Thursday, July 08, 2004

Australia in the Cold War: the legacy of B.A. Santamaria

B.A. Santamaria was a major force in promoting opposition to communism in Australia. I'm reading a fascinating book by Ross Fitzgerald called The Pope's Battalions: Santamaria, Catholicism and the Labor Split (University of Queensland Press 2003). It's a real eye-opener and makes sense of the vestiges of sectarian attitudes still evident in Australia. Funnily enough, I was taught violin by one of Santamaria's daughters. She was a fine musician, but was there some political motivation in sending me to her? (My father was a big supporter of Santamaria). The book presents important background to understanding Cold War Australian politics, and it's quite frightening to think of the power held by this man who was not even a member of a political party.

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