February 24th 2018

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Weatherill demand places Murray-Darling in jeopardy

EDITORIAL China completes island building in South China Sea

CANBERRA OBSERVED Greens: wouldn't know a cowardly act if they did one

REDEFINITION OF MARRIAGE Government forms say it is fluid gender marriage

FREEDOM AND LAW Gender and anti-discrimination: wedges between you and freedom

HISTORY A look back at B.A. Santamaria gives us a forward impulse

GENDER POLITICS Transgenderism: A state-sponsored religion

LAW AND SOCIETY Protecting freedom of religion in Australia

HISTORY Hungary, 62 years on from the anti-Soviet uprising

MUSIC Reel to real: Johann Johannsson, RIP

CINEMA Sweet Country: Sour taste of bush justice


BOOK REVIEW Lessons from the UK front of the GFC

BOOK REVIEW The dragon has woken and rumbled

BOOK REVIEW Recovery manual for morals and culture


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look back at B.A. Santamaria gives us a forward impulse

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, February 24, 2018

At the recent NCC National Conference, retiring NCC President Peter Westmore gave an address acknowledging the legacy of B.A. Santamaria.

We are approaching the 20th anniversary of the death of the founder of our organisation, B.A. “Bob” Santamaria, a man whose life embodied the highest principles of service to his country and to his faith. Yet his loyalty to both was never unquestioning, and was based on a sober assessment of their strengths and weaknesses.

The challenges we face today, whether it be at the state level, nationally, or in the broader culture, are to some extent different from those which existed 20 years ago, but the analyses of the civilisational clash that Bob Santamaria put forward in his famous Philosophies in Collision address nearly 50 years ago, are as relevant today as they were at the time.

In that address, he identified the three ideas that were battling for the heart and soul of Western civilisation: Marxism (and its derivatives, extreme environmentalism and radical feminism); libertarianism, which has contributed so much to the dissolution of all moral absolutes; and the Judeo-Christian foundations on which modern society has been built.


How to respond to the uncertainties we face? I think even today we can learn a great deal from Bob Santamaria, who dedicated his first book, The Price of Freedom, to his wife, calling her “strength in adversity”.

Bob Santamaria’s life was characterised by adversity, and he gave all of us the strength to carry on despite the crushing blows caused by the Labor Split and battles in the labour movement, the hostility that accompanied the creation of the DLP, the lack of support and understanding of many fellow Catholics, the erosion of the Church since Vatican II, and the “cultural revolution” of the 1960s, whose effects are still being felt in society, and are responsible for both the assisted suicide legislation and “same sex marriage”.

It was not false modesty that prompted him to call his autobiography Against the Tide.

Bob Santamaria told us that we were to be neither optimists nor pessimists, but realists. But I know that he felt keenly the attacks that were made repeatedly on himself and the Movement. Yet he stood firm. The might of his intellect was victorious over the unremitting attacks he experienced in public life. Despite these, he deliberated, resolved, and implemented his program for the future of Australia.

Against forces that sapped the spirit of many a lesser man, he stood unbroken, resting on his deep faith, and relying not on success nor even from hope, but on his own innate strength.

A great deal was achieved in that time: Bob Santamaria and the thousands of working-class Australians who were involved in the union struggles were responsible for curbing the power of the Communist Party of Australia, a revolutionary organisation that wanted to capture the labour movement, and through it the ALP – capitalising on unions’ affiliation with the Labor Party – in the interests of the Soviet Union.

It is a matter of record that without those efforts, the history of Australia from the 1940s to the 1960s would have been very different.

And even where the Communist Party and its allies were able to retain control of key unions, they always knew that there was a dedicated and patriotic force who would not rest until their power had been defeated.

Additionally, the fight for democratic unionism, to ensure that trade-union elections were independently conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission, as they are to this day, could not have happened without the leadership and support of Bob Santamaria.

Bob Santamaria’s influence extended far beyond this.

He was responsible for the building of an Australian naval presence in the Indian Ocean, the direct result of our work at the time of the 1969 federal election, the defence of marriage and the family, and the rebuilding of the Catholic Church under St John Paul II and his successors.

It was Bob Santamaria’s friend, James McAuley, one of Australia’s greatest poets, who put into words the spirit that motivates us in times of great difficulty.

McAuley sent Bob this poem, Retreat, which expresses the spirit of this Movement at such times:

Come into yourself a while,
Be deaf to outer cares;
Ask not who wins, who falls, who rages,
Or what each doubtful sign presages,
Or what face treachery wears.

Soon you must return to tasks
That sicken and appal:
The calumnies will never cease,
Look only to the sign of peace,
The cross upon the wall.

This is that sole instrument
That measures every chart;
This square and level overrules
The subtle calculus of fools
By a celestial art.

It is not said we shall succeed,
Save as his Cross prevails:
The good we choose and mean to do
Prospers if he wills it to,
And if not, then it fails.

Nor is failure our disgrace:
By ways we cannot know
He keeps the merit in his hand,
And suddenly, as no one planned,
Behold the kingdom grow!

Peter Westmore is publisher of News Weekly.

B.A. Santamaria’s Philosophies in Collision has been reprinted in full for the first time in 40 years in the recent NCC book, The Best of News Weekly: Shining a Light Through the Darkness, 2014–2016.

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