The National Civic Council, founded by Catholic layman Mr B.A. Santamaria in the 1940’s, over the years has enunciated a political philosophy based on pro-Catholic values.
His policies were devised to oppose the growing influence of the atheistic Communist Party in Australian politics, and their infiltration of Australian Trade Unions.
The NCC inspired the rise of Industrial groups within the Australian Labor Party dedicated to opposing Communism when the ALP wouldn’t.
Prime Minister Bob Menzies exploited the situation by portraying Labor as being soft on Communism, and provocatively moved to ban the Communist Party, a change that the Leader of the ALP, Herbert Evatt, strongly opposed for fear of undermining civil liberties.
The issue irrevocably split the ALP when the Democratic Labor Party (DLP), a political affiliate of the NCC was formed. It did not have the political clout to win office itself, but it succeeded in denying Labor office for many years.
Over 60 years later it is the Coalition’s turn to face office-denying dissent within its ranks. The political spokesman for the Coalition revolt has been the former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, going back on his promise not to cause trouble for the new leadership.
My motivation for writing this post is a desire to understand why he has changed his mind and is now hell-bent on opposing Malcolm Turnbull at every turn, despite the electoral damage it is causing. I have always thought well of Tony Abbott and so have found this behaviour galling.
With an impeccable Catholic pedigree, a Jesuit education, and seminary training, it was not surprising that he espoused NCC philosophy when he switched from the priesthood to politics. As the 28th Prime Minister of Australia, he always sought to implement policies consistent with NCC philosophy.
I suspect that although Catholic, Malcolm Turnbull has not continued on with some of Tony Abbott’s policies, and has failed to always uphold NCC ideology, especially in regard to family values, because he prefers to lead by consensus and negotiation.
If he is to be re-elected, Malcolm Turnbull has the almost impossible task of countering a re-invigorated Labor Party, neutralizing NCC-inspired opposition within the Coalition, refuting strident conservative media criticism, and persuading a large Conservative voting block not to desert the Coalition.
Australian’s have a strong sense of fairness, and there may be many who will perceive the constant attacks on his leadership, as ethically wrong!