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Trial balance H.C. Coombs Signed by the author and Gough Whitlam hardback used

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Trial balance H.C. Coombs Signed by the author and Gough Whitlam hardback usedTrial balance H.C. Coombs Signed by the author and Gough Whitlam hardback used

Trial balance H.C. Coombs Signed by the author and Gough Whitlam hardback used

Trial Balance - H.C. Coombs hand signed book by Nugget Coombs and Gough Whitlam

bood condition, hardback.

published 1981

About H.C. Coombs

Coombs was born in Kalamunda, Western Australia, one of six children of a country railway stationmaster and a well-read mother. Coombs's political and economic views were formed by the Great Depression, which hit Australia in 1929 and caused a complete economic collapse in a country totally dependent on commodity exports for its prosperity. As a student in Perth, he was a socialist, but while he was studying at the London School of Economics, he became converted to the economic views of John Maynard Keynes. He spent the rest of his career pursuing Keynesian solutions to Australia's economic problems. He never sought public office nor joined a political party, but he sought to exercise political influence as an administrator and advisor.
He won a scholarship to Perth Modern School. After five years there, he worked as a pupil-teacher for a year before spending two years at the Teachers' College. He then spent two years teaching at country schools, during which he studied for a Bachelor of Arts degree in the University of Western Australia (UWA), then the only free university in Australia. Transferring to a metropolitan school for the final two years, he graduated B.A. with first-class honours in economics and won a Hackett Studentship for overseas study. That was deferred for a year, enabling him to graduate M.A., also from UWA, and to marry fellow teacher Mary Alice ('Lallie') Ross at the end of 1931. As a student at UWA, Coombs was elected as the 1930 Sports Council president and subsequently the 1931 president of the Guild of Undergraduates. He then proceeded to the London School of Economics, where he studied under Harold Laski, one of the most influential Marxists of the 20th century. In 1933, he was awarded a PhD for a thesis on central banking.
In 1934, he returned to a teaching position in Perth and combined it with part-time lecturing in economics at UWA. In 1934, Coombs returned to Australia, and in 1935, he became an economist at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, then a state-owned bank that served as Australia's central bank. In 1939, he shifted to the Department of the Treasury in Canberra as a senior economist. He became known as a Keynesian rebel against the classical economics theory that had dominated the Treasury, under the influence of the Melbourne University school of economists, led by L. F. Giblin and Douglas Copland. The Australian Labor Party under John Curtin came to power in 1941, and Coombs found himself in a political environment much more supportive of his views. Curtin appointed him to the Commonwealth Bank board in October 1941. In 1942, the Treasurer, Ben Chifley, appointed him Director of Rationing, and in 1943 made him Director-General of the Department of Post-war Reconstruction, a new ministry that Chifley held in addition to the Treasury. Coombs played a leading role in the preparation of the White Paper on Full Employment in Australia which, for the first time, committed the government to maintaining full employment from the post-WWII years.
Chifley, a former train driver, had no training in economics and came to rely heavily on Coombs's advice. Coombs's closeness to Chifley and the greatly expanded role of government in the economy during World War II made him one of the most powerful public servants in Australian history. His influence further expanded when Chifley became prime minister in 1945.In January 1949, Chifley appointed Coombs as governor of the Commonwealth Bank, the most important post in the regulation of the Australian economy. When the Liberal Party came to power in December of that year, however, Coombs's demise seemed likely, but the new prime minister, Robert Menzies, kept him on and soon came to trust his judgement. Menzies was a moderate Keynesian, and there were few policy differences between the two men, especially since Australia soon embarked on a long postwar boom, and hardly any tough economic decisions needed to be made. In 1960, when the Reserve Bank of Australia was created to take over the Commonwealth Bank's central banking functions, Coombs was appointed governor of the Reserve Bank. At the time, he paid tribute to Sir Leslie Melville by advising the government and others that the best man for the job had been overlooked. He retired as a public servant in 1968. Coombs continued to work following his retirement. He had already signalled his interest in the arts by becoming the first chairman of the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust in 1954 (named in honour of Elizabeth II, not because it promoted Elizabethan theatre). In 1967, he persuaded Prime Minister Harold Holt to legislate to create the Australian Council for the Arts (now the Australia Council) as a body for the public funding of the arts, and in 1968, he became its chairman. He worked closely with Prime Minister John Gorton to secure funding for an Australian film industry. He also became chancellor of the Australian National University (1968–1976), which he had helped found in 1946. He delivered the 1970 Buntine Oration, titled "Human Values – Education in the Changing Australian Society."
Coombs's most important post-retirement role was as a supporter of the Australian Aboriginal people. In 1967, he became chairman of the Council for Aboriginal Affairs, set up by the Holt Government in the wake of the referendum that gave the Commonwealth Parliament power to legislate specifically for the Aboriginal people. He was, however, disappointed that the Gorton and McMahon Governments took up few of the Council's recommendations. He became a close advisor to the Labor leader Gough Whitlam in the years before Whitlam became prime minister in 1972, and he largely wrote Labor's policy on Aboriginal affairs, particularly the commitment to Aboriginal land rights. In 1972, he was named Australian of the Year. From 1972 to 1975, Coombs served as a consultant to Prime Minister Whitlam, but his influence was resented by other ministers. He found the experience of the first Labor government since 1949 disappointing. He disapproved of the events that led up to the Loans Affair of 1975 and the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis, which led to the dismissal of Whitlam's government by the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr. He advised Whitlam not to resort to unorthodox means of financing government operations when the Senate blocked supply, but Whitlam did so anyway. Although he regarded the dismissal as scandalous, estrangement from Whitlam meant that he took little subsequent part in politics. In 1975, he was chairman of a Royal Commission on Australian Government Administration, which was tasked with examining the purpose, functions, organisation and management of Australian Government bodies and the structure and management of the Australian Public Service. Nevertheless, the Royal Commission report was largely ignored by the incoming Liberal government of Malcolm Fraser.
In 1976, Coombs resigned all his posts and became a visiting fellow at the Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies at the Australian National University, where he developed a new interest in environmental issues. However, Aboriginal affairs remained his greatest passion and, in 1979, he launched the Aboriginal Treaty Committee, calling for a formal treaty between Australia and the Aboriginal people. The idea gained much public support but neither the Fraser government nor its successor, Bob Hawke's Labor government, took it up. From 1977 to 1979, Coombs was the president of the Australian Conservation Foundation. Coombs deplored the breakdown of the postwar Keynesian economic consensus represented by Thatcherism, and in his 1990 book The Return of Scarcity he proposed a Common Wealth Estate to ensure a more equitable distribution of wealth. He suffered a disabling stroke in late-1995 and died in Sydney in 1997. During the Howard government administration, the "Coombs legacy" in Aboriginal affairs came under increasing criticism. Journalist Piers Akerman argued that Coombs's policy amounted to "politically correct apartheid", and that the communal land ownership implicit in Aboriginal land rights was keeping Aboriginal people poor and dependent on welfare by preventing the private ownership of land.

Trial Balance - H.C. Coombs hand signed book by Nugget Coombs and Gough Whitlam

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