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Thursday, 5 December 1985
Page: 3098

Senator KILGARIFF(11.10) —Is Senator Tate coming back to the chamber or not? I was merely going to say--

Senator Tate —Mr Deputy President, that will go in the Hansard as though I walked out on Senator Kilgariff.

Senator KILGARIFF —The honourable senator did.

Senator Tate —I had no notion from the list circulated that the honourable senator was next on the list. In fact, my list says Senator Vigor, Senator Vanstone and Senator Evans. Although the honourable senator's name appears at the bottom of the list, it is struck out.


Senator Tate —I came back as soon as I realised that the honourable senator was on his feet.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! This is not a point of order.

Senator Tate —That is a completely unjust allegation.

Senator KILGARIFF —If it is an unjust allegation, I take back what I said. Senator Tate told me tonight that he would be raising certain things during the adjournment debate. I remained in the chamber to hear what he had to say. As the honourable senator raised certain matters in his speech, I exercised my right to reply immediately. But that is by the way. I have a high regard for Senator Tate and the various matters he raises in the Senate-issues such as the Philippines.

At midday today I said certain things in the Senate. All I want to say now is that whatever Senator Tate said tonight does not alter the facts of the matter whatsoever. Senator Tate and I have certain affiliations with the church. Letters in the Press, such as in the Australian, and articles in so many papers throughout Australia from people within the church have indicated concern at the present situation. I think Senator Tate would probably acknowledge that there is concern. As a member of the church to which Senator Tate belongs I felt because the matter has been aired so strongly in the media, that I too should express my strong feelings and the feelings that have been voiced to me by members and clergy of the church.

This is the first time that I have heard Senator Tate or, for that matter, anyone within the Catholic Church challenge Santamaria, who is a person of very high principles and very strong character. He has said many things recently-in fact, he says so many things week by week and month by month. It is not too often that what is said by Santamaria is refuted whether by the left wing of the Australian Labor Party or whatever. I suppose that members of the left wing know that if they challenge him they will come off second best. But that is by the way.

I acknowledge that to some degree I have used what B. A. Santamaria has said. But why is it that I am being challenged because I have publicly indicated my strong feelings? Why have not Senator Tate and the people within the church challenged Santamaria before? All I am saying to Senator Tate tonight is that I think he is splitting hairs. I think what Senator Tate has done is to confirm what I have said. I said that the thing that concerned me and so many people was that this was a Lenten appeal when people around Australia were requested to give to the poor, the destitute, the refugees-all those people to whom I referred in my speech today. I do not have the figure, but it has been indicated that $2.4m was raised. Why is it, when such funds are raised to bring relief to those people, that funds have to be transferred, as they have been-I understand Senator Tate has said that they were transferred by authority-for some other use? I have nothing further to say tonight, Mr Deputy President, but I assure you that if this issue becomes dominant in the next week or two--

Senator Tate —You brought it up; I didn't.

Senator KILGARIFF —I have not brought it up. I am merely indicating to Senator Tate and to others that through the Australian media the people of the land are questioning and showing disapproval of things that are happening. Those people have the right to express their opinion. I am merely picking up their opinion and expressing it in the Senate today. I believe I have that right. If it is the honourable senator's wish, I will have more to say about it. I am saying that I want nothing more than a reply from those people who administer the funds as to why $250,000 was shifted from the appeal for the destitute for the operational expenses, as I understand it, of a certain organisation.

The honourable senator has said that I have used a particular person's name, and that was the name of B. A. Santamaria. To some degree I used his article in the Australian of 3 November, and I have a copy of the article here. It has been made public; everyone has seen it. In order to support what I have said, I ask that this article be incorporated in Hansard.

Leave not granted.

Senator KILGARIFF —I now have 22 minutes left in which to read it. What a drip the Minister is.

Senator Bolkus —That is unparliamentary language. It should be withdrawn.

Senator KILGARIFF —For God's sake, what a stupid thing to have done. Mr Deputy President, the Senate can settle it while I read this article. The article appeared in the Australian on 3 November 1985 and is headed: `Deceit as practised in the name of peace'. The sub-heading is: `Politics: a personal view by B. A. Santamaria'. In the centre of the page a heading reads: `Essentially fraudulent claims raise a question of elementary honesty'.

Senator Sheil —Mr Deputy President, I ask that the request for the article to be incorporated be resubmitted.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Is leave granted?

Leave granted.

The article read as follows-


Politics: a personal view by B. A. Santamaria

Essentially fraudulent claims raise a question of elementary honesty

In a kind of way, history was made in Australia during the past month. The American embassy in Canberra took the hitherto unprecedented step of writing a strong six-page letter protesting against a document on nuclear issues recently prepared and published by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP).

When the latter body replied, the American embassy did not let the matter drop, but restated its position, developing its arguments further.

The CCJP is obviously pleased that it has been taken so seriously by the United States. Whether the Catholic bishops who appoint its members and finance its activities to the extent of a quarter of a million dollars annually should congratulate themselves equally is another question.

The Catholic Commission's document, ``Work for a just peace: reflections on peacemaking in an armed world'', simply falls into the category of the familiar attacks made by the extreme Left in Australia on the general Western policy of preparedness to meet a possible military attack by the Soviets.

The CCJP covers itself by using a few mildly critical words against the Soviet Union. The impact of its whole statement, however, as of all the CCJP's statements on these questions over the past decade, is anti-Western and particularly anti-American.

On the present state of the nuclear question, it attacks President Reagan's policy of building an anti-missile defensive screen. It alleges that President Reagan's SDI (Strategic Defence Initiative) program is not aimed at defence but at offence. If SDI is not permissible, the only alternative is to continue the present policy of deterrence.

Yet the statement itself clearly implies that deterrence itself is intrinsically immoral. If both SDI and nuclear deterrence are excluded, what logically follows is that there is no acceptable policy other than unilateral disarmament, regardless of what the Soviet does: neither the Pope, nor the American bishops, let alone the French, the German or the Italian bishops who have all made statements on this question, have adopted such a position. It has been adopted only by the Australian body.

As far as Australia is concerned, the statement supports the New Zealand position in fragmenting the ANZUS alliance, and demands that Australia should tell the US to take its installation at North-West Cape away unconditionally, as well as the installations at Pine Gap and Nurrungar, unless the Americans hand their control over to an international authority, which, of course, they cannot possibly do.

It is thus demanding that Australia leave ANZUS as well and follow the same kind of neutralist course as New Zealand. That is what the document means in theory and practice, despite all the hair-splitting.

The document, of course, would not have excited any notice unless it seemed to have the authority of the Catholic bishops behind it. The lay members of the commission are completely unknown to the Catholic public who have never had any say in their appointment, although the Catholic public contributes the money which maintains them. It is fair to say that not one Catholic in 50,000 would even have heard their names.

The document derives its authority from a single statement that it ``has been approved for discussion and reflection by a more than two-thirds majority vote of the Catholic bishops of Australia''.

On the authority of that ``more than two-thirds of a majority vote'', its contents have passed into the Catholic schools system, where it is presumably learnt by children on the basis of that authority. Any criticisms are immediately attacked as coming only from ``extremists''.

In substance, that claim of approval by more than two-thirds of the bishops is fraudulent. When I put the question of whether two-thirds of the bishops had actually approved the statement to one bishop, he replied: ``Contrary to the persistent claims by the CCJP and its supporters that two-thirds of the Australian bishops approved the 1985 statement of the CCJP. `Work for a just peace', I affirm that this is not so, and I categorically deny that two-thirds of the Australian bishops gave a positive approval to such a statement.''

What happened was this. There are 44 Australian Catholic bishops. Twenty-which is less than half (let alone two-thirds)-voted for it, which is bad enough. One voted against it. Twenty-three did not vote at all.

For a variety of reasons, they abstained. But since the supporters of the statement in the episcopal conference last May had pushed through a resolution that any bishop who had not replied, indicating his view of the statement, by July 30, should be recorded as a positive vote, the claim was made that the statement was approved overwhelmingly.

In the less august world of trade unionism, such a procedure would call for a court-controlled ballot. Since the CCJP has knowingly involved the vast mass ofCatholics who maintain it, in an attack on Australia's relationships with the US, since children in Catholic schools are to be brainwashed with this policy on the fraudulent claim that it is supported by more than two-thirds of the bishops, it becomes inevitable that a further issue must be raised.

The people who, each Lent, contribute more than $2 million to Project Compassion, the Catholic Lenten collection for overseas relief, do so in the belief they are helping the poor. I have heard that claim made from several pulpits.

A quarter of a million dollars of that money goes to maintain the CCJP, an expenditure which has no relationship whatsoever with helping the poor. Other quite dubious expenditures are made: for instance in relation to certain projects run by the Cambodian Government.

Surely there is a question of elementary honesty in this, as there is in making esentially fraudulent claims as to the number of bishops who voted for the statement, as distinict from abstaining.

Two years ago, when a group of Catholic parents protested to Cardinal Gagnon, now president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, at the widespread disobedience in Catholic schools to the norms established by Pope John Paul II in the matter of sex instruction, the cardinal referred to the obligation of the ordinary faithful to ensure obedience.

It is a desperate situation. But when-despite repeated, fruitless representations-the authority of the bishops is finally used to attack the security of Australia, desperate ills call for desperate remedies.

Senator KILGARIFF —Thank you, Mr Deputy President.

Senator Gareth Evans —You were having so much difficulty in reading it that it was embarrassing to us all.

Senator KILGARIFF —I am afraid that Senator Evans does not really assist the situation.