JOHN CARMODY: The Catholic Right

While Malcolm Turnbull’s own manifest lack of political skills and understanding has played a major role in his downfall, he and others are perfectly correct to recognise that “outside forces” – including some journalists and other media figures who seek to be “players” rather than simply observers and commentators – have also contributed significantly to his fate . 

But there is one group whose importance seems to have been overlooked, though both Jacqueline Maley and Catherine McGregor have alluded to it.  Turnbull’s destruction is a real – though probably Pyrrhic – victory for the Catholic right, who ironically despise their fellow-Catholic, Turnbull, partly for his “excessive” liberality in such issues as same-sex marriage, but most importantly because they believe that his government’s policies on schools funding discriminates against  Catholics.

The hostility of the religious right is far wider though, as those groups infiltrate the Liberal party branches.  It brings to mind the price that the ALP paid in the 1950s and 1960s when it became the enemy of right-wing Catholics, through the “Industrial Groups” and the DLP.  The risk for those doctrinal conservatives is that this activism will condemn the Liberal party (or its successors) to decades in opposition.

John Carmody (Roseville)




John Laurence Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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2 Responses to JOHN CARMODY: The Catholic Right

  1. Peter Small says:

    Turnbull was criticised for acquiescence towards the social right conservatives of the Liberal Party, but Howard was hard at it long before Turnbull arrived. Although a Catholic through marriage Turnbull must have known what he was up against. At least, at the 11 hour he tried.
    The 1950’s Labour split was driven out of Victoria, and I am told the Church in NSW tried to limit the carnage. This time the split in the Liberals is being driven out of NSW. The question is can the Church or any one for that matter, limit the carnage this time?

  2. Mary Brown says:

    I would have thought the clout of the Catholic Right was diminishing in Australia because it is a religion on the decline here.

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