. Leadership appeals to the strengths of a people; demagogocracy appeals to the weaknesses. By policies of strength, a community increases in power, prestige, numbers, and culture; but by policies of weakness it declines. Australia urgently needs a leadership, appealing to Australian strength.

PATERNALISM: Point 23, “for personal responsibility; against government paternalism,” implies that it is the duty of a Government to increase the sense of personal responsibility among citizens, and not to weaken that sense of personal responsibility by excessive governmental paternalism. The “democratic” technique of vote-catching has lead to an increasing dependence of an ever-increasing number of Australians upon the Government for largesse. This bounty encourages drones, penalises the hard-workers, and ultimately creates a Servile State, which inevitably decays from within. We seek now to increase self-dependence among Australians, individually as well as collectively; we seek to reduce Government paternalism: the people must support the Government, but the Government cannot support the people.

LONG-RANGE POLICY: Point 24, “for long-range policy; against short-term expediency,” is an appeal for more statesmanship, less politicianship. The life of a community is of a thousand years or more; of a parliament but three; we seek Statesmen who will think ahead, beyond the “Next Election,” to Australia’s future, beyond the year 2,000: Statesmen devoted to Great Australia, an experiment in progress and civilisation: Statesmen who will be Wardens of the Future, not mortgagors of it: leaders of a community which will pass on life to its descendents enriched, not impoverished.

PRINCIPLE: Point 25, “for political principle; against unpolicied opportunism,” establishes the necessity of long-range guidance and government of the community in accordance with a set of consciously-adopted and understood principles of community-survival and progress. This is in contrast with the prevailing practice of parliamentary-political parties in Australia, all of which extemporise programmes for vote-catching purposes, appealing to short-term cupidity, the worst instinct of the people.

NATIONAL UNITY: Point 26, “for national unity; against sectional disunity,” expresses the idea of the Body Politic, Corporative State, or Social Organism: a political idea as old as humanity: a biological fact as old as organic life. It was not until the American Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789 that the idea of community Oneness was replaced in practice by “democratic” sectionalism and the surface-claim of “equality,” enunciated particularly as a doctrine by J.-J. Rousseau. As this egalitarian political idea came to the fore about the same time as power-industrialism, it has been credited with most of the benefits conferred upon mankind by power-industry: a complete non-sequitur. In fact, “democratic” egalitarian sectionalism has permitted and encouraged the abuses of the power-industrial economic system, by giving scope to “financial” manipulation of political parties in equipoise. By such manipulation, “financial” interests have found it easy to gain control of communities which are weakened and disunited under the political system of “democratic” sectionalism. In Australia, government by Parliamentary Democracy, so-called, has disunited the community and has made it vulnerable to manipulation by minority financial interests mainly domiciled overseas. The remedy now is to establish the Australian Nation as an Organic Unity, or Corporative Community, or Body Politic, or Social Organism, autonomous in its own nutritional area, and functioning as an integrated Whole. This does not imply de-differentiation of classes on “communistic” lines, but it implies the ending of political sectionalism, and the subordination of sectional influences to the dominant interest of the community, integrated as a Whole. National Unity, thus conceived, certainly means much more than a parliamentary Cabinet-coalition of sectional parties for temporary expediency. It implies the dissolution of all existing sectional political parties, their eradication root and branch, and the creation of a new political structure to represent true National Unity and Australian Community Oneness: and if this reconstruction is not politically practicable, then the sectionalised Australian community will inevitably disintegrate and decline, and perish.

MUTUALITY: Point 27, “for mutuality; against individualism,” indicates the political principle that individuals are combined in a community for mutual benefit; consequently, any individual who wars against the community, by endeavouring to benefit himself at the expense of the community, or without giving commensurate service to the community for the benefits he receives from it, must expect to be restrained, or even punished by the community for his anti-social conduct: in extreme cases, extermination of such anti-social individuals is the only remedy.

PARTY AND CLASS: Point 28, “for political partisanship; against class sectionalism,” provides for differences of opinion, within a community, as to the best method of advancing the community’s welfare; but denies the validity of any such partisanship based solely on economic class-categories. The fact that a man is a capitalist or a pauper, an employer or an employee, does not affect the validity or otherwise of a political argument advanced by him, concerning the welfare of the community-as-a-whole.

“RIGHTISM” AND “LEFTISM”: Point 29, “for Rightism; against Leftism,” has reference to a preposterous political metaphor which gained currency as jargon during the two Decadent Decades, 1919-39. Loosely defined, “Leftism” was synonymous with communism, anti-capitalism, trans-national internationalism, pacifism, and a vaguely sentimental humanitarian idealism. “Rightism,” the system of community-life attacked by “Leftists,” has scarcely bothered to make itself articulate in Australia; and remaining passive, has allowed the vocally-clamant and politically-active “Leftists” to set the political pace. Most of the “Leftist” literature distributed in Australia bore the imprint of the London Jewish firm of Gollancz.

CIVIL SERVICE: Point 30, “for civil service; against bureaucracy,” draws attention to the intrinsic, if old-fashioned, meaning of the words “civil” and “service,” which tend more and more to lose application to Government employees in Australia, as Civil Service degenerates into bureaucracy. The policy of Governmental Paternalism, as operated in Australia, implies excessive public borrowing and taxation and the maintenance of an inflated bureaucracy. Employment in Government Service has thus come to be regarded as a safe and sedate career opportunity for tens of thousands of persons, whose number, ever-increasing, makes the process of government more and more complicated and costly. The end of this process will be reached when the limit of taxation and public borrowing is reached: a point not very far distant in Australia. A study of history reveals that a superfluity of public retainers, drawing sustenance from public funds, is an invariable concomitant of community decline and collapse.

COMPULSORY POLLING: Point 31, “for the right to vote; against compulsory polling,” implies a belief that the election of governments should be by the politically-conscious, not the politically forced. The introduction of compulsory polling in Australia has reduced the standard of politics to the Lowest Common Denominator; and the exercise of an electoral franchise under Universal Compulsion has excluded from the seats of government all those individuals, endowed with a high degree of political consciousness, who could not stoop to electoral cajolery and promise-making, against the permanent interests of the community. Statesmanship is in fact an art, or a highly-skilled profession, requiring a lifetime of study and practice; but it cannot be reduced to the Lowest Common Denominator. The system of compulsory periodic polling explains the absence of statesmen from Australian parliaments: a condition which will have to get worse before it gets better. All parliamentary parties make the false claim that voting is compulsory; whereas it is merely polling that is compulsory. The only practicable method now remaining, for non-regimentable persons, to register a protest against parliamentary sectionalism, is to render their compulsory ballot-papers informal: a practice considerably on the increase in recent years.

FREE SPEECH: Point 32, “for legitimate speech; against free speech,” rebuts the false claim, so frequently made, that, under the present political dispensation, individuals have a statutory right to speak, or to write, in public whatever they please. The laws against libel, sedition, indecency, and blasphemy, even in normal times of peace, restrict “free” speech in fact; while in war time there are many additional restrictions in the interests of National Security. This is as it should be; and the facts sufficiently rebut the false claims of those who perversely maintain that Free Speech and Freedom of the Press are integral aspects of our current political system. In practice, “Free Speech” and “Freedom of the Press” are cant terms to describe the opportunities of sectional propaganda possessed by plutocrats and bureaucrats who control wireless broadcasting stations and newspapers. There is an obligation upon the Government to control and regulate such sectional propaganda whenever it operates in a manner detrimental to national interest.

JOURNALISM: Point 33, “for responsible journalism; against Freedom of the Press,” draws attention to the contemporary degeneration of the newspaper profession into an instrument of humbugging, rather than an instrument of enlightening, the public. Excessive advertising stimulates luxury-purchasing which the community cannot afford; and the press also encourages the addiction of the public to cinema-dope, spectator-sport, and superstitions such as “astrology.” In these and other directions, the newspapers, pandering to the weaknesses of the community, are nullifying the effects of the public education system, corroding taste, degrading national culture, caricaturing politics, diminishing the community’s dignity, fostering sensationalism and wishful thinking, and, in general, accelerating the community’s decline. Press-control thus becomes an essential pre-requisite of National Resurgence. Under the New Order in Australia, journalists will be compelled to act with a sense of public responsibility, instead of evading and degrading that responsibility, as almost all of them do at present: and this reform will once again make journalism an honoured profession, instead of being, as it is at present, a dirty and dishonourable trade.

POLITICAL EDUCATION: Point 34, “for political education; against political apathy,” implies an onus upon leaders of the community to lead, guide, and instruct the politically-inert masses comprising the majority of the community; inculcating the principles of community-preservation and development. The prevailing political apathy of the Australian people has been produced by compulsory polling and democratic parliamentary sectionalism, offering a bogus choice between party-policies which are not fundamentally opposed. Compulsory polling lulls the public into a false belief that political responsibility has been delegated by a mark made on a ballot-paper once every three years. National Resurgence requires a people alert and politically awake: progress cannot come from a lulled people.

WOMEN: Point 35, “for women in the home; against women in industry,” has annoyed masculinistic women who call themselves feministic; but the fact remains that the “emancipation” of women from domestic duties to commercial wage-earning careers has resulted in a decline of the birthrate, and consequently in a decline of the respect in which women were formerly held. Moreover, women in industry have accepted wages far below customary or statutory male wages, and thereby have provided a type of “coolie” labour, contributing to unemployment among males. A Nation cannot prosper or increase unless its women bear, on an average, three children each; and, although women can do “men’s work” in some industrial occupations, men cannot do women’s work of bearing children. The division of labour, as between the sexes, is biologically prescribed; and the attempt to ignore physiological differentiation of the sexes, for the sake of a socio-political theory of “equality,” is just another example in the modern world of Rousseauistic egalitarian unrealism.

BABIES: Point 36, “for babies; against birth restriction,” is an appeal to Australian women to make themselves happy, whenever practicable, by fulfilling the function for which they are biologically specialised. “Economic” arguments against child-bearing are an expression of National Defeatism, the sacrificing of the Nation’s Future for an empty pursuit of present-day comfort or pleasure: a refusal of individuals to hand on the gift of life which they themselves received at birth. Vanity in the Australian female, weakness in the Australian male, a lack of confidence by both in Australia’s future, have resulted in a fall in the birth-rate, presaging population-decline, and ultimately National Suicide, the end of the Australian Experiment: unless a change of mental attitude towards this vital biological problem occurs.

SCHOOLING: Point 37, “for Australian schooling; against imported pedagogy,” implies a criticism of the existing methods of juvenile education, in primary and secondary schools, for failing to inculcate Australian national sentiment, lore, and tradition in Australian boys and girls. This is not to be wondered-at, in view of the fact that Australian Universities are completely Europocentric, imitative, derivative, and colonial, in their constitutions, curricula, and teaching staffs. There is not a Professor of Australian History or of Australian Literature in any one of the six Australian Universities. It is the University Blight on Australian schools which is making the Australian community a community without National Patriotism, lacking a “National Soul.” Drastic reform of the University and School-system is a prerequisite of Australian Resurgence. Education, compulsory and free, is so cheap that it is poor: not valued either by teachers or pupils: blighted by bureaucracy and colonialism: an Augean stable, actually.

DISCIPLINE: Point 38, “for discipline; against casualness,” debunks the bad Australian tradition that casualness is an Australian virtue. It is in fact the worst Australian trait: a slackness of mind and manners tending to peonage, and characteristic of a people who live by borrowing in preference to work. The slackening of military training, during the Decadent Decades, 1919-39, contributed to community indiscipline and slackness: but the casualness goes deeper; it is a phenomenon of Colonial Torpor: the lack-lustreness of a people who do not control their own destiny, and are devoid of ambition. Military rule, the imposition of authority “from above,” may yet, under harsh necessity, prove the only practicable method of eliminating Australian slackness and casualness of mind and manners.

LOYALTY: Point 39, “for loyalty; against subversiveness,” counteracts the propaganda of those decadent elements within the community which seek to undermine the community’s life while enjoying the advantages conferred by community-organisation. These are the sneaking disloyalists, the white-ants, working in the dark, boring from within, believing themselves “clever” when they can use a respectable mask for a disreputable purpose. They are rats, who lurk in holes, scurry out a little in the dark, gnawing the national fabric. Among them, disloyalty and falseface are instinctive: they lack honour, and do not understand it. The relative decline of religious belief in part explains the growth of disloyalty in the community: secular education has failed to inculcate a rationalised Code of Civil Behaviour in lieu of the traditional theological codes. Only the deliberate inculcation of National Patriotism could create a public sentiment which would make disloyalty seem despicable; but scarcely anyone in Australia is really loyal to Australia. The habit of putting self or section before the community’s welfare is the origin of all other disloyalties.

POLICE AND CRIME: Point 40, “for the police; against criminals,” rebukes sentimentalists who wish to see the punishment of criminals mitigated, or who blame or deplore police action and decry or detract from the dignity of the forces of Law and Order. A sentimental sympathy with criminals is a mark of decadence in the person who possesses such sentiments. A respected Police Force is essential to civilised community-life. Those who have sympathy for criminals against the police must be themselves afflicted with criminal tendencies, or desirous of waging a war against the community.

ECONOMY: Point 41, “for economy; against extravagance,” emphasises a national need, more widely recognised now in wartime than it was in the two decadent decades that were an interim between wars. Yet, whether in war or peace, habits of economy are more beneficial to a community than habits of extravagance. Australians have inherited a pioneer tradition of wastefully despoiling a rich land, living dangerously by living extravagantly. This bad habit has been augmented

by the policy of borrowing abroad; so that Australians, in effect, have developed a mentality of boom, bolstered by windfalls of indebtedness. This Nation of Debtors is about to be brought up now with a round turn; for the virgin productivity of Australia has passed its limit, and the resources of overseas borrowing have dried up. Already wartime exigency is forcing economy upon individuals and curtailing personal extravagance; but it is by no means certain that Government Departments are practising economy and curtailing extravagance: on the contrary, the “astronomical” budgets of today are devised to meet the spending-lust of ever-expanding Government Departments: but to this process there is a limit fixed by the total productive power of the community’s workers: a limit that is now within sight.

SAVING: Point 42, “for saving; against waste,” indicates the positive results of economy, as the accumulation of a community’s capital, or “fat,” in storage for future use. Australians have for a century been living on capital: expending and consuming the proceeds of sale of Crown Lands and Overseas Borrowing. As these sources of easy spending-money are now virtually exhausted, the time is fast approaching when the Australian community will have to live within its income. But a community, or an individual, which spends all its income, builds up no reserve of capital or fat for time of need. As the ant said to the cicada: “You sang all the summer; now dance, for winter comes.”

WORK AND DOLE: Point 43, “for work; against doling,” is a reminder of the extent to which Australia had departed from the basic principles of community-health during the Decadent Decades, 1919-39, by handing out “doles” of public funds to “unemployed” men, instead of finding work for them to do. For this deplorable policy, the Trade Union high wages standard in sheltered industries was partly responsible. The vested interest of high-wage workers, buttressed by Arbitration Court Awards, made it impossible for prospective employers to employ prospective workers at economic wage-rates: unemployment resulted, with a dole from the charity of Government Paternalism, at the expense of taxpayers generally, to sustain out-of-works while the in-works made no sacrifice of standards of comfort. Better than doles and demoralisation would be equality of sacrifice among workers: the abolition of the Trade Union “aristocracy of Labour.”

INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT: Point 44, “for industrial development; against speculation,” pleads with capitalists to use their capital in productive enterprises, rather than in speculative enterprises aiming at “unearned increment” or excessive or quick profit. The constant borrowing of money by Government has absorbed an unduly large proportion of Australian capital which would normally have gone into productiveness. We have become a “rentier-state,” a community of mutual parasites; but it must also be admitted that Government policy, favouring the employee at the expense of the employer, has discouraged the investment of private funds in productive enterprises which would not only have made profits, but also would have made employment. Instead of investing in industry, capitalists have loaned their money to the Government, and the Government has paid interest out of the capital so borrowed: a process which would land a Company Director in gaol.

COMPETITION: Point 45, “for competition; against monopoly,” indicates a belief that the most efficient organisation of a community’s economic life is that which provides for competition in production and distribution, governed by the expectation of profit and the risk of loss. Monopoly, whether under State or private ownership, tends to stagnation, the incentive to efficiency removed; and, though the system of private competitive capitalistic enterprise is liable to abuses by unscrupulous individuals, the same is true of non-competitive State-owned enterprise. The criterion is efficiency in service to the community; and the duty of the Government is to assist, not to harass and hamper, legitimate competitive enterprise.

PRIVATE OWNERSHIP: Point 46, “for private ownership; against government encroachment,” rebuts the proposition, advanced by Marxian Socialists, that it is the duty of Government to expropriate or rob private owners of their property. This conception of a Bandit State, compelling owners to yield the fruits of their enterprise and savings to a general pool intended to sustain the improvident and the thriftless, amounts virtually to an encouragement of improvidence and thriftlessness at the expense of the enterprising and economical. Elaborated as a doctrine in the specious guise of humanitarianism, this theory of government has brought Australia into a condition approaching chronic stagnation; from which nothing now will save the community except a conscious organisation of property-owners (the majority) to save their privileges against the encroachments of Governmentally-encouraged thriftlessness and parasitism.

BANKING: Point 47, “for conservative banking practice; against inflation,” is a reminder that banking institutions can perform a valuable service to the community only as long as they remain solvent and have a surplus of assets over liabilities with which to meet their commitments. This conservative banking practice, observing the essential conditions for the carrying-on of banking business, is continually under attack by critics who suggest that banks, or a central Government Bank, should “expand credit,” presumably beyond assets held as security. Such an expansion of credit would be in fact possible, as a bluff, and for a short period; but the resulting inflation would cause such a wide devaluation of values as to cause a general economic “smash.” Such an inflation of bank credit, far in excess of assets held on security, caused a Bank Smash in Australia in 1893; and has caused many other Bank Smashes in many other countries at various times. Proposals of the Credit Expansionists are not new, but are as old as human credulity. The desire of “something for nothing,” a common human failing, is particularly deep-rooted in Australia, where faith in government manipulation as a substitute for real work has the fervour of a cult; but there is no getting away from the fact that wealth comes from work and capital from savings. Magic Wands, Aladdin’s Lamp, Douglas Credit, and the Philosopher’s Stone are old illusions, abracadabras of wishful thinking, dreams of the lazy and the thriftless.

TAXATION: Point 48, “for less taxation; against greater taxation,” enunciates a principle the opposite to that on which government in Australia is at present conducted; but a principle none-the-less sound for that. It is an old-established fact in human history that excessive taxation brings stagnation. There is in fact a point beyond which taxation cannot go; when taxation reduces the community’s productiveness and hence reduces its capacity to pay tax. This point has already been reached, or surpassed, in Australia: and taxation is now making encroachments not only upon national income but also upon national capital. The ultimate results will be dire: and some government in Australia at some not-far-distant future date will take office with the express intention of reducing taxation, and of effecting economies in governmental expenditure which will enable this to be done.

DEBT: Point 49, “for reduction of debt; against increase of debt,” propounds the biggest practical problem of government in Australia; for Australians have literally lived on borrowed money for the greater part of a hundred years: and the end of that process is in sight, either in default, repudiation, moratorium, cancellation, or scaling-down of debt by ruthless economies. The idea that a community can conduct its affairs by perpetual public borrowing on the snowball principle is as fallacious as any political idea could be: yet this is the principle on which Australian governments have “gone nap.” When a halt is called, the readjustments to be made will be severe: and Australians will be awakened, as many other persons living on debt have been awakened throughout human history, with a jolt.

TRADE: Point 50, “for world trade; against restricted trade,” criticises the policies of preferential and discriminatory tariffs which in the past have restricted Australia’s trading with many countries which have been anxious to trade. Such policies, combined with the effects of reparations-payments, trans-national debts, exchange restrictions, embargoes, and boycotts, are impediments to the flow of inter-national trade, and hindrances to the doctrine of freedom of the seas. To these obstructions of trade in peacetime are now added the blockades and sinkings and prohibitions of trade due to wartime conditions, which unavoidably militate against Australian prosperity for the duration of the war, and will have to be paid-for in the post-war epoch. An apparent effect of the war will be a tendency towards autarchy (economic self-sufficiency) within the Australian nutritional area: and, inasmuch as economic policy is governed by political and psychological factors, the development of a strong sentiment of Australian Nationalism will be necessary to bring such economic changes as these into effective operation, creating a New Australia in Australia—after the war ends.

P. R. S.

4th July, 1941



Manifesto of the Australia-First Movement

 (Reprinted from The Publicist, 1st November, 1941)


1.   In view of the extreme gravity of the military situation abroad, and of the political situation at home, an Australia-First Movement has been founded in Sydney, to arouse public opinion to the need of protecting Australia’s vital interests during the coming post-war period.

2.   Affirming loyalty to the King, and upholding established authority, law, and order, the Australia-First Movement calls upon all Australians to work for Unity in “internal” policies, and for Australian Independence in “external” affairs.

3. The Australia-First Movement is opposed to sectional political parties and factions, and urges the subordination of sectional and factional interests to the welfare of Australia First.

4.   The Australia-First Movement will work to cultivate a distinctively Australian National Sentiment, and to encourage an Australian National Culture through educational mediums, including universities, schools, newspapers, cinemas, theatres, and broadcasting stations.

5.   The Australia-First Movement advocates Australian Self-Reliance in military, naval and air defence; and in particular the complete Australian control of all Australia’s Armed Forces.

6.   The Australia-First Movement opposes the surrender of any of Australia’s sovereign rights of self-government to any “international” body, union, federation or league dominated by non-Australian nations.

7.   The Australia-First Movement will advocate, after the present War ends, an Independent Foreign Policy for Australia, including the unrestricted right of the Australian Government to make war or peace at its own choice, to enter separately into agreements or treaties with any foreign powers, and to appoint Australian Diplomatic Representatives to any foreign countries.

8.   The Australia-First Movement upholds Australia’s right to control immigration; and will oppose any attempts which may be made by non-Australian powers to dictate to Australia regarding the numbers or quality of immigrants to be admitted to Australia.

9.   The Australia-First Movement desires removal of the hindrances which have been placed on Australia’s overseas trade by preferential tariffs, exchange control, boycotts, peace-time blockades, and political restrictions.

10.   The Australia-First Movement opposes any attempts by overseas monopolies, combines and political powers to control, regulate, or restrict Australia’s primary and secondary industrial development.

Advance Australia First!

Source: http://home.alphalink.com.au/~radnat/stephensen/prs2.html [2]