Country Politics 1943-1963 War, Wool, Socialism and Swinging Seats




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1951 Local Issues

The Wool Deduction Tax

In 1951 after just fifteen months in office, the Menzies Fadden government called a double dissolution election in a bid to gain a majority in the Senate, which Labor still held and was using to block all bills. It worked, the coalition was returned with a large majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate.161 However in Hume, Charles Anderson lost his seat to Fuller by 796 votes.162 In his second maiden speech in 1951, Fuller says, “mine was the only victory for the Labor party in the whole of New South Wales.”163 The issues that caused this change cannot have been national, because most of the rest of the nation voted for the coalition. Neither can it be that the people of Hume disliked Anderson greatly, because just four years later they voted Anderson back in as their representative for a further six years. Neither had the electoral boundaries of Hume changed since 1949 (and they did not change again until 1965). This leaves just one of the five factors remaining, local issues. In 1951, the Federal government introduced the Wool Sales Deduction Act. This act deducted money from Graziers wool cheques throughout the year much like income tax is deducted from employees pay cheques. It did not mean that woolgrowers paid any more tax; it was simply paid in a different way. It was part of a bid by the Federal government to stop inflation. Unfortunately, the Bill was not well explained to woolgrowers and Fuller capitalized on this. He claimed the Act was “a vicious form of sectional tax”164 and that “Labor will repeal the Wool Tax Deduction Act and return all the money already collected under the scheme.” Perhaps the most telling factor was that Anderson lost two of his mainstay divisions, Yass and Boorowa and had a severely diminished margin in Crookwell, all huge wool growing areas.165 This was also reflected in the editorials of newspapers with the Tumut and Adelong Times claiming, “The swing in Hume can mostly be attributed to the prepayment of tax scheme imposed on woolgrowers”166


1955 Local and National Issues

Prosperity

By 1955, the Wool Tax had been forgotten and Hume voted Charles Anderson as their representative, again.167 This time Anderson beat Fuller by 1715 votes, the biggest margin of their 20-year battle.168 At a national level the Coalition’s majority in the House of Representatives rose by an additional fifteen seats.169 The local papers give no coverage to any local issues during the election campaign. However, it appears that Australia’s prosperity was the basis behind the positive Coalition vote. Economically Australia and Hume were prosperous. An editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald stated, “the country is prosperous. Jobs are abundant and real wages high. Welfare services are at their highest level and internal wellbeing is unclouded.”170 In Hume is particular wool was booming, with small wool towns like Crookwell tripling in population,171 wheat prices were stable, thanks to stabilization schemes, Yass was benefiting from a growing Canberra, and Tumut was enjoying prosperity and population growth from the building of the Snowy Scheme.172 In a lovely analogy used by Anderson during his campaign he stated “the workers of Australia have realized that the larger the cake, the larger his own share of the cake.” He went on to say, “This has led to an era of peace in industry, high levels of production and prosperity for us all.”173 Buoyed by this period of prosperity and economic safety the electors of Hume appeared to take Anderson’s advice and “not take chances with your prosperity.”174 They returned to power the government who they felt had brought them this prosperity and in Hume, that meant Colonel Anderson.



1961 National Issues

Poverty and Unemployment

At the 1961 election, the Coalition’s campaign slogan was “vote for continued good government.”175 As in 1955, they were hoping that the people would return them to power on the basis of the last fifteen years. However, nationally there was a 5% swing to the Labor party, with just 7.1% needed for a Labor victory.176 The Coalition continued to control the House but by just two seats, and they lost control of the Senate to Independents and the Democratic Labor Party.177 In 1961, Hume again changes their representative, returning Arthur Fuller for one final term. Once again, there were no local issues given coverage in the speeches of the candidates or the local papers. However, national issues were focused on extensively. Namely the high levels of unemployment and the stagnation of the economy. Fuller travelled the Hume electorate claiming “In Australia at present there are about 170 000 people unemployed and commonwealth statisticians have calculated that this means £170 million less spending money each year.”178 The Sydney Morning Herald withdrew its support of the Liberal-Country Party coalition, and a letter published in the paper from John Fairfax and Sons reads, “there is a degree of stagnation and unemployment which Australia should not tolerate and there is no prospect of relief.”179 The reality was that the post war boom that Australia had been experiencing was drawing to an end. From 1960 until 1966, public opinion in Australia began to change; in particular, Australians became aware of the poverty in their own country.180 A number of reports highlighting the plight of marginalised Australians were released in this time, including Jean Aitken-Swann’s Widows in Australia (62), Ray Brown’s Demographic Investigations, Poverty in Australia (63), and the benchmark study People in Poverty the Henderson Report of 1966.181 This change in public opinion and knowledge reduced support for the Liberal and Country Parties and would, in several more years, help bring Gough Whitlam to power.


1963

By the 1963 election, Charles Anderson had retired from politics and Arthur Fuller was seventy, with rapidly failing health. His new Country Party challenger John Pettit, was much younger and fitter than Fuller and it appears that the people of Hume sympathetically removed Fuller from office. The Tumut and Adelong Times a long term supporter of their local man Fuller, claimed “It is time for our grand old man of politics to retire and we are afraid that as Mr Fuller will not do it himself it is up to us to ensure he looks after himself and enjoys his retirement. On the 30th vote 1 John Pettit.”182 1963 was the only time, apart from 1949 when Fuller lost his home divisions of Tumut and Adelong.183



Conclusion

In exploring the changes of representatives at elections in Riverina and Hume in 1943, Riverina, Farrer and Hume in 1949 and Hume in 1951, 1955, 1961 and 1963, I have identified and explored five factors that appear to have influenced the voting of country electors. The first factor that caused a change in representative was the changing demographic in an electorate. This was most commonly brought about by changes in electoral boundaries, but was also caused by changes in the economy of the area. The other four factors that influenced country voters were local issues, national issues, the personalities and the pattern of thinking called country-mindedness. These five factors although by no means definitive, are good indicators in helping to understand country politics and the reasons behind country electorates voting patterns and changes in representatives during the period 1943-1963.




1Graeme Davidson, Marc Brodie (ed), Struggle Country The Rural Ideal in twentieth Century Australia, Monash University Press, pxiii

2 Adam Carr, http://psephos.adam-carr.net/countries/a/australia/divisions/hume.txt, updated January 2003, Melbourne, accessed through google, 12 December 2006.

3 Jim Hagan, Ken Turner, Nancy Blacklow, “The Riverina” in People and Politics in Regional New South Wales (Vol 2), 2006, pp 221-222

4 Ibid, p222

5 Ibid, p223

6 ibid

7 Total war refers to a state of being where the entire country, its economy, people and production is aimed at the war effort.

8 Adam Carr, http://psephos.adam-carr.net/countries/a/australia/divisions/hume.txt, updated January 2003, Melbourne, accessed through google, 12 December 2006.

9 19 September 1940, The Daily Advertiser, p3.

10 Editorial, 20 August 1943, The Daily Advertiser, p2

11 24 August 1943, “Hume election results”, The Daily Advertiser, p1.

12 24 August 1943, “Labor Returned”, The Daily Advertiser, p1.

13 Labour advertisement, The Daily Advertiser, 4 August 1943, p4.

14 Labour advertisement, The Daily Advertiser, 4 August 1943, p4.

15 19 August 1943, The Daily Advertiser, p8.

16 19 August 1943, The Daily Advertiser, p8

17 Joan Rydon, 1975, “A Biographical Register of the Commonwealth Parliament 1901-1972, Australian National University Press, Canberra, p82.

18 Joan Rydon, 1975, “A Biographical Register of the Commonwealth Parliament 1901-1972, Australian National University Press, Canberra, p82.

19 23 November 1965, “Fuller’s Testimonial Dinner”, Tumut and Adelong Times and Batlow District News, p1, (speech by C.J. Lewis the President of Tumut ALP branch).

20 Ibid and Fuller campaign board, in his papers at the CSU Regional Archives, RW.

21 Fuller advertisement from his archival papers.

22 Mr Fuller, November 23 1965, Tumut and Adelong Times and Batlow district News, p1, and Parliamentary Debates of the Senate and House of Representatives, Session 1943, Fourth Session of the seventeenth Parliament, 27th of July 1945.

23 Parliamentary Debates of the Senate and House of Representatives, Session 1943, First Session of the seventeenth Parliament, Vol 176, p178.

24 Parliamentary Debates of the Senate and House of Representatives, Session 1943, Fourth Session of the seventeenth Parliament, 27th of July 1945.

25 18 April 1944, “Fuller in Parliament,” Tumut and Adelong Times, p.4

26 ibid

27 Ibid

28 24 August 1943, The Daily Advertiser, p8

29 Jim Hagan, Ken Turner, Nancy Blacklow, “Riverina”, in People and Politics in Regional New South Wales Vol 1.

30ibid

31 ibid

32 Hagan, Ken Turner, Nancy Blacklow, “The Riverina” in People and Politics in Regional New South Wales (Vol 2), p223.

33. Jim Hagan, Ken Turner, Nancy Blacklow, “Riverina”, in People and Politics in Regional New South Wales Vol 1.

34 ibid

35 ibid

36 ibid

37 ibid

38 ibid

39 ibid

40 24 August 1943, The Daily Advertiser, p8

41 ibid

42 ibid

43 Candidates have their final say, 19th August 1943, The Daily Advertiser, p8.

44 ibid

45ibid

46 ibid

47 Troy Witford, Phd Thesis

48 Candidates have their final say, 19th August 1943, The Daily Advertiser, p8.

49 ibid

50 ibid

51Joan Rydon, 1975, “A Biographical Register of the Commonwealth Parliament 1901-1972, Australian National University Press, Canberra, p 129.

52 ibid

53 RW 181, Joseph Ignatius Langtry papers at CSU Regional Archives and Australian National Archives

54 Parliamentary Debates of the Senate and House of Representatives, Session 1940, First Session of the sixteenth Parliament, Vol 165, p132.

55 ibid

56 ibid

57 ibid

58 9 January 1950, letter from Ben Chifley to J.I. Langtry, written from House of Representatives, Canberra, in Langtry’s papers at the CSU Regional Archives, Wagga Wagga,

59 Adam Carr, http://psephos.adam-carr.net/countries/a/australia/divisions/hume.txt, updated January 2003, Melbourne, accessed through google, 12 December 2006.

60 Adam Carr, http://psephos.adam-carr.net/countries/a/australia/divisions/farr.txt, updated January 2003, Melbourne, accessed through google, 12 December 2006.

61 Jim Hagan, Ken Turner, Nancy Blacklow, “Riverina”, in People and Politics in Regional New South Wales Vol 1.

62 ibid

63 Jim Hagan, Ken Turner, Nancy Blacklow, “Riverina”, in People and Politics in Regional New South Wales Vol 2.

64 ibid

65 Sherry Morris, 1999, Wagga Wagga A History, Bobby Graham publishing, Wagga Wagga.

66 13 December 1949, The Daily Advertiser, p1.

67 ibid

68 9 December 1949, The Daily Advertiser, p6

69 ibid

70 ibid

71 9 December 1949, “Candidates give their final summing - up” The Daily Advertiser, p2

72 8 December 1949, The Daily Advertiser, p8.

73 9 December 1949, “Candidates give their final summing-up,” The Daily Advertiser, p2.

74 10 December 1949, The Daily Advertiser, p4.

75 9 December 1949, “Candidates give their final summing-up,” The Daily Advertiser, p2.

76 ibid

77 ibid

78 ibid

79 ibid

80 ibid

81 ibid

82 10 December 1949, The Daily Advertiser, p4.

83 Joseph A Alexander (ed), Who’s Who in Australia, xvth Edition, 1955, Colorgravure publications, The Herald, Melbourne, p497

84  Joseph A Alexander (ed), Who’s Who in Australia, xvth Edition, 1955, Colorgravure publications, The Herald, Melbourne.

85 ibid

86 ibid

87 ibid

88 Jim Hagan, Ken Turner, Nancy Blacklow, “The Riverina” in People and Politics in Regional New South Wales (Vol 2).

89 Jim Hagan, Ken Turner, Nancy Blacklow, “The Riverina” in People and Politics in Regional New South Wales (Vol 2),

90 ibid

91 Jim Hagan and Glenn Mitchell, “The Southeast,” in People and Politics in Regional New South Wales (Vol 2),

92 ibid

93 ibid

94 ibid

95 9 December 1949, “Candidates give their final summing-up,” The Daily Advertiser, p2.

96 28 November 1949, “The Hume and the two Candidates,” The Cootamundra Daily Herald, p3 and 6 December 1949, Tumut and Adelong Times, p3.

97 13 December, 1949, Tumut and Adelong Times, p3

98 ibid

99 Arthur Fuller, 8 December 1949, The Cootamundra Daily Herald, p3

100 ibid

101 Col Anderson, 7 December 1949, “C.P Candidate’s Final Cootamundra Speech, Attentive Hearing,” The Cootamundra Daily Herald, p2.

102 Charles Anderson, “Charles Anderson Sums Up,” paid advertisement 9 Dec 1949, The Cootamundra Daily Herald, p3.

103 Ibid

104 ibid

105 ibid

106 ibid

107 18 November 1949, “A Happier Hustings” The Cootamundra Daily Herald, p2

108 28 November 1949, “The Hume and the two Candidates,” The Cootamundra Daily Herald, p3 and 6 December 1949, Tumut and Adelong Times, p3.

109 Joseph A Alexander (ed), Who’s Who in Australia, xvth Edition, 1955, Colorgravure publications, The Herald, Melbourne, p44 and Joan Rydon, 1975, “A Biographical Register of the Commonwealth Parliament 1901-1972, Australian National University Press, Canberra, p 3.

110 Joan Rydon, 1975, “A Biographical Register of the Commonwealth Parliament 1901-1972, Australian National University Press, Canberra, p 3 and 28 November 1949, “The Hume and the two Candidates,” The Cootamundra Daily Herald, p3 and 6 December 1949, Tumut and Adelong Times, p3.

111 Joan Rydon, 1975, “A Biographical Register of the Commonwealth Parliament 1901-1972, Australian National University Press, Canberra, p 3

112 Ibid and 28 November 1949, “The Hume and the two Candidates,” The Cootamundra Daily Herald, p3 and 6 December 1949, Tumut and Adelong Times, p3.

113 ibid

114 ibid

115 Joseph A Alexander (ed), Who’s Who in Australia, xvth Edition, 1955, Colorgravure publications, The Herald, Melbourne, p44

116 28 November 1949, “The Hume and the two Candidates,” The Cootamundra Daily Herald, p3 and 6 December 1949, Tumut and Adelong Times, p3.

117 ibid

118 7 Dec 1949, “Correspondence,” The Cootamundra Daily Herald, p2.

119 ibid

120 ibid

121 ibid

122 Col Charles Anderson, 7 December 1949, “C.P Candidate’s Final Cootamundra Speech, Attentive Hearing,” The Cootamundra Daily Herald, p2.

123 Adam Carr, http://psephos.adam-carr.net/countries/a/australia/divisions/rive.txt updated January 2003, Melbourne, accessed through google, 12 December 2006.

124 13 December 1949, The Daily Advertiser, p1.

125 ibid

126 9 December 1949, “Candidates give their final summing-up,” The Daily Advertiser, p2.

127 ibid

128 ibid

129 Joan Rydon, 1975, “A Biographical Register of the Commonwealth Parliament 1901-1972, Australian National University Press, Canberra.

130 Don Boadle’s draft article on Hugh S. Roberton for the Australian Dictionary of Biography vo.18 (forthcoming 2011).

131 ibid

132 ibid

133 ibid

134 ibid

135 ibid

136 ibid

137 ibid

138 ibid

139 ibid

140 Mr Huge Roberton, Hansard Parliamentary Debates, First session of the nineteenth parliament, 14 Geo VI 22 February 1950, p28

141 ibid

142 ibid

143 ibid

144 Adam Carr, http://psephos.adam-carr.net/countries/a/australia/divisions/hume.txt, updated January 2003, Melbourne, accessed through google, 12 December 2006.

145 ibid

146 ibid

147 ibid

148 ibid

149 ibid

150 Interview with members of the Young Historical Society, 15 January 2007.

151 Parliamentary Debates of the Senate and House of Representatives, Session 1943, First Session of the seventeenth Parliament, Vol 176, p178.

152Parliamentary Debates of the Senate and House of Representatives, Session 1950, First Session of the nineteenth Parliament, 14 Geo VI, volume one, p231.

153 Parliamentary Debates of the Senate and House of Representatives, Session 1950, First Session of the nineteenth Parliament, 14 Geo VI, volume one, p231.

154Parliamentary Debates of the Senate and House of Representatives, Session 1943, First Session of the seventeenth Parliament, Vol 176, p178.

155 ibid

156 Parliamentary Debates of the Senate and House of Representatives, Session 1950, First Session of the nineteenth Parliament, 14 Geo VI, volume one, p231.

157 7 December 1949, “C.P. Candidates final speech,” The Cootamundra Daily Herald, p2

158 Interview with members of the Young Historical Society, 15 January 2007.

159 ibid

160 Jim Hagan, Ken Turner, Nancy Blacklow, “The Riverina” in People and Politics in Regional New South Wales (Vol 2), and Jim Hagan and Glenn Mitchell, “The Southeast,” in People and Politics in Regional New South Wales (Vol 2),

161 30 April 1951, The Daily Advertiser, p1

162 ibid

163 Hansard Parliamentary Debates, First session of the twentieth parliament, 15 Geo VI, Vol 1, 18th October 1951, p945.

164 27 April 1951, The Daily Advertiser, p2

165 30 April 1951, The Daily Advertiser, p1

166 1May 1951, editorial, Tumut and Adelong Times

167 13 December 1955, The Daily Advertiser, p2.

168 ibid

169 ibid

170 9 December 1955, The Sydney Morning Herald, p2

171 Jim Hagan and Glenn Mitchell, “The Southeast,” in People and Politics in Regional New South Wales (Vol 2),

172 ibid

173 2 December 1955, The Daily Advertiser, p11

174 ibid

175 2 December 1961, The Daily Advertiser, p4.

176 11 December 1961, The Sydney Morning Herald, p1.

177 ibid

178 2 December 1961, The Daily Advertiser, p1

179 1 Dec 1961, The Sydney Morning Herald, p2

180 Brian Dickey, 1980, No Charity There A short history of Social Welfare in Australia, Allen and Unwin, Sydney.

181 ibid

182 28 November 1963, Tumut and Adelong Times, p2

183 4 December 1963, Tumut and Adelong Times, p2



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