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25 April 1997. Thought for the Week: "National strength can only come from true freedom, and true freedom requires a true sense of the order which the life of freedom itself requires. A freedom unrelated to order becomes in time licence."
John Farthing in Freedom Wears A Crown
THE REALITY BEHIND THE ANZAC LEGEND
by Eric D. Butler
In contemplating how Anzac Day may develop into the future, it is appropriate to recall that the new Federation of Australian States had not long been born when the First World War provided the first opportunity for troops from the separate States to come together in military conflict. One of the driving forces, which helped to create the Federation, was the fear of military invasion. In one sense, Gallipoli was the bloody baptism of a new nation.
The majority of Australians saw themselves as part of the British Empire. The Republican movements of late last century, mainly based in Sydney, started to fade away under the impact of Federation. Further events associated with Gallipoli, as they became known, had played a major part in shaping a new Australian nationalism. Support for the Monarchy was strong and there was wild excitement when King George V sent a cable congratulating the first Anzacs for their "magnificent achievement". No great battles were won at Gallipoli. But the event had all the elements, which grew into a legend. Here were free men demonstrating both courage and resourcefulness as they attempted to storm cliffs that appeared insurmountable.
Epic events associated with military
achievements are remembered in different ways, even among
those with a common background. British troops were also involved
in a campaign, which British strategists hoped with help to
shorten the First World War by defeating one of Germany's
major allies, Turkey. The bravery of the British troops was
typical of British people everywhere.
It is encouraging that a growing number of young Australians are now attending the annual Dawn Services, at Gallipoli and throughout Australia. They are seeking to discover their roots, and the significance of an event, which more than any other in the nation's short history, has taken firm root in the Australian psyche. The future of Australia requires that Anzac Day is seen, not merely as another public holiday, but a day consecrated to maintain and strengthen those values, which Gallipoli helped to symbolise.
But what are those values? The ability to perform courageous acts; to demonstrate comradeship in time of major disasters? These and other values were all demonstrated at Gallipoli. But is there something else? Perhaps it was the achievements of the stretcher-bearer known as Private John Simpson with his Donkey, which provides a reflection of the deeper spiritual reality, and unlimited source of inspiration for carrying the Anzac legend into the future.
John Simpson Kilpatrick was a product
of Northern England - a "Geordie" - who came to Australia
as a ship's stoker in 1907, when he deserted his ship and
dropped his name Kilpatrick as a form of disguise. He worked
all around Australia, participating in a variety of activities
- from cane cutting to gold fossicking.
Both Australian and Turkish troops were amazed as Simpson and his Donkey survived until he was cut down in a Turkish counter offensive on 19th May. Legend has it that a deep hush fell over both Australian and Turkish troops. Simpson's rare type of courage was not that of a V.C. winner who generally displays his courage in one short flash of bravery, but one of calmly walking through the shadow of death day after day for several weeks.
But what really motivated Simpson? Correspondence provided by his sister revealed him as a political radical, a non-Christian believer. He was no "God, King and Country" young man, a revelation which so upset well known Melbourne churchman the Rev. Irving Benson that for a period he refused to hand back the Simpson correspondence to Simpson's sister. Perhaps Benson was making the same mistake as those who criticised Christ for associating with prostitutes and similar people?
An American woman visitor to the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance penetrated closer to the truth about Simpson when, after contemplating the statuette of Simpson and his Donkey at the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance, wrote a poem in which she referred to the "Christ like chivalry" of Simpson. While Simpson would probably have rejected this description, in a realistic sense he was practising the famous Christian law of love: greater love hath no man than this that he would lay down his life for his own friends.
During his few short weeks at Gallipoli,
the 23-year-old Englishman born as John Simpson Kilpatrick,
created a legend which might well be the central theme of
all Anzac ceremonies, these concerned primarily with discovering
the very soul of the nation.
It has been said that God sometimes speaks to Man in strange and mysterious ways. Does the story of Simpson and his Donkey have a special spiritual message for today's Australians as they face the most critical period in their history?
HANSON PARTY WARNS OF 'EXTREMIST' INFILTRATION
by David Thompson
The Federal Director of Pauline Hanson's fledgling One Nation political party, Mr. David Ettridge, appears to be nervous of groups such as the League of Rights attempting to control his party. He is quoted in a weekend newspaper (Sunday Telegraph, 20/4/97) as threatening to expel League infiltrators, and also members of the former Confederate Action Party. We remain uncertain of Mr. Ettridge's background, except that as a professional fundraiser he worked for World Vision until he became associated with One Nation, upon which World Vision reconsidered his position in the light of Pauline Hanson's comments on overseas aid in her maiden speech. We are unaware of any experience Mr. Ettridge may have in running political parties, let alone establishing one from scratch. Nevertheless, in our view, Mr. Ettridge will need all the assistance available to him in the task before him, and he need not fear interference from the League of Rights.
While we have made every endeavour to distribute Pauline Hanson's addresses as widely as possible, and offered every encouragement to others to support her in the raising of the issues with which she has become associated, the League has had no contact with Pauline Hanson whatever. And Mr. Ettridge appears to be jumping at shadows to suggest that the League is attempting to control One Nation. In fact, although we support much of what Ms. Hanson has said since elected to Parliament, and have observed her fortunes with interest, we believe Pauline Hanson is making a mistake with the formation of One Nation.
In our edition of April 4th last, we
wrote: "But an analysis of Hanson's success reveals that she
has provided the best service to Australians when she has
acted as a type of catalyst, and united Australians against
that which threatens their best interests. It is possible
to reach across all party divisions, social, economic, religious
and even racial divisions to unite Australians against something,
which threatens them. A political party is not necessary to
achieve this, and, in fact, a political party begins to divide
loyalties, and destroy that unity."
The many thousands of normal, decent Australians who have come forward to support Hanson have been accompanied by some strange and unsettling characters, hungry for political power. Indeed, with some of the strange people coming forward, eager to associate with One Nation, our reservations have only deepened. Mr. Ettridge may find that in the struggle ahead, those attaching themselves to the Hanson bandwagon will be quite enough to keep him occupied, let alone Hanson's political enemies.
At this stage, we can only wish Hanson well, but observe that it may be much easier to force the Coalition Government into making concessions on one issue at a time, rather than form a party and seek power. Immediately the latter step is taken, objectives have changed. Instead of forcing the other parties to achieve the results required, Ms. Hanson and her associates are seeking power for themselves, on the assumption that if this is achieved, results will naturally follow, as night follows day. In our view, this is a serious misreading of power politics.
ABORIGINES SEEKING U.N. SANCTIONS
When we warned, early in Mach, that Australia faced the prospect of international economic sanctions, such a suggestion was almost universally regarded as "extreme". But even a rudimentary understanding of the pursuit of policy would indicate that Australia has been moving in this direction for many years. The issue that has confirmed our warnings, and brought the whole question right into focus, is the question of how Prime Minister Howard will resolve the problem of native title and pastoral leases.
Aboriginal interests threaten that if Mr. Howard does effectively extinguish native title with legislation in the Parliament, they will appeal to a higher court. What higher court? Australia abandoned appeals to the Privy Council in Britain in 1974. It was regarded as a sign of national immaturity to have another outside court placed above our own national courts. But as a result of commitments to international treaties, Australia is subject to the rulings of a United Nations body, The International Court of Justice.
In 1983, an Aboriginal delegation, led by Mr. Paul Coe, appealed to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to intervene to guarantee "land rights" to Aborigines, but were told that while ever the Australian High Court held to the Terra Nullius doctrine, the U.N. could not intervene. It was the Mabo case in 1992 in which the High Court rejected the Terra Nullius doctrine, opening the way for another Aboriginal group to return to the U.N. Human Rights Commission early this month to re-open the argument.
As Councillor Bevan O'Regan reports in his From The Parish Pump (April), a former official at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Bill Barker, has denounced Australia to the U.N. for abusing the human rights of Aborigines. The suggestion that Australia may extinguish native title is put forward as a serious case of racial abuse, and in the words of one Aboriginal representative who met with Mr. Howard last week, was the Government's "final solution" for Aborigines. It was argued that extinguishing native title was not only about land, but about extinguishing the entire Aboriginal people.
With the U.N. Draft Declaration on Discrimination Against Indigenous Peoples now being considered, it is clear that Australia is on a collision course with international forces that intend to ensure that Australian sovereignty is shattered. The instrument that is to be used is the question of Aboriginal self-determination, and international sanctions could be employed if Australia resists the establishment of separate black states. Whatever the result, genuine reconciliation, if it was required, is further remote than ever.
The greatest tragedy is that the Aboriginal people, mainly loyal Australians themselves, are being manipulated in the struggle, and will suffer most in the inevitable backlash.
GERMAN THOUGHT-POLICE STRIKE
We are advised that last December the
German Christian Pastor Manfred Junger, was arrested and convicted
under Germany's criminal provision for "defaming the dead",
and sentenced to six months imprisonment without probation.
Junger was convicted of distributing pamphlets that challenged
German's official (and compulsory) version of the holocaust,
particularly the Auschwitz gas chamber contention. This is
the second such conviction for the Lutheran pastor.
It is worth noting that it was under the same German legislation that David Irving was convicted and fined for his own scepticism of the gas chamber contention. It was mainly on this conviction that Mr. Howard's administration justified keeping Irving out of Australia.
FROM THE PRESSWe have abdicated our place on the world stage from Weekend Australian, 19/4/97
"The Howard Government's failure this week to support a United Nations human rights resolution on the situation in China is pathetic. Along with recent statements by Tim Fischer, it amounts to an abdication of Australia's long-held position in the international community as a consistent, reliable and forceful agent in support of universal human rights standards.
By all reports, including the assessments of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the United States State Department, the situation in China remains appalling. The religious, political and social rights that we take for granted remain elusive for much of the Chinese population. To mention nothing of the right to march in support of democracy.
If Mr. Howard thinks that the softly, softly approach to human rights diplomacy will win him the friendship of the Chinese leadership, he is wrong. All he has done is to diminish any role that Australia might have in the protection and promotion of human rights in the future. Australia should not be bullied into acquiescence, particularly on human rights."
GAIRE UNGERER, Department of Government, University of Queensland
|© Published by the Australian League of Rights, P.O. Box 27 Happy Valley, SA 5159|