The Meaning Of "Australia-First"

Unity And Independence As Natural National Aims

by P. R. Stephensen


THE TIME HAS ARRIVED: The gravity of the war-situation in Europe, and the farce of political sectionalism at home, culminating in a "crisis" at Canberra during which three different sectional leaders were Prime Ministers of Australia within three months, have produced an atmosphere, among hard-headed Australians, conducive to fundamental political change—more so than at any time within living memory. The time has arrived for constructive political thought—and action—in Australia: for the inauguration of a New Era, a New Order, a genuinely New Order in this community, based on the avoidance of past and present errors: a New Order of Realism. Now is the time for every Australian patriot to devote his abilities, his energy, and his cash to the welfare and progress—nay, more to the very survival—of the community which has nurtured him and will nurture his descendants. Tragically, while Australia is engaged in a war against European countries and in helping to "police" Asia, an insidious socio-political deterioration is proceeding within our own community, right here, at home. Australia is much more liable to perish from this gangrene, the rot within, than from the assaults of foreign foes. Both dangers exist; but the dangers of foreign attack, being capable of dramatisation, are more easily perceived. Not so easy is it to visualise the dangers of internal disintegration: for these arise from an exaggeration of already-existing tendencies, to which we have become accustomed and insensitive.

FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC: Only some great mental shock, such as that provided by the apparent ease with which the German Army has advanced into Russia, with all the military implications of that move, could arouse Australians from their former attitude of senseless optimism and complacency, against with this Publicist has so frequently protested. Stiffly increased Taxation, the passing of the responsibility for this from one sectional party to another, is also bringing home to Australians the elementary but often-overlooked fact that a country’s foreign and domestic policies are inevitably interlocked. Australians have claimed, and have been conceded, a certain measure of autonomy in the management of this country’s domestic policy; but we have left it in the main to Britain’s statesmen to manage Australia’s relationship with foreign countries. Now the war against Germany, which is essentially a matter of Foreign Policy, is affecting every aspect of Australia’s Domestic Policy. The time has arrived for a clear formulation, and, where need be, for a thorough overhaul, of Australian policies—both domestic and foreign. The solution to present and coming difficulties could be found only by the co-operation of Australia’s best minds, active in the inspiration of a genuine motive of Australian Nationalism: the desire for Australian self-preservation, under the star of "Australia First."

NATIONAL AIMS: Unity and Independence are the natural aims of a Nation—Unity in internal affairs, Independence in external affairs. A self-respecting community does not yield its right to manage its own affairs, except under pressure of superior military force. Sacrifices are necessary to win, and to maintain, National Right and Title. The Australian community has the courtesy-title of Nation, but is not a Nation yet in the two essentials of Unity and Independence. Neither or these components of true Nationhood is to be won without effort, sacrifice, the striving of the community’s leaders in that direction. Nationhood does not fall like manna from heaven: it is something which must be achieved: and it is this which makes it valued and valuable. Australia’s present-day pseudo-Nationhood has not been achieved by the striving and suffering of Australians: it has been thrust upon it from abroad: it is a "managed" and controlled Nationhood. Australia’s present-day political Constitution is an Act of the British Parliament at Westminster. It does not represent Australian political creativeness—actually it represents British Imperial cleverness. Under that Colonial Constitution, which has endured now for forty-one years, Australians have never been able to achieve Unity in internal affairs and Independence in external affairs. The community is politically sectionalised within, and dependent without. The habits of disunity and dependence have been so deeply ingrained, in the two generations of Australians who have matured since the year 1900, that the very ideas of Unity and Independence for Australia—the essentials of Nationhood—are almost incomprehensible to the majority here, now. That is the real cause of our trouble.

EFFECTS OF THE PRESENT WAR: The present European War, which is the second of its kind in which Australians have been engaged as belligerents since the Federation of the Commonwealth, is not going "according to plan"; and, after two years of it, we are entitled to expect revision of the policies which have proved unsuccessful and threaten to prove disastrous. The time has gone by for soft and lulling palaver, or for sparing the feelings of incompetents and bunglers. Wrong policies must be discarded, wrong paths retraced and the correct road taken—now, or it will soon be too late for repentance. The greatest of all the political errors committed by Britain’s leaders, and followed by Australia’s followers of those leaders, has been in associating Britain’s war aim with the perpetuation of the Old Order of "Democracy." By this tragic error, the people of Britain and of Australia have been from the beginning put on the defensive; and the political, no less than the military, initiative has been allowed to pass to the enemy. In the minds of the people of Britain, and of Australia, "Democracy" has represented the kind of thing illustrated recently at Canberra—the manoeuvring of sectional interests for power—combined, in the economic sphere, with widespread unemployment and dole, restrictions of overseas markets by tariff manipulations, increase to vast dimensions of the Public Debt, and sinister tendencies of plutocracy and monopoly, within nations and across frontiers. That is what "Democracy" has come to mean. In championing it, Britain’s statesmen have given themselves the impossible task of arousing enthusiasm for a politico-economic system which is widely mistrusted and even detested by the common people. Now, after two years of war, the time has come for a new lead: for a statement of Britain’s war aims which would rally the people and make them understand that they are fighting not to preserve something obsolete, but to establish something new and vital. The people of Australia do not care a hang for University theoretician’s concepts of "Democracy"; and still less for Fleet-Street’s conception of it. What is wanted is a system of government which will "deliver the goods"; and "Democracy" is palpably failing to do that. Those who think that "Democracy" of the Canberra-sectional type is really the most efficient system possible for governing Australia, in war or peace, are "wishful thinkers," allowing their hopes to influence their judgment.

BRITAIN VERSUS GERMANY: The war between Britain and Germany is not now, and never was, a doctrinaire dispute on forms of political organisation. From the outset there was no real desire, among the people of Britain, to force Germany to adopt the system of "Democratic" parliamentarianism, based on sectional checks, balances, manoeuvres and manipulations. If the Germans preferred "Totalitarian" or Unitary non-party government within Germany, that was their affair. The clash is essentially one of opposed National Interests, economic, political, and psychological. Germany threatened Anglo-French hegemony in Central Europe and elsewhere; and this was a perfectly valid casus belli for Britain and France, without the need of recourse to metaphysical justification. When British official and semi-official propagandists (followed automatically by Australian political gramophones and newspaper-plagiarists) began to claim that "Democracy" was the issue at stake, they did the British cause a profound and perhaps an irreparable disservice: they substituted a text-book abstraction for the realities of National Interest. After two years of boring blather about "Democracy," the Australian Parliament puts on a tragic farce—it is literally that—which places a tragic emphasis on the second syllable of an overworked word. It is not the Germans, but the Australian parliamentarians who have made a "mock" of "Democracy" in Australia. Three Prime Ministers, representing three different political sections, in succession within three months, during war-time! The whimsical votes of the members for Wimmera and Henty deciding who shall govern Australia! And all the political sections equally unpolicied, equally vague, equally shifty! It’s enough to make a cat laugh, and a Kookaburra cry.

SECTIONAL POLITICS: History is remorseless; and any system of government which consistently fails to satisfy the majority of the people as to its efficiency and sincerity is due for an overhaul. The Canberra comedy is a tragi-farce because it fails to give the people of Australia a sense of stability or dignity in government. Worse than that, it makes them think that Britain’s declared War Aim of upholding "Democracy" is fallacious; and that "Democracy" of the Canberra-circus type is not worth while fighting for. This at a time when the public is urged to give every penny and every ounce of energy to the task of winning the war! This is the kind of thing—the immense seriousness of the war-position in Europe combined with frivolous sectional disunity at home—which is making the thinking minority of hard-headed Australians doubly convinced that there is, and has been for too many years, far too much tomfoolery in the conduct of this community’s affairs, both at home and abroad: far too much blathering theory and humbug; and nothing like enough elementary political honesty and gumption.

DEMOCRACY AS A FETISH: The word "Democracy" has been intoned like a Buddhist mantra, or alchemists’ abracadabra, or as though it were one of the ninety-nine Arabic Names of God: a magical word to summon the Spirit of Victory. That mystical incantation, however, is failing to produce the desired result; for wars are won by deeds, not by wordy spells and the casting of verbal charms. To keep on hypnotically chanting "Democracy! Democracy!", while neglecting to do what is necessary to win the war in a military sense, is a path of self-deception, leading to disaster. Wise statesmanship does not hesitate to acknowledge mistakes and to correct them before too late. If the Churchill-Bevin-Eden-Beaverbrook-Duff Cooper coalition Government in Britain persists in errors beyond safety-point, the people of Britain will put that Government out of office, with or without the aid of "Democracy." The people of Australia would have no say in effecting such a change of government in Britain; and rightly so, for the people of Australia had no say in electing Britain’s government. The warning to Messrs. Curtin, Beasley, Evatt and their associates in Australia is that they should avoid identifying themselves, as Mr. Menzies unduly identified himself, with the mistakes of Britain’s presentation of war-propaganda. They should particularly avoid the mistake of presenting "Democracy" as an abstraction or "ideal." At some point, and soon, the truth about this must be faced. "Democracy" is due, and overdue, for a more convincing definition than has hitherto been given to it. It is not now, and never was, an end in itself. At its best it was a hoped-for means to good government; but its success or failure can be judged only on results, not on hopes or "ideals." To make of the word "Democracy" a fetish, or, worse, a philosophical "thing-in-itself," is to behave as superstitiously as a Polynesian in a dubu-house, or as a Professor of Politics in a University. The people of Australia are tired of lullabies and jazz-crooned politics. They need to be told truths now. They seek leaders who will tell them truths, for a change; for the days of flight-from-reality are almost at an end. Not sedatives, but stimulants, is our national need.

UNITY WITHIN: Sectionalised parliamentary "Democracy," whether by accident or design, has evolved into a political system which dis-unites, and ultimately disintegrates, a Nation. It is a system under which political power is held always by representatives of only one section of a community, never by representatives of the whole community. This fundamental absurdity is "taken for granted" by people who were born into such a system, and who know of no other system; but that does not make the system any the less intrinsically absurd. The idea that there must always be a "government" and an "opposition," in a bi-lateral parliamentary chamber, arose from the conflicts between Whigs and Tories in England on questions affecting the status of the Crown and of the Church. When this ambivalent arrangement evolved into a chronic dichotomy of "Liberal" and "Conservative" in the House of Commons, the Irish cross-bench Nationalists, and later the "Labour" Party, saw the advantages to be gained by sitting in the middle of the parliamentary see-saw and bargaining for the right to tip the beam. For a long time now there have been three, not two, parliamentary parties in England, and also in Australia. The Centre Party has a nuisance-value, and demands excessive privileges for its own minority in return for voting-support of one or the other of the larger parties. The Labour Party started in that way in Australia, as did the Country Party at a later date. Now the whole process is brought to a reductio ad absurdum, when two cross-benchers, Messrs. Coles and Wilson, can turn out the government and put in another by merely transferring their support, without in any way consulting their electors! There is "Democracy"! What a farce!

SECTIONALISM: Mr. Curtin’s Government represents only a section of Australians, as did the Governments or Messrs. Fadden and Menzies before. But, as in Parliament the power-balancers are a small minority liable to change their mind or minds on a whim, so it is also in the General Elections under Compulsory Universal Suffrage. Forty percent vote steadily Labour, forty percent vote steadily anti-Labour: the destiny of Australia ultimately rests on the fluctuant centre vote cast by electors so lacking in political principle or understanding as to be veered by clever campaigning on a usually irrelevant or ephemeral issue. When politicians prate of the "will of the people," they mean the will of the hesitant centre minority. How could a Nation’s progress possibly come from a political system based on such an intrinsic absurdity as this?

THE BIG-PROMISERS: The Labour Party goes nap on appealing to wage-workers, who are the majority in the community; and the anti-Labour Parties go nap on appealing to the property-owners, who are also a majority, for everybody owns some property. Here are two different appeals, both made on the crudest basis of economic self-interest. Whichever argument prevails, on a count of heads (allowing for disproportionate electorates which reduce the claim of "voting equality" to absurdity), the victorious section proceeds to enrich itself at the expense of the community-as-a-whole. If the parties are more-or-less equally balanced, energy which should be given to governing the country is devoted to sectional manoeuvres to obtain or retain office. There is "Democracy" in practice! Just when a Minister of State becomes used to his job, and competent at it maybe, he gets the sack, through some sectional parliamentary manoeuvre, and through no fault of his own. That is "Democracy"! It is a luxury which only a very rich country could afford. If a business which had to make profits or go bung tried to conduct its affairs by chopping and changing its Departmental Heads in that manner, it would go bung—just as Parliamentary "Democracy" is at the present time going bung, for the same reason. It has been a gigantic bluff, made possible only by constant and ever-increasing taxation and public borrowing. Even fools could run a business by constantly increasing capital and paying dividends out of capital. The procedure of constantly-increasing taxation and public borrowing, by which Australian parliamentarians have conducted Australian affairs for the past fifty years, is possible only under a constantly-increasing levy on wealth-production. There is no easier way of raising cash than by Taxation. It is practically an effortless method of securing revenue. It gives parliamentarians, whose main qualifications are plausibility and tact in winning votes, the opportunity to spend millions of pounds—thousands of millions—of taxpayers’ money, in persuading taxpayers to vote for them. What a game!

FACING THE FACTS: The military success gained by our adversaries, the Germans, during the first twenty-six months of war, indicate at the very least a high degree of efficiency in the German War Machine, or of inefficiency in its opponents, or both. If the position for Britain is not now irretrievable, it could be retrieved only by surpassing the Germans in military efficiency—using that term in its widest implication to cover strategy, tactics, quality of weapons, numbers, and morale, in all branches of the Armed Forces, by land, sea, and air. Behind the fighting forces, also, stands civilian organisation, which includes civilian morale, production, transport; the province of civilian politics. If it is useless crying over spilt milk, or lamenting past blunders, there is nevertheless much to be learned from a clever adversary. If he is to be surpassed, this could be done only by the achievement of an efficiency superior to his in all, or most, of the departments of the game. It is useless to deny that German military strategy and tactics have been successful, as far as they have gone, which is a long way. When the history of this war finally comes to be written with detachment, it will probably be viewed as a classic test of offensive against defensive strategy and tactics. The "Maginot mentality," of "Defence the Best Attack," which was ridiculed in this Publicist long before the war started, brought disaster to France, as the "Scorched Earth" policy of "retreat in depth" has proved disastrous to Russia. Actually, the Retreat Strategy was playing into the Germans’ hands: for their tactics and strategy were based on the idea of Mobile Warfare: a plan of advance, outflank, encircle, annihilate. Only the final result of the war will prove which of these two military conceptions was correct; but in the meantime enough experience has surely been gained to enable the British High Command to realise that there would be nothing undignified in beating the Germans at their own game, by copying, and, if possible, surpassing, the Germans at that game. If this means the discarding of obsolete conceptions, then those obsolete conceptions, and those who hold them, must be discarded.

THE POLITICAL MAGINOT LINE: The propaganda of "Democracy" is, and has been, a political Maginot Line: a reliance on political Defence Strategy. Our side has gone nap on the Old Order of parliamentary sectionalism and vague "internationalism": the adversary has gone nap on a New Order of National Unity and Nationalism. Are we going to cling obstinately to Sectionalism-for-Sectionalism’s-Sake, and to Internationalism-for-Internationalism’s-Sake, through sheer stiff-necked pride, a refusal to admit that our political tactics and strategy have been nugatory: and even if our error threatens to drag us down into the abyss? Are we going to refuse to make ourselves more efficient than the adversary, for fear of hurting the feeling of University Professors, Journalists and Broadcasters, who, for more than two years, have failed to arouse the fighting spirit of the people by their sedative blather about "Democracy" as thing-in-itself? If scapegoats must be found, let the cap fit where it belongs—on the misleaders of our people who have deadened the propaganda of the war to a text-book and class-room level! Sectionalism and factionalism will not win this war for Australia, whether it be called "Democracy," or whatever it be called! By sectionalism and factionalism, three of the ablest men in Australian politics—Messrs. J. T. Lang, A. G. Cameron, and R. G. Menzies—have been deposed from Cabinet rank, and are back-benchers. In the Federal Parliament, men such as Messrs. Fadden and Spender, after gaining valuable experience of war and army matters, are put in a position where it is their duty formally to oppose the Government! Whether or not this kind of thing is traditional, is it not absurd?

THROUGHOUT THE COMMUNITY: Sectionalised "Democracy"—the opposite to Unitary Nationalism—has spread its corrosive rot right throughout the Australian community. The infection of Sectionalism has spread from Parliament to public: and every section pushes its own barrow, just as the Parliamentarians push theirs. Religious sects, secret societies with signs and passwords, Trade Unions of wage-workers, combinations of capitalists and primary producers, cartels of importers and manufacturers, marketing boards and rings, professional Associations—all are organised as minorities, to benefit themselves at the expense of the community-as-a-whole. The community’s main interest can no more be retained in such a reticule than can water be retained in a sieve. The political problem now is to seal the interstices between the sections in the National Structure: to create a Unitary Nation. This implies much more than a formal "coalition" or working arrangement of Sectional Parliamentary Parties, each retaining its own identity: for any such loose arrangements are liable to fall apart under stress. We need now to weld, consolidate, and fuse the sectional elements within Australia to a Unitary Whole. The flux is Nationalism. That is the flux which our adversary, Hitler, has used to weld Germany into such a formidable unity: and that is the secret of the successes which he has undeniably gained. Only by understanding the secret of his power would it be possible to surpass him.

VESTED INTERESTS: The vested interests of "capitalism" are not the only sectional vested interests in Australia. Trades-Unionism also is a sectional vested interest of octopus-scope. Immense funds are handled by Trades Union officials from the levies of their members: and those funds are used against the community-as-a-whole for the benefit of the organised minority section. If it be correct for the community to retrain plutocratic monopoly, it is also correct for the community to retrain ergatocratic monopoly. The aim of a Trades Union is to secure a corner or monopoly of a certain type of skilled labour-power, and then to use that corner or monopoly to raise the price of an essential commodity (the specialised labour-power concerned) at the expense of all purchasers of that commodity. The labourer has nothing to sell but his labour; but it is none the less a marketable commodity: and it is subject, as are all other marketable commodities, to price-manipulations by corners, combines, and monopolies. This is a fact well understood by Trades Union officials, who are specialists in labour-power profiteering and market-rigging. "Democracy," particularly when allied with sentimental proletarianism, has encouraged the development of this, and of every other, kind of anti-social minority organisation of vested interests. At its best, "Democracy" can claim to achieve stability only by the equilibrium of opposed forces. At its worst, "Democracy" breaks down a community under stress into its component sectional parts. This was the lugubrious fate of France in 1940: it is a fate which threatens Australia—possibly in the near future—unless we recognise the danger and take steps to forestall it now.

MINORITY OPPORTUNISTS: Sectionalised "Democracy," within a community normally in an equilibrium of opposed and balancing forces, gives constant opportunities to cunning minorities to exercise a power that is far in excess of their relative numerical strength. An example is the way the "Drink Trade," so-called, financially endows all the sectional parliamentary parties, so that the "Drink Trade" will not be unduly interfered with by any government. This is virtually blackmail extorted from licensed victuallers by all parliamentary parties. When a political parliamentary party’s funds are running low, the leader of that party has only to utter a few threats against the "Drink Trade" to have a reasonable expectation of securing a subsidy to shut up. It is all perfectly "legal"—under "Democracy"—and the process is certainly not confined to the Drink Trade. As party funds are secret, the public never gets to know what subsidies, if any, are paid into party funds by vested interests of importers of commodities such as petrol and cinema-films. All that the public knows is that big commercial combines and virtual monopolies, rings, and cartels, get "protection" from Australian politicians of the same sort that bootleggers got from Chicago politicians during the Prohibition Era in the U.S.A. This is the kind of thing which has made the word "Democracy" far too unsavoury to be used as a rallying-slogan of victory.

MINORITY MANIPULATION: It is precisely because "Democracy" lends itself to manipulation of governmental power by unscrupulous or even by zealous minorities, that "Democracy" is most favoured by inter-national moneylenders, concessionaires, and their agents. These agents need not convert a majority of a parliament to their view: they need convert only the fluctuant minority which holds a balance of power between equilibrated political forces. Everything favours the international manipulators who are constantly seeking to influence "Democratic" policies. For instance, the Secret Cabinet system means that a manipulator need convert only a majority of a small Cabinet, say of twelve men, to get his policy adopted. Perhaps, if opinion within a Cabinet is more-or-less equally divided on the desirability or otherwise of some policy, an international agent may need to convert only one or two "marginal" members of the Cabinet to his point of view, in order to have the satisfaction of seeing his policy become the policy of the Government. As long as secret, or even official, agents of non-Australian interests are allowed to "lobby" at Canberra, Australia’s essential interests will remain in jeopardy. It is not here suggested that members of Parliament are habitual bribe-takers, or that they habitually sell their country’s interests to agents of overseas countries. Nevertheless, that process occasionally occurs, particularly when matters of High Policy, affecting millions of pounds expenditure, are concerned. It occurs in every organ of "Democratic" government, from Shire and Municipal Councils to Parliament; and, from their nature, these non-Australian influences operating in Australia, whether by illegal bribery or by legitimate means of plausible persuasion, can seldom be brought into the light of day. There are many kinds of bribes beside money-bribes. Numerous Australian politicians have retired from politics to take up cushioned jobs: and many have been satisfied with a titular honorific as full reward for services rendered to non-Australian interests: vanity their solace.

NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL: It is at this point of minority manipulation that the interlocking of domestic and foreign policies within a true Nation becomes apparent. No person in his senses could seriously suggest that the leaders of true Nations, such as the U.S.A. or Japan, could be venally approached by agents of foreign powers to betray their own country. The Premier of Japan is for Japan First, as the President of the U.S.A. is for the U.S.A. first. A strong sense of Nationalism, such as these two countries possess, is the absolute safeguard against international minority manoeuvres. It has never been seriously suggested that Hitler and Mussolini are susceptible to bribes or improper influences from foreign sources. If Australian politics is to be placed above and beyond reproach, it will be necessary to create here a strong propaganda of National Unity, National Honour, National Purpose—the idea of the sacredness of Australia to Australians—which would make it impossible for sinister overseas influences to operate, or even to broach, policies here detrimental to the National Interest.

NATIONAL PROPAGANDA: The deplorable fact is that there is not a single newspaper in Australia, except this Publicist, devoted entirely and exclusively to the advancement of Australia’s Interests First. The Publicist is, and will remain, an independent proprietary newspaper, which is not subsidised by any overseas advertising or in any other way by non-Australians; and is not the organ of any sect, section, group or party. It is not even the organ of the Australia First Movement, officially or unofficially. Our strength is in the contrast which our journalism offers with the journalism of the subsidised daily and weekly newspapers, which rely on "marginal" overseas advertising to secure their profits. There is not a commercial newspaper in Australia which could afford to estrange the advertising support of Jewish firms, for example, and in particular of the Hollywood cinema-industry. Thus the Jewish minority, which is only 1 percent of Australia’s population, is able to establish a favoured position for itself against the 99 percent majority of non-Jews in the community. The same principle applies to the advertising revenue earned by Australian newspapers from English, American, and other proprietary lines of non-Australian origin, such as whisky, tobacco, motor-cars, etc. Such advertisers wield an immense influence over Australian newspaper policy: and that influence is a non-Australian influence, operating always in the direction of keeping Australia in a colonially-backward condition.

FOREIGN POLICY: A community is not a Nation unless it achieves Unity and Independence—Unity in internal policies and Independence in its foreign policies. An immense task awaits Australian political creativeness in devising a New Order in Australia which will implement these two vital, essential, aspects of True Nationalism. All the forces of propaganda and other influences of trans-nationalism have been, are, and will be turned on, in the plutocratic press, and through the many organs and organisations of sectionalism, to induce Australians to keep on betraying Australia’s vital interest for the benefit of persons who dwell in other countries. Whatever may be the outcome of the European war, Australians must be on guard, and may even have to fight, for the defence of Australia, against invasion, or against "peaceful" manipulated penetration, or against both. We must in the post-war period reserve and guard the right to control our own immigration policy, for example: and not accept dictation in this or in any other particular from agents of European, American, or Asiatic "New Orders." We cannot allow Australia’s vast arid "open spaces" to be a dumping-ground for the problem of Europe’s or America’s unwanteds. We must retain complete Australian control of Australia’s armed forces, now, henceforth, and forever; and we must retain control of Australia’s raw materials for export, and of Australia’s new industrial development; and not allow these things to be hindered or controlled by "international" leagues, unions, conspiracies, combines or cartels. In the interests of Australian National Culture, Australian National Self-Respect, we shall have to curtail the importation of Hollywood films, which have de-Nationalised and Americanised Australians already too much. These are big tasks for Australians, constructive tasks. Has anyone confidence that sectionalised "Democracy," of the Canberra Three-Cornered in-and-out type, will be able to perform such tasks as these?

NEW LEADERSHIP: A new leadership is needed in Australia, urgently needed—will the hour produce the men? Men are needed, not one man, a wonder-worker, a political Messiah. Men are needed, who will co-operate with one another for Australia’s sake, not for the sake of personal or sectional aggrandisement: men who will offer, dedicate, and if need be lay down their lives in Australia, for Australia, and not only on foreign battlefields. A leader is useless without followers; and a strong leader is useless for a weak people. If Australians get themselves strong, a strong leader and leaders will emerge to lead them in the track of Nationhood and self-preservation. Despite the Hitlerolatry of the "Democratic" newspress, which has exalted Hitler to mystical proportions, Germany is not a one-man show. If the German people in overwhelming majority had not wanted Hitler, they would not have had him. To visualise Germany’s resurgence as a conjuring trick by Hitler is to completely misunderstand what has happened in Germany. There will be plenty of Little Hitlers in many countries, for many years yet to come, as there have been plenty of Little Napoleons. The strength of Hitler is only the strength of Germany united behind him. If Australia were united behind Mr. Curtin, or any other leader, that leader of Australia would be in a position to work wonders for Australia. The trouble is, that the people of Australia are not unitedly behind Mr. Curtin: nor are they likely to be unitedly behind Mr. Curtin, while Mr. Curtin avowedly represents only a section of the Australian community.

UNITY AND INDEPENDENCE: If Australian parliamentarians desire to regain the respect of the people they rule, they must show themselves worthy of that respect by acting unmistakably and always in the interests of Australia first. All those cunning "movements" of trans-nationalism organised in Australia for the purpose of suggesting that Australia’s vital interests and policies should be made secondary to those of a transnational league, union, or combine of nations will have to be carefully watched and countered by Australian patriots; for Nationalism is the flame and "internationalism" the will-o’-the-wisp. Ever since Karl Marx’s day there has been an extensive propaganda for National Disunity and for the Destruction of National Independence among Gentile Nations. Karl Marx was a denationalised Jew, and consequently the idea of destroying the national foci of non-Jewish cultures appealed to him as a desirable political objective. Many "idealists," deluded by the humanitarian claims of Marxism—its lip-service to Universal Brotherhood and to the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth—have worked assiduously for "internationalism" and thereby have retarded the cultural and political developments of their own Nations. Such people are in essence credulous cranks, mental weaklings, decadents on a flight from reality, obsessed by abstractions and bedizened by arbitrary plans of Utopia. They are dangerous only when they become numerous in any community. The reality is that Nations are the natural, manageable, political units; and it is only within Nations that human progress can be achieved. We in Australia stand now at the biggest crisis in our history. We must make progress, or perish. After 153 years of colonial dependence and sectional disunity, the time has come for Australia to achieve National Status, in the fullest meaning of that term. The struggle may be long, and it may be severe; for the advocates of disunity and dependence are well entrenched. Yet, to the Australian who is game to face facts, the very strength of the opposition to National Unity and National Independence is a stimulating challenge. It is not to be assumed that Australians will shirk a fight, or hang back in the traces, when their vital community-interests are menaced from the outside or from inside the community. This community of over seven million persons awaits a new and inspiring lead. It needs re-educating in new ways of thought. The responsibility on those who realise that the alternative to Nationalism is Disintegration is a very heavy one. I assume that an Australian leadership will emerge, which will not shirk this responsibility. Not "Democracy-for-Democracy’s-sake," but "Australia-for-Australia’s-sake," is the rallying-call of loyalty and faith and love and work, which alone could save our community from disaster, and achieve true progress for Australia, in the Nation-building years that are immediately ahead of us.

P. R. S.

11th October, 1941

The Percy Stephensen Collection