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In a speech reported in The Age June 29, 2004,  Tony Fitzgerald correctly stated that democracy has been corrupted in Australia in recent years. He also noted that the universal aim of the power hungry is to stifle dissent and that most of us are easily silenced through a sense of futility if not personal concern. However, he is wrong to give the impression that this corruption started at the sacking of the Whitlam Government in 1975.

Unfortunately a large number of Australian citizens think that there were some golden years whilst the Whitlam Government were in power. This assumption is wrong. It was in the Whitlam years that the basis was laid for the corruption of democracy. The DOGS identified the beginning of the rot with the controlled and mushrooming expansion of State Aid to church schools and bureaucracies in the Whitlam years.

Consider the following:

1.   Political Correctness

 The insidious demand for "political correctness" started in the 1960s and was reinforced in the Whitlam years.

 For example, any  citizens who criticized state aid for church schools was labelled "sectarian" even though it was the church school interest    that was sectarian . This cry of "sectarian" against those who criticize the blatant discrimination against children on the basis of creed, ethnic background, and ability to pay has become symptomatic of the use of "labelling" to silence discussion. It represents the longest and most vicious of political invective used to enforce "political correctness" in recent times
DOGS point out that they have never been "politically correct" on this level.

2,    Neutralizing and Harnessing of Pressure Groups for the ALP's own Ends.

In the field of public education the Whitlam Government developed as an art form the neutralizing and harnessing of effective pressure groups, leading them to act contrary to the best interests of both public education and their organizations. Only a few , like the NSW, Queensland and Tasmanian Teachers Federations, some NSW parents - and the DOGS resisted.

The co-option of public education pressure groups was achieved by various means.

    a)    Co-option of key personnel onto committees;

    b)    Appointment of key personnel to well paid positions

    c)    By the provision of grants for essential running costs of key pressure groups

The Whitlam Government understood the co-option tactic very well. They recognized the importance of neutralizing opposition to the Schools Commission and its activities. Kim Beazley the then Minister for Education appointed peak public education pressure group representatives who were acceptable to his policies and programs. But it was worse than this. The public education representatives were unequally yoked with private church operators. Whilst representatives like Joan Kirner ( parent rep.) and Ray Costello( teacher rep.) were selected because they were prepared to carry out the Minister's requirement for "impartiality on behalf of public and private schools" no such "impartiality" requirement was ever publicly stipulated as the basis for selection for church school representatives.  For example, A. McNamara (Catholic parent), Father F. Martin (Director of Catholic Education Victoria). The Schools Commission was abandoned once public school representatives kicked back. As Van Davy (teacher rep) wrote ( Canberra Times 8/6/1988)

 "The Commission would always need reconstructing as soon as the forces for social unity and democracy insisted on the 'primary objective to     government schools' as strongly as the forces for social separation and exclusiveness had insisted on the 'prior right of parents'"

3.     Attack on Fundamental Rights

The attack on fundamental rights did not commence in the Fraser or Howard years although it has escalated. Whitlam set the precedent.   Both in and out of government Whitlam was active  in the prevention of citizens using the courts of the land to have the High Court adjudicate on the right to be in court and have the issue of State Aid, basic religious liberty, and church state separation  adjudicated by the court.

He was and is quite proud of this iniquitous behaviour. The story  of citizens attempting to get into the High Court is charted on this web site.

4.    Entanglement of State with Church Interests

Through the neutralization of  opposition to State Aid to Church enterprises in general and sectarian education in particular, Whitlam assisted in the breaking down of one of the most fundamental cornerstones of a liberal, democratic, and heterogeneous society.: Separation of Church and State.  It has continued apace since his time in government.

5.    Manipulation of Information

The Whitlam government set the standard for  manipulation of the information available for their own ends - and that of the church interest - but not for the public good. The most classic example of this was the deliberate cover up of the true per capita funding given to each Church School. Whitlam's bureaucrats knew that if this information was provided as it was done under the previous Liberal Government it would expose the "Needs Policy" joke together with the bottom of the school yard schemes. The manipulation of the system by certain Church School interests would have been available for public scrutiny. So the church interest wagged and still wags the State accountability dog.

6.    Wheeling and Dealing Between Church and State

One of the most scandalous features surrounding the election of the Whitlam Government in 1972 was the goings on between Whitlam's bagman- Mick Young, and certain Roman  Catholic Church dignitaries. This unholy holy connection has since occurred behind the scenes to assist in  the election of the Hawke, and the two Howard governments to date.

7.    Acceptance of the Private rather than the Public Good

In spite of his pretensions, Whitlam was not a statesman. He failed miserably in the fundamental test. He did not put the public good or the national interest in the forefront of his educational policy. He directed the attention of the bureaucrats to the needs of schools, not the needs of the nation . He did not link national objectives to the wise national social and economic policy in education. He set the scene for the widespread acceptance of the privatization ideology which is currently beggaring our nation and its growing number of disadvantaged children.

8.    Selection of Terms of Reference and Personnel and the Corruption of the Bureaucracy

The Interim Schools Commission and the Schools Commission, is a classic starting point for the current method used by politicians to manipulate bureaucrats and bureaucratic activities. to their own ends. Howard is only continuing a tradition commenced by the Labor Party under Whitlam .

Fitzgerald is correct in stating that the

"universal aim of the power hungry is to stifle dissent. Most of us are easily silenced through a sense of futility if not personal concern"

Whitlam has to date escaped scrutiny of the part played by himself in the power game and his peculiar contribution to the corruption of our democratic processes because he has placed beyond scrutiny the priest, the pastor and the wealthy, powerful Church bureaucracy.

DOGS welcome the Fitzgerald enquiry into our current political morass. They urge him to continue remembering what happened to leading Parisians under the Third Reich :

" People did not think of themselves as having moral choices to make. - they had careers and ambitions and so on."

9.    Breaking Down of the Checks and Balances Magnified Whitlam's Mistakes

Whitlam's undermining of the democratic process has been magnified by the failure of those who profess to promote the "truth".

Where have been the pastors, the journalists, the academics and the lawyers while the undermining of our democratic processes has grown apace?

DOGS have attempted to rouse them from the beginning. Yet they have been too frightened to confront the "sectarian" bogey.

The representatives of the Fourth Estate - the Journalists - have been the worst. For example, Graham Perkin, of the Age, could have been the equivalent of the boy with his finger in the dyke. But he deliberately chose to avoid the fundamental issues referred to above. DOGS were there and heard him explain his failure.

DOGS look forward to a widening of the new Fitzgerald enquiry.


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Last modified:Monday, 25 April 2005