18 September 2000.


In the exchange rate stakes, Australia is one of the worst performing nations.   Since January 2000 our currency has devalued 18.2% against the US greenback .  This compares to a 10.7% devaluation of the Swiss franc and a 16.6% devaluation of the Euro.

What is the cause of this realignment?  Some of the speculation is:

Those who are conspiracy theorists will note that Australia got a GST despite the electorate not wanting it, and may well expect the UK to join the Euro monetary system, despite the clearly expressed wish of the English electorate not to join.  The the UK Pound can do a "catch up" devaluation with the Euro.

Funny how the governments of the world seem to work to a grand design, in the process ignoring the wishes of their electorates.

Whatever the cause of the exchange rate movements, it will cause an adjustment to the economic facts of life for ordinary Australians.  Imported goods like clothing, shoes and computers will become more expensive.  Export industries will become more competitive.  Inflation will skyrocket.  In the 1980's oil shock inflation was followed by interest rates that rose to around 20% p/a.

The farmer's lot will probably improve, so long as he is not carrying debt.  Export prices should rise faster than the cost of fuel.


Richard Woolcott has written to the Sydney Morning Herald of 18/9/2000 ("Nothing to hide: role in East Timor defended") an apology for the policy that he grandfathered while Australia's Ambassador to Indonesia 1975 - 1978.

Unfortunately for Mr. Woolcott, the facts (and the politicians) speak a different tale.

In the Westminster system of government, the permanent head of each department (ministry) took advice from field officers, and advised the minister or cabinet on that basis.   If memory serves, E. Gough Whitlam had his hands rather full in 1975.  He was attempting to borrow billions of dollars from Khemlani in an attempt to circumvent Australian constitutional requirement that parliament must enact all expenditure.   Incoming PM Malcolm Frazer was not really up to speed, he had just pulled off what is arguably the slickest coupe ever in Australian politics.  So nobody had time to be critical of the elitist advice coming from the Ambassador to Indonesia about E. Timor.

When questioned recently, EGW has justified his actions in allowing matters to begin with elitist reasoning similar to that offered in the SMH article by then Ambassador to Indonesia, RW.

Malcolm Frazer recently stated that he was not privy to the information known to Woolcott that an invasion was planned when he, (as Kerr's pro tem PM) provided a Richelieu letter for RW to give to Suharto.

And the clincher is, of course, Australia's precipitate and solitary recognition of the Timor Annexation.

It could be deduced that the Australian Diplomatic service required neither moral
rectitude nor intelligence as a conspicuous quality in at least some of it's ambassadors.

What is really amazing is that such people ever got promoted past base grade clerks.


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