Catholics in conservative parties

December 2, 2009 at 3:56 am (Barnaby Joyce, Catholic Church, Riverview) (, , , , , , , , , )

Australian Catholics of past generations would find it hard to believe that the three recent candidates for Liberal Party leadership were Catholics: Malcolm Turnbull, Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott.

  It was generally assumed up until the late 1960s that Catholics had no political future in conservative politics in Australia. The first slight breach in this came with the emergence of Philip Lynch as a Minister in the Gorton and McMahon governments in the late 1960s and early 70s.

  If you include Barnaby Joyce, the National Party leader in the Senate, with Abbott and Hockey, it is interesting to note that they all come from Jesuit schools – Abbott and Joyce from Riverview and Hockey from St Aloysius.

  When Nick Greiner (an old boy of Riverview) became NSW Premier in 1988 it was an event for the school almost like the Second Coming.

  Catholics coming into their own in conservative parties in Australia raise a number of interesting questions about the demise of the Anglican Presbyterian ascendancy, or perhaps the general indifference by Australians to denominational considerations and sectarianism, or then again, just an apathy towards religion.

  Whatever answers we come up with one thing is for sure our fathers and grandfathers would be amazed.


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