National Civic Council
The NCC promotes policy based on Santamaria's Catholic values, including opposition to feminism, abortion, same-sex marriage and supporting Christian values along with "the integrity of human life", "the family unit", decentralism and patriotism (including economic). It is usually considered socially conservative, while in economics it is critical of both socialist and economic-rationalist trends. The group organised support for Tony Abbott before the spill motion in February 2015.
The NCC evolved in 1957 from the Catholic Social Studies Movement (also known simply as "The Movement") which was founded in the early 1940s by prominent Catholic layman B.A. Santamaria. The Movement worked closely with the Industrial Groups, which were formed within the Australian Labor Party to combat the influence and infiltration of the Communist Party in trade unions. The Movement, and later the NCC, had close links with the original Democratic Labor Party.
The organisation's website states that its "primacies" are "The family as the basic unit of society," opposition to "excessive centralization," the "right to life" from fertilisation to natural death, patriotism, and "Judeo-Christian values."
Publications and influence
The NCC publishes a national magazine, ‘News Weekly’, as well as a journal of religious opinion called ‘AD2000’. Various states maintain their own smaller publications, such as ‘Action’, ‘Comment’ and ‘FACTS’.
The Australian Family Association (AFA) is an affiliate of the NCC which maintains a high profile on a range of social issues. It was created as a conservative Catholic political party in the 1990s by the AFA and the NCC. In 2014, Peter Westmore attended a "strengthening the family" conference organised to support the World Congress of Families.
Tony Abbott, who was Australia's Prime Minister 2013–15, became interested in politics in 1976 after attending a National Civic Council conference. Abbott represented the Democratic Club in the 1970s, which was sponsored by the NCC. Gerard Henderson describes the NCC as Abbott's "original spiritual and political home in politics" Various media sources have reported that a NCC email campaign helped in part to secure Tony Abbott's position as Prime Minister before the spill motion in February 2015. Senator Eric Abetz stated before the spill "In the last few days the emails have been overwhelmingly flooding the office saying all this nonsense about leadership has gone far too far, and the emails are now overwhelmingly saying 'stick to the team you've got'" Abetz was a speaker in 1999 on "the family" at Family Council of Victoria (a "front" group dominated by the National Civic Council's Australian Family Association). Abetz also spoke at the NCC in November 2011.
The NCC has offices in Melbourne (also its National Office), Brisbane, Townsville, Adelaide and Perth.
The current NCC National President is Peter Westmore who succeeded B.A. Santamaria following his death in February 1998. The National Vice-President is Pat Byrne and there are also a number of State presidents who co-ordinate local groups in each state.
In November 2014, Westmore attended his daughter Trish's marriage to her female partner Christy in New Zealand, where same sex marriage was made legal in 2013. He said his daughter's wedding had his blessing. "She always has my blessing in everything she does." Asked on Tuesday 24 March 2015, if he still supported the NCC's opposition on same sex marriage he said: "Of course I do." Westmore did not respond when asked about the apparent inconsistency in his personal and political positions on the issue. He asked Fairfax Media to "respect" his family's privacy.
- Marian Wilkinson and Karen Michelmore (16 March 2015). "House of Cards". Four Corners. Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
- Wilkinson, M; Michelmore, K; Christodoulou, M. "Christian group NCC orchestrated email spam campaign supporting Tony Abbott ahead of spill". ABC News. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- Ross Fitzgerald (6 October 2012). "Bob Katter discovers sex is a double-edged sword". The Australian.
The new NCC has an extreme dislike of feminism, gay culture, libertarian sexual lifestyles and adult entertainment, and campaigns strongly for censorship in these areas. Since the failure of the Australian Family Alliance party a decade ago, it has been looking for a new national political party with which to ally.
- "Working women 'a problem'". The Canberra Times. 23 October 1972.
- Mark Kenny (16 March 2015). "Survival instinct could see Tony Abbott axed, claims Amanda Vanstone". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- "Conservatives rallied to Abbott rescue". News.com.au. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- Bruce Duncan (2001). Crusade Or Conspiracy?: Catholics and the Anti-communist Struggle in Australia. UNSW Press. p. 347. ISBN 978-0-86840-731-9.
- "Think Tank Organisations – By Category" (PDF). careers.unimelb.edu.au. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 February 2015.
The National Civic Council (NCC) is an organisation which seeks to shape public policy on cultural, family, social, political, economic and international issues of concern to Australia.
- Mike Seccombe (30 August 2013). "Is Abbott Sending Holy Smoke Signals?". The Global Mail.
The NCC cites five "primacies", which speak to its social conservatism, its hostility to the economic prescriptions of both the socialist left and the free-market right, and its strong belief in "Judeo-Christian values".
- "Home – National Civic Council". National Civic Council. Archived from the original on 18 December 2014.
- Paul Heinrichs (24 March 2002). "Home on the range, where the guys are all loudly not gay". The Age.
- "Know Your Politician – The National Civic Council" (PDF). tasmaniantimes.com.
- Helen Davidson (27 August 2014). "Kevin Andrews books out parliament room for anti-gay marriage conference". The Guardian.
- Andrew Clark (27 April 2012). "Tony Abbott's higher calling". Smart Investor. Australian Financial Review.
- Catherine Freyne (5 September 2013). "Shadow boxing: Abbott's battle against 'Marxists' at the University of Sydney". Hindsight. ABC Radio National.
Tony Abbott recounts in Battlelines that as a student politician in the late 1970s he represented the Democratic Club which was sponsored by Bob Santamaria's anti-communist National Civic Council. The Democratic Club wasn't the only conservative club on campus. Abbott writes that in this period, 'a grand coalition of NCC, right-wing ALP, Jewish and Liberal students was working against the "land rights for gay whales" type of activist who'd dominated student political bodies since the Vietnam War era'.
- Ross Fitzgerald (13 October 2012). "How Tony Abbott laboured over choice of party". The Australian.
- Gerard Henderson (30 January 2015). "Bernard Keane's racial taunt; Tony Wright's humour malfunction: MWD 255". The Australian.
- Eric Abetz (29 November 2011). "Speech to the National Civic Council Dinner, Perth". abetz.com.au. Archived from the original on 10 March 2015.
- Royce Millar (25 March 2015). "Catholic crusader Peter Westmore blesses daughter's gay marriage in New Zealand". The Age.