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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Student's Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 9. May 21 1968

Editorial — May 21, 1968 — Opinions expressed in Salient are not necessarily those of VUWSA. — Australasia united


May 21, 1968

Opinions expressed in Salient are not necessarily those of VUWSA.

Australasia united

The fashionable nationalistic hysteria of New Zealand's Sutchian left may well be dangerous. Someday somebody may become convinced that independence or sovereignty is actually possible. The left must be made to realise that decisions made elsewhere in the world must affect us. Rather than the vain attempt to cut ourselves off from these decisions it is intelligent to try to ensure that we have some part in their formation.

The obvious place to start is in Canberra, and the obvious way to make sure we have some part in making decisions there is by becoming a state of Australia. This might be a bit drastic for some people but even the leftists will see that a country of 15 million people would have more chance of being independent than would two smaller countries.

And economic planning over an area as large as Australasia is surely a worthy left-wing aim, and is quite possible under the Australian Constitution.

But there are advantages also to someone who has some confidence in private enterprise. There is the advantage of increased specialisation, a larger market and a larger possible volume of production, increased competition and the elimination of inefficient producers, and greater difficulties in establishing monopolies.

The leftists are the first to deplore the division of countries they think should be unified. They must be reminded that the differences between the two parts of Vietnam are far greater than the differences between the two parts of Australasia. As Mr. Gough Whitlam (leader of the Australian Labour Party) has said, "Every historical attitude which they have in politics, culture or economics is the same. Their heritage is more alike than that of any two countries in the world."

Since the Second World War conditions have conspired to make Australia and New Zealand look more towards each other. A similar strategic position, the decline of Britain, and the development of air transport are perhaps the most important.

Dr. Alan Robinson of the Political Science Deparmtent has said that federation would ensure that the region had one defence policy and one command structure, as well as one foreign policy. "So long as two governments exist there will inevitably be some difference because of different parties in power, different geographical situations and different economic pressures."

But complete federation may not yet be acceptable to the New Zealand electorate. Something more limited may be necessary, perhaps on the lines of the arrangements in Europe, where together with a common market there is a system of intergovernmental committees, an independent secretariat, a council of ministers, and an organisation of members of Parliament.

This system would give both the advantages of co-operation, and the advantages of economic union, without damaging the emotions of the more sentimental New Zealanders too much. But it will always be a second best.