Political Leadership

Figs do not grow on barren trees — Ernie Lane in Dawn to Dusk – reminiscences of a rebel.

Were current and recent Labor leaders ever political activists in Queensland?

Please note: This article was written in response to questions raised by Humphrey McQueen in his piece titled The Very Right-wing Rev. Rudd

It prompted a bizaare exchange of views with a former Qld Special Branch officer which can be read below in the Comments section or in this compilation — After Joh: we’re all mates now

I think the Joh legacy was more than anything, is that there was a group of determined people that came out of the fight against Joh. Goss was one of those, I was one of those – people who wanted a better system. I mean to be perfectly honest if I hadn’t got arrested in the Springboks, I probably may not have ended up in politics so I mean I should thank Joh for my personally … if I hadn’t got arrested in the anti Springboks marches I probably wouldn’t have been that politicised to go into politics. Who knows?  — Peter Beattie in an interview with Chris Masters on the about Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s legacy on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s FOUR CORNERS – ‘Investigative TV journalism at its best.’

Many of the recent flock of labor leaders come from Queensland. People like Rudd, Swan, McKew, Goss, Anna Bligh, Claire Moore and Peter Beattie grew up here in the 1950s and 60s and most of them went to the University of Queensland in the 1970s.

Before that it was people at the state level like Wayne Goss, Matt Foley, and Anne Warner. It is significant to note that university education had been made free by the Whitlam Labor government in 1972. Like a number of Liberals some Labor leaders used the university of Queensland student union as a training ground, a sort of toy parliament. Anna Bligh was president of the student union.

There were other Labor leaders at the local government level who came through the Joh era, people like Tim Quinn and Jim Soorley (lord mayors of Brisbane City Council [BCC]), and cautious John Campbell (a labor alderman in BCC). Then there were all the staffers, some of whom who were actually street marchers people like Lee Birmingham and Simon Blackwood.

During the political development of many of these labor (and liberal) leaders there was a lot of political activity in the form of street marches in Qld, mainly in opposition to the National Party government of Joh Bjelke-Petersen.

The current (2008) Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was not involved in political street marches in Queensland. Treasurer Wayne Swan was involved in the University of Queensland student union in the 1970s and marched after the dismissal in 1975. The Member for Bennelong (ex Prime Minister Howard’s old seat) Maxine McKew was a cadet journalist for the ABC during the street marches in 1977-79 and attended some marches in the late 1970s in that capacity. Only Foley and Warner (later on) took any direct part in the street marches 1977-1979. Senator Claire Moore took no part in any of these political activities even although she, like Anna Bligh, fell in with left wing and union causes.  Anna Bligh built a profile that would enable her to move toward a safe seat in parliament with the support of those that went before her (Anne Warner) and sections of the women’s movement and rank and file that worked hard for her election.

As parliamentarians, none have achieved real change, some were and are only there because unions put them there.  As least some acknowledge how this came about, people like Graham Perret , who wrote a letter recently saying it was unions like the CFMEU and MUA that got him into parliament. But he still tows the line. But this piece is not so much about the unions, it is the Labor leaders who got there off the back of democratic rights struggles in Queensland, people like Matt Foley, Wayne Goss, and Anna Bligh.

There is another group that I should mention briefly here — politicians like Cheryl Kernot and Andrew Bartlett who got into parliament as a result of the peace, civil liberties and environment movements.

cheryl-kernot-speaking-at-an-anti-gulf-war-rally-in-king-george-square-brisbane-1991

Cheryl Kernot speaking at an anti-gulf-war rally in king George square, Brisbane 1991

As we know Kernot stopped ‘turning up’ when she got a position in the Labor shadow ministry. Bartlett always ‘turned up’ and still does. But then he is out of parliament now and the compromises still necessary for people like Claire Moore are no longer necessary for Andrew.

Contrast the current crop of political leaders to union leaders like Alex McDonald (Secretary of Qld Trades and Labour council in the 1960s), Fred Patterson and George Georges* who never gained or sought high political office, but who always tried their best to stick to principle and make a difference. Many of the old timers claim  Alex McDonald was the best Labour leader in the trade unions in Queensland. [* It was a fluke that Georges became a Qld Senator].

Peter Beattie – a typical case
There have been claims by a variety of people, historians, academics, even activists that the former Premier of Qld, Peter Beattie, was involved in the Queensland street marches campaign against Joh Bjelke-Petersen. These claims are dealt with in some detail below. I have done this as an example, a metaphor for other Labor men and women,  of their opportunism and therefore hindrance to any real change to Australian capitalism. I know only a few of these people personally, my criticism of them is not personal, it is political.

Democratic Rights
The political street marches in the late 1970s were about the democratic right to organise.

This arose because of opposition to uranium mining and export was becoming more popular, attacks were made on trade unions, on women and on aboriginal people [for Murris is was under the racist legislation referred to as the Queensland Acts].

As part of my research for this article I have consulted records of arrests in the political street marches from 1977 – 1979. By this I mean I have been through actual Watchouse and magistrates court lists of those arrested in street marches. I have been through records of the Civil Liberties Co-ordinating Committee [CLCC] and the later Civil liberties Campaign group [CLCG] that organised these marches and raised bail for those arrested. These records were kept by both those organisations. I was a member of both organisations. They were entrusted to me after these campaigns were over.

Peter Beattie’s name does not appear on any of the arrest lists. Nor do names of any of the other Labor leaders who came from Qld in that period (except Foley mentioned above). I attended all the political street marches of the period 1977 – 1979 and do not recollect Peter Beattie or any of the others having any active involvement in them.

It is important to know that it was the policy of the ALP opposition to oppose any active involvement in political street marches of the late 1970s. The ALP state secretary threatened to have Senator George Georges dis-endorsed in 1977 if he took part in one of the marches. At that stage George Georges obeyed this directive, but later in 1978 became an active participant and helped organise the Civil Liberties Campaign Group.

Civil Liberties
There was an earlier political street march campaign in Qld in 1967 – 68 around civil liberties but I have never seen anywhere claims that Peter Beattie was involved in those campaigns, much less that there are claims he was arrested. I do not know of the existence of any records of those people arrested. Both attorney general (Foley) and police minister (McEnroth) in the Goss Labor Government claimed that special branch records were destroyed after Labor came to power in 1989. Matt Foley, the attorney general in the Goss Labor government of the 1990s had been arrested in a street march on 11 November 1977, the eve of a state election.

Special Branch
PETER BEATTIE: Everybody knew if you went to a protest there was always photos being taken. You know, you’d always pose to get your best side. (Laughs) And they had a dossier on everybody. — Hall, Allan, ‘Springbok Tour’, Rewind Television, ABC Television, broadcast, September 26, 2004, available at abc.net.auhttp://www.abc.net.au/tv/rewind/txt/s1204845.htm

These claims about Special Branch files were made to me in writing by these Ministers after I sought information about special branch records that relate to these periods 1967 – 1979 and specifically to Qld’s political street marches in 1977 – 1979. I doubt both these written assertions by these former Labor ministers for a variety of reasons. Some selected people were shown their special branch files. University Lecturer, Dan O’Neill was one of these. A special branch officer of that period, Barry Krosch,  claims to have written a book about the history of the special branch in Qld [See https://bushtelegraph.wordpress.com/2006/10/28/not-guilty/#comment-87]. Many Special Branch files were given to ASIO. Some files were very large and those years and much public expenditure to acquire. Isn’t it unlikely that police officers who had served under National party government for many years and had spent so much time compiling these records would give them up for destruction by a labor government? Sources claim that the special branch files were placed in state library archives. Perhaps we will find out more if Barry Krosch’s book is ever published.

Nevertheless I think that Peter Beattie was too young to have been involved in the 1967 – 68 marches.

Springbok Demonstrations
There were political demonstrations in opposition to apartheid in South Africa during a tour of the Springbok Rugby union side in 1971. In the interview with Chris Masters, Beattie claims that he was involved in one demonstration and was arrested by police. The demonstration he is referring to was in Brisbane in 1971 outside the Tower Mill Hotel. This was the place where the Springbok Rugby Team was staying in Brisbane during its tour. During that demonstration Qld police (many from country police stations) charged through a crowd of protesters and beat up many people in nearby Albert Park. There were some arrests. A young Sam Watson was arrested at that demonstration. He was knocked out. He was lucky that one of his aunties who was a trained nurse had been arrested and was in the paddy with him. She revived him on the floor of the paddy wagon.

On the evening of Thursday July 22 (1971) five hundred police confronted four hundred protesters including another future premier, Peter Beattie. ‘Even though I was the one who had been assaulted, I was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest…I will never forgive or forget what came next, I was “verballed” by the police who manufactured the most incredible statements.’ — Hall, Allan, ‘Springbok Tour’, Rewind Television, ABC Television, see above

It has been claimed by a variety of people (including the man himself) that Peter Beattie attended that demonstration and during the subsequent riot by country police and resultant melee in Albert Park, Beattie tried to take refuge in the then nearby Trades Hall (next to Albert Park). It is clear that there were claims that Beattie was detained and beaten up by police. I have never been convinced that there is any objective evidence of the latter.

PETER BEATTIE: As I’m disappearing into Trades Hall, I sort of got grabbed by this burly policeman and ended up sort of getting thrown onto the ground. And I landed pretty heavily. And I was later charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Now, I don’t quite know how you resist arrest when you’re running away. When I saw the statement of particulars that arrived, I mean, I thought, “This is on another planet.” This police officer and I were not in the same city at the same time, ’cause this did not happen. — Hall, Allan, ‘Springbok Tour’, Rewind Television, ABC Television, broadcast, September 26, 2004

The Trades and Labor council of the time is likely to have ordered that demonstrators be locked out of the building. I remember that the old Trades Hall was only opened in the night time if there were scheduled meetings to be held. This was done by a caretaker. The police charge at the Tower Mill took place in the evening and it was getting dark. If people did try to take refuge in Trades Hall it is likely that they were either locked out or evicted by the caretaker aided by any union officials who happened to be in the building at the time.

Anyway such claims are clouded in mystery and there is little if any objective evidence of claims that Beattie was detained and beaten by police [See comments section for challenges to this assertion]. However I was not there and do not know. It is interesting that none of the people arrested and bashed that night claim any special knowledge of what happened to Beattie — only the journos, the cops and the special branch.

However I did attend a meeting of students and staff at the University the following day, a number of whom had been arrested or beaten. There were many speeches in the Uni refectory that day and i heard the descriptions of what had happened the night previous. There was one given by a person whose arm was in a sling, he had been taken to hospital after being beaten by police. He said that his arm was broken. After his speech, Dan O’Neill put a motion for students and staff to go on strike. We threw up our hands in support, thousands of hands went up inside the uni refectory that day. I do not recollect Peter Beattie being a speaker on that day nor do I remember Peter Beattie being actively involved in organising that strike. However I was just another student, albeit who sympathised with the anti-apartheid cause proclaimed by the speakers.

Peter Beattie may have been involved in some way but he was not a leader of the strike in the way people like  Dan O’NeilI were.

Later Peter Beattie did surface as an official of the station officers union in Qld Railways.

Mulrunji

Thirty-three years after Beattie was supposed to have been beaten by police near the Tower Mill Motel in Brisbane while demonstrating against the Qld National party government’s racist support for apartheid, a Palm Island man was killed by a Queensland police officer, Chris Hurley.

Peter Beattie’s response was this:

“Many people said at the beginning (when Mulrunji died) that there would not be due process…I said at the time that the coroner would go through due process and the matter would be followed appropriately and that’s what has happened.” — see https://bushtelegraph.wordpress.com/2006/12/09/more-murris-in-jail-while-killer-policeman-runs-free-on-full-pay/

So Beattie  put in place ‘due process’ after Mulrunji was killed by Sgt Chris Hurley in the Palm Island Watchouse.

The same due process that allowed Hurley to get off a manslaughter charge and Lex Wotton to be given a prison sentence of 6 years for refusing to accept the initial claim after the government autopsy that it was an accident.

Claims that both current and recent labor leaders were one time left-wing radicals in Brisbane involved in political street marches are much exaggerated.

Their claims of a genuine political consciousness is seriously in doubt.

Ian Curr
November 2008

References

  1. Not Guilty

  2. Pig City: ‘they shut it down, they pulled it down’?

  3. Springbok Tour

  4. More Murris in jail – killer cop runs free

  5. Dawn to Dusk – reminiscences of a rebel by Ernie Lane

  6. The Very Right-wing Rev. Rudd

19 responses to “Political Leadership

  1. Ian

    First of all, can I just say that I don’t consciously search your site – ever. I do have a system where my computer “Googles” my name every day. Today that search popped up my name with the link to your current article.

    So, just as you would do yourself, I had a look to see what they were saying about me this time.

    I was certainly not offended in any way. And as I have said before, I am quite willing to assist clarify any issues/questions in any way. I have to be able to do that in a legal and ethical way – and protect my years of research as well.

    I have not published yet. I have two documents of about 120,000 words each. I am not sure whether to do a thesis or just publish – or both.

    Re the arrest of Peter Beattie.

    I can assure you the incident took place exactly as he described. I have all the documents to prove it and I am prepared to share some of them with you. He was chased into the Trades Hall and arrested by a Constable Daniels. He was injured and later driven home by police.

    The results of the court case were well documented in the Brisbane newspapers at the time. (I have them).

    Re the Springbok Tour generally, Make sure you get a copy of Griffith University’s Griffith Review (Spring 2008 edition).

    In fact, I would be surpsised if you have not already read this publication. It is a great collection of works.

    Look at page 77…………………….

    Professor Finnane has written an interesting account of the Springbok Tour; assisted by some “insider”.
    information from impeccable sources.

    Re Special Branch files. This is the situation. It is no secret that a copy of most Special Branch files went to AS#0 soon after compilation. That happened from 1949 and I assume it still happens today – with better controls I would think.

    Most Special Branch files were destroyed in the basement of Police HQ in the last days of the “Joh” government.

    They were destroyed at the direction of the Police Commissioner and the Chair of the (then) CJC.

    No files were formally lodged with State Archives.

    Having said that, during my research I did find some which were accidentally filed there. Co-incidentally, thay all related to the Springbok Tour; and were in fact copies of Special Branch files placed on files from the Commissioner’s Office; and then filed. Pure accident that I discovered them. They have since been formally “discovered” by several journos during their annual (pre 30 year release) inspection of archive material.

    It’s no big secret. They mentioned them in the Courier-Mail. I have copies of all their articles plus copies of all the Special Branch files they found. I had to pay to get them copied at Archives; the same as any other researcher.

    Noone can tell you how many Special Branch files were ever generated as they were never numbered. I have a well researched “guesstimate” which is as good as anyone will ever get.

    There is no doubt about the shredding of the files. AS#O conducted a major investigation into allegations that they received some; and that investigation report is available to you or anyone else.

    In my work I look back at the history of the origins of Special Branch in Great Britain.

    When AS#O was established in 1949, that organisation encouraged all Australian Police Forces to re-name their respective security intelligence agencies “Special Branches”. A Special Branch officer came out from England to assist with that.

    The Branch is Queensland was formerly “Special Bureau”, but that was changed to “Special Branch” in 1950. Every state had a “Special Branch” at that time.

    The Queensland Police Special Bureau was established during the great rail strikes of 1948.

    It was established by Labor Party Premier Hanlon and its first charter was to conduct surveillance on rail unionists.

    I expect to do more work with Professor Finnane in 2009; and there could well be some announcements re Special Branch matters.

    2009 marks 20 years since the handing down of the Fitzgerald report and 20 years since the Special Branch was disbanded on the first day of office of the Goss Government.

    I have all disbandemnt documentation. The Queensland Police Department decided themselves to disband the Branch; it’s very well recorded.

    I am preparing a brief account of the Special Branch for publication in the Queensland Police Journal. That will be across two editions, early in 2009.

    I am not sure what sort of working relationship I might have with Professor Finnane or Griffith University, so please just understand that I cannot disclose my whole account just yet.

    However, as I have previously stated, I am happy to meet with you any time for a coffee.

    After looking back over the information I have already provided to you today, I suggest you probably owe me a coffee.

    Barry Krosch
    Kingaroy

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  2. 'We are all mates now' ...

    There are some bizaare aspects to running a public website.

    One is that occasionally old enemies just pop up on the comments pages of the website.

    This always sends a tingle down my spine.

    You expect the right wingers, the racist haters, the Joh men (and women) and the just plain crazy to track down public utterances you make and those of your comrades from time to time.

    As the former special branch officer, Barry Krosch, points out above it is all so easy with Google.

    In the world of ideas and information everyone seems to have rights to share, it all seems so cosy. How does Rupert Murdoch put it in the ABC’s Boyer Lectures?

    The Golden Age of Freedom
    For those of us who have tried and failed to build workers political organisation in Queensland, all this warm sharing ‘democracy’ seems a little too … what is the word … liberal (?)

    When a former Qld special branch officer offers to share a coffee with you, it is more than that, it is truly weird.

    Especially in an era when the old slanders from the Right seem to have returned, or just never went away. We have just been through 12 long Howard years where he rewrote the industrial record in order to prepare the way for bosses to hurt workers during the current global economic crisis. But hasn’t it been like this for the past 30 years? With the economic rationalists in political parties, unions and community groups always on top.

    Meanwhile the State continues to put political prisoners away. People like Lex Wotton. Serving 6 years jail for standing up for his community while Inspector Hurley runs free after killing Mulrunji.

    Not so long ago political and industrial police put away militant unionist Craig Johnston for supporting members of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union [AMWU] who had been sacked and replaced by scabs in Skillied Engineering in Victoria.

    Spies at the Australian Building and Construction Commission [ABCC] have been trying to put away union organisers like Noel Washington (till yesterday) and Joe McDonald. [See http://www.greenleft.org.au/2008/776/40033%5D.

    And on the ‘war-on-terror’ front, the Australian Federal police have been attempting to nail Jack Thomas, Mamdouh Habib, Mohammed Haneef and Terry Hicks.

    In contrast to this, I can’t get out of my head the equally bizarre statements made by ex-communists like Mark Aarons, when talking about the ASIO files held on his family and his comrades for more than a generation:

    "It (ASIO) is certainly a marvellous
    way of recording the details of one’s life that 
    would otherwise have been forgotten." 

    [See http://www.abc.net.au/dynasties/txt/s1504560.htm%5D

    Perhaps I am missing something, but I do not get it.

    Who set up the Queensland Special Branch and why?
    Barry Krosch:

    The Queensland Police Special Bureau 
    (later name Special Branch) was established 
    during the great rail strikes of 1948. 
    It was established by Labor Party Premier 
    Hanlon and its first charter was to conduct 
    surveillance on rail unionists.

    You would think this was a question and answer session at a Trades and Labour Council trivia night.

    Well it actually was asked at a TLC trivia night in South Brisbane a couple of years ago, all the young Labor people present thought it was either the Country Party’s Frank Nicklin or the National’s Joh Bjelke-Petersen who set up the Special Branch.

    Krosch may have the right answer to who set it up. Or was it someone above Hanlon in the Federal sphere, like Ben Chifley perhaps? What was the real reason? I will leave it to the historians to work out which version of history is right, if either.

    The Lives of Others
    And now people who spent their time tracking our often poor attempts at building organisation, reporting these attempts to their superiors who, in turn, ordered our arrest either at demonstrations or in our houses. You know the people who put us in jail, these people who now offer to share a coffee with us. Is it because they think what we stood for is all academic? Just a clash of ideas? Or is it a strange idea of a shared history? Or are they after redemption? In some perverse way, thinking a comradely handshake of former enemies will make reconciliation possible, as if we were not committed forever on an opposite course all those years ago in the street marches.

    A National Party politician best put this strange notion from across the class divide to a group of workers in regional Queensland.

    He was speaking after economic rationalists in the Labor Party government had amalgamated shire councils, thus shedding jobs in regional centres across Qld, all in the name of economic efficiency:

     "We are all mates now".

    Ian Curr
    November 2008

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  3. Ian
    I found this exchange between you and Barry Krosch quite interesting. As is your analysis and commentary also.
    The question of reflecting on the past is always a very interesting one, as we call up memories which are slightly different each time we call them up. Not to say that we necessarily fool ourselves into thinking that something occurred which didn’t actually occur. But what’s different each time is that our UNDERSTANDING of the recalled events has developed since our last recall. And, along with our understanding, our compassion and our willingness to forgive. I was once firmly convinced that I could never forgive political enemies, but now I have a different attitude. I will never of course be able to reconstruct Bjelke-Petersen into anything but the lying, thieving, undemocratic corrupt old mongrel that he was, but now that he is well and truly dead and I have had a chance to further develop my own attitudes to human life, he has become but a minor dead-end sidetrack on the evolutionary scale of human history. I was always disappointed (and remain so) that our society was not able to bring him to justice in his lifetime, and I remain constantly amazed that there are still people in Queensland who actually think he was not corrupt. But the fallback position one always has to be content with is that people have different attitudes and beliefs and there’s nothing one can do about that, except to be true to oneself. And my attitude in this regard has been influenced by the example of Fred Paterson (Communist MLA 1944-50) for whom I have the utmost respect and admiration, who, it is said, urged us even to forgive scabs. Even my old dad wouldn’t forgive scabs. But then Jim Healy also showed a great deal of understanding in this matter when he (for the very good purpose of building a better union) “forgave” the scabs in the alternative bosses’ union and skilfully got them amalgamated into the one union (Waterside Workers’ Federation) which then was able to do much to contribute to the industrial and political landscape.
    I was there on the night of the Tower Mill police riot and even though I can now accept that there were many coppers who were simply “doing their job” and probably were Labor-voters anyway, there were many of them that simply found it quite a lark. There was a sort of class conflict clash – we were after all the “privileged” ones having a wonderful life at university drinking coffee and sitting around talking about the meaning of life, while they were out there in the working class doing the nitty gritty job of keeping a corrupt government in power!
    I remember seeing cops chasing students down the steep hill of Albert Park in the darkness and kicking them, yes, actually kicking them when they had fallen over (you yourself may well have been one of the victims!). And yes, I remember the students who were pushed over the cliff edge onto the Albert Street footpath ten or twelve feet below as the chase ended. I saw some of the injuries they sustained. And yes, I still retain the anger and resentment from that occasion. But I would not let this stop me now, some decades later, from having a coffee with one of the enemy, should they suggest it. I would take the opportunity to discuss the matter and ask them about what they were thinking at the time. Because if they’ve got this far and still think they were doing something good or noble at the time, then I would want to know how this state of mind operates.
    Best wishes,
    Errol O’Neill

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  4. Ian

    Mate

    (Krosch mumbles to himself ” No that’s stretching the bow too far, Ian is an acquaintance”)

    (Curr mumbles to himself “Even that’s stretching it a bit. I think I saw him in King George Square a few times – about 30 years ago”)

    As you are aware, I have been researching Special Branch for many years, and I don’t respond on the internet unless I am sure I am 100% correct.

    I have full details on the establishment of Special Branch in 1948. I have the directives from the Premier to the Commissioner to the OIC of the Branch/Bureau. This era in Queensland history is very well documented, several historians have looked at the Hanlon years and the great rail strikes.

    Joh most certainly had nothing to do with the establishment of Special Branch; it existed long before he arrived on the scene.

    That’s an historical fact.

    The federal government, did have an interest in security intelligence as well of course. As I also mentioned AS#0 was established around the same time, and for many years there were national conferences of AS#O and state Special Branches.

    I have all the conference Minutes for the first 30 or 40 years. As you know, Australian Special Branches began to be disbanded during the 80’s anyhow.

    All that aside, all Australian states had operated police security intelligence agencies for many years before WW2. In Queensland, most of the Queensland police officers from that Branch were seconded to Military Intelligence during the war.

    I don’t mind sharing my basic research material with you, or anyone else. I am very surprised (with respect) at how little (historically) you really do know.

    For example, the facts surrounding the arrest of Peter Beattie are well documented and widely available. You could drive out to State Archives and get the lot this afternoon. The Courier-Mail would give you material and I could give you the material.

    So it’s up to you. If I can help you with any questions re Special Branch or if you need documentary evidence ti support anything, just let me know.

    The offer of coffee still stands, and will always stand.

    I am not about to go top myself off if you refuse; it’s your call.

    We can visit the local RSL, where I have been a members since I returned from Vietnam. (That’s another issue; we probably should not go down that path?).

    We can “do” coffee in any of the other venues in Kingaroy.

    Or we can visit “Bethany” and have coffee and scones served by Florence and son John?

    I can see the pic on your web site now. Messrs Curr and Krosch being served scones by Florence on the verandah at Bethany………..overlooking Kingaroy and the peanut silos.

    (That’s a joke, crack a smile……………….)

    However, if you want to do that…………………….

    OR

    The next time I am in Brisbane.

    Regards

    Barry Krosch
    Kingaroy

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  5. I’ll do coffee Barry!

    If Pacino and DeNiro can do coffee in “Heat” why not?

    There’s a former FBI guy (he’s interviewed in “USA V John Lennon”) he was only a couple of years of his retirement payout and was told to infiltrate / surveil a Catholic church group in the 80’s concerned about Reagan’s war on Central America. He refused, was sacked, blew his pension and joined the Catholic Worker. I met him on the steps of Congress during a fast by Vietnam Veterans against U.S. policy and had a very interesting chat.

    Back in the day when Phil and Dan Berrigan was underground and was one of the “FBI’s 10 Most Wanted” their mother was dying (in Syracuse from memory?)…the good nuns at this Catholic hospital gave the Feds the room opposite to the dying Mrs Frieda Berrigan hoping her sons would surface for a visit. He felt pretty guilty about doing that gig.

    We all come from somewhere and Phil had come from a lot of combat in WW2 where he had killed a lot of people, he was still looking for redemption, I’m still looking for redemption, we are all in need of redemption. Maybe Barry’s not looking for it but it would be an interesting dialogue to move beyond stereotypes of each other from those times. Hopefully Barry has been back to Vietnam for a visit by now?

    And another thing, the violence unleashed by the Victorian Labor Party on nonviolent blockaders at Melbourne 2000 S11 Crown casino was far worse and more considered than anything I experienced in Queensland in the ’70’s. Ask my brother, ask my lawyer for confirmation.

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  6. Hello all,

    I am grateful for your comments.

    It may be worth while tracing back as to why the above discussion came about.

    I say this because the comments above while interesting miss the original point of the story. I apologise as this may have been partly my fault because in my reply I correctly challenged the claim that Peter Beattie was arrested in the strret marches of the 1970s but incorrectly challenged the claim that Beattie was arrested at the anti-racism demonstration during the Springbok tour in 1971 (yes, that far back).

    My piece titled ‘Political Leadership’ (or lack of it) was not about Qld Special Branch but a response to a short article by Humphrey McQueen titled ‘The Very Right-wing Rev. Rudd‘.

    The special branch issue arose as a side issue from the following remark by Humphrey McQueen:

    What has Rudd ever done to show that faith without works is dead?

    Did he ever join a non-violent protest?

    Has he put himself in the way of getting arrested in support of a just cause?

    Even Peter Beattie got nicked during one of the Brisbane Street Marches.

    Rudd belongs to the would-to-God Brigade:
    “Would-to-God that I had been born in Germany in 1900, for then I too could have been a martyr.”

    I made a minor reference to Beattie’s arrest and the special branch which excited ex-Qld Special Branch officer, Barry Krosch, who has a Google Alert system for his name and special branch for research reasons.

    And hence the subsequent discussion.

    So the original point was about Rudd’s Christianity and about his politics.

    It is a strange a perverse world we live in.

    A place where conflict of the ancient world is still played out.

    The West went to war against Islam.

    As a result the insane killing yesterday where young Mujahideen shot people randomly in Mumbai Central railway station and nearby hotels.

    Why doesn’t the West call off this crazy war?

    Will Obama call it off?

    Will the British government? Will the Very Right-wing Rev. Rudd?

    Where is the political leadership?

    Peace can only come from ordinary people, workers, who refuse to fight and refuse to build the war machines.

    Like

  7. Ian
    There’s nothing wrong with one thing leading to another. A discussion may have started with a reference to Beattie and the Springbok tour in the larger context of a critique of Rudd. But it’s not surprising that we are led thereby to examine the Qld Special Branch in more detail. Joining the dots is what intelligent discussion is all about. And the reason is that the apparent randomness and chaos all around us is actually driven by certain principles of action and belief.

    Indeed, the CLASH of these principles.

    The more we examine apparently unconnected events, the more we discover the same principles motivating different people in different time periods. We can’t just lose interest in one concern (the desire to analyse and explain the horrors of the corrupt Bjelke-Petersen government and the role played by Barry Krosch and his colleagues in supporting that obscenity) and shift all our attention to another concern (the current conflict between east and west).

    I think that to understand the Special Branch experience in Queensland 30 years ago will actually help me (and probably countless others who’ve come out of the same experience) to understand the more pressing contemporary problem of east vs west. I for one am surprised that someone who actually worked for the Special Branch has popped his head up after all these years and seems prepared to talk about that gross injustice as though it was just some ordinary bit of police work, like investigating a break and enter, or directing traffic.

    I note that Barry is at pains to remind us that it was Hanlon who invented the Special Branch and not BjelkeCorruptPetersen.

    Well, yes, this has been general knowledge for a long time. Similarly, it was Hanlon who invented the gerrymander and not BjelkeCorruptPetersen. Who started some injustice is not the point.

    The point is: who continued the injustice? Who knowingly supplied the effort to keep unjust systems operating? How did they rationalise this work to fit with their concepts of duty, liberty, etc?

    I have many questions to pose to Barry and hope to do so shortly.

    Best wishes,
    Errol O’Neill

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  8. Hello Errol,

    To take up one of ‘the dots’ you mentioned … I will try not to ‘ shift all our attention to another concern’.

    Scabs
    You said your dad would not forgive scabs.

    Our fathers and mothers lived through the period of some of ‘the big strikes’ that former ALP leader and legend, Dennis Murphy, described in his book of the same name.

    Strikes that prompted ALP Premiers like Hanlon and Chifley to use force against workers and their unions — force in the form of Special Branch thugs (Hanlon during the 1948 Railway Strike) and the army (Chifley in the 1948 Miners Strike). Fred Paterson was struck down by one of Hanlon’s thugs.

    This repression of workers and their organisations required a secret police force to entrap and provoke ordinary workers, unionists. The Special Branch used ‘guilt by association’ to weaken worker organisation.

    Working class organisation does not come from people who live in a world of ideas, academics like Dennis Murphy, despite the fact that Murphy (1936-1984) lived during an era when ‘the clash’ (as you put it) was strong.

    Working class organisation was stronger then.

    But it lost its strength from that time on, 30 years ago. Ironically Dennis Murphy chose to describe the very strikes that his party, the ALP, had done so much to sell-out.

    One sell-out Dennis Murphy did not live long enough to describe was the SEQEB dispute.

    Still, it is not surprising workers from the 1950s or 60s would refuse to forgive ‘scabs’ in later life.

    The Big Strikes
    Their attitude comes from a set of experiences in the workplace, in the union. As you have documented yourself in your plays “On the Whipping Side” and “Faces in the Street” this was not the first time in Australian history, it happened in the 1890s, and again in the 1912 and later in the 1920s when working class organisation was stronger than it is now, ironically at the time of the Great Depression (1929).

    The coming of global economic crisis to Australia is the first time the working class has faced such a crisis with such poor organisation in the past 100 years (13% union membership in the private sector). Even at the outset of the 1912 Brisbane Tramway Strike, described in your playFaces in the Street, union participation rate was about 20% across the workforce in Australia. By the Stock market crash of 1929 it had risen to over 50% participation rate.

    Workers Political Organisation
    During the past 30 years the economic rationalists (or whatever you wish to call them) have been everywhere, in the unions, in the Labor party, in management, in the workplace — everywhere.

    Perhaps this explains, in part, an attitude to forgive scabs?

    An alternative to acceptance is described in the LeftPress publication “After the Waterfront – the workers are quiet” This book talks about the need to set up workers political organisations [WPOs], not unlike the WPOs set up in the late 1890s and early 1900s, he says with more than a little optimism.

    in solidarity
    Ian Curr

    PS It is naive to think that Barry Krosch and people like him just ‘pop up’ out of the blue. They are there all the time, often in working class organisations, and it is not redemption they seek.

    Ciaron, your hope of the copper that turns in the hope of redemption comes rarely. And what does it achieve? Remember Michael Egan.

    References: Faces in the street : a story of the 1912 Brisbane general strike – a play / by Errol O’Neill

    Popular front : a play / by Errol O’Neill ; foreword by Patsy McCarthy

    The Big Strikes : Queensland 1889 – 1965 by Dennis Murphy, St Lucia 1983.

    Like

  9. Ian
    Thanks for your comments. And I realise that this side track into the Qld Special Branch came up as a one-off in the discussion of something probably more relevant to the current situation which we and the world are in. I am not uninterested in the inspection of Rudd by such luminaries as Humphrey McQueen, nor am I uninterested in the pressing problems of the so called war on terror and the hypocrisy of the Americans (and therefore of the Australians) in the matter. I read all the stuff I see, but, unless I can contribute something new to the discussion, I don’t offer anything. But, if you will indulge me a little, I would like to have one more stab at the Special Branch issue, believing it to be fortuitous that such a thing as your website can bring together many related issues in a very immediate way. Now, to get a discussion of the Special Branch going at a public meeting these days would be just not a conceivable thing. But here, where the would-be participants in such a discussion can easily communicate, it strikes me as silly not to take it a little further distance, for the sake of those (however many of us there are) who might find it beneficial, or at least stimulating.

    I know the Special Branch is something that most of us are well and truly over, as they say. But the interesting aspect here that makes it not just a regurgitation of the past struggles among those affected is that there is a former Special Branch officer who seems, apparently, to express no shame or guilt about taking part in the gross injustice which the actions of the Branch represented during the period of BjelkeCorruptPetersen’s government. Barry Krosch seems quite happy to identify himself and his locality – the very symbolic locality of Kingaroy. And I find this quite fascinating. As I said previously, I have a number of questions to pose to Barry.

    There were an enormous number of Special Branch files and the men chosen (I can’t imagine there would have been any women police officers engaged in this task, but perhaps Barry could enlighten us) to compile them were pretty intelligent and ambitious policemen. How, I wonder, did they reconcile their intelligence and their respect for law with what they were actually being asked to do?

    I got a job in the government sector in the early seventies and was summarily dismissed after a fortnight when the “security checks” were completed – and there was no other reason for dismissal except my Special Branch file. Not a criminal record, mind you, just a Special Branch file. I know that there were many others who were similarly blacklisted.

    I wonder, Barry, what you and some of the others might have done when you learned of the nefarious activities that Special Branch or other police carried out – abducting and frightening students in the backs of police cars late at night, pointing guns at their heads and other such “security” measures. When you learned about these events, did you laugh along with the others or did you report this (who to? – yes, that would have been a problem at the time) as something cops shouldn’t have been doing? Did it worry you? Did you pretend not to notice? Take us into your confidence, Barry, tell us what exactly you did do when you realised one of your colleagues had gone too far.

    I wonder if Barry could tell us what he and his colleagues did with their consciences as they sat in their Falcons in their suits and hats and photographed us walking in and out of buildings. Did they have a special place to put their consciences when they arrived at work so the damned pesky things wouldn’t have to accompany them on the job and cause unnecessary delays, clogging up their smooth operations with moral quandaries?

    Or perhaps there was a Special Branch chaplain who went around and visited the men regularly much as a padre might do in the trenches – imagine the scene:

    CHAPLAIN: Morning, Barry, Les, Don, Leo… others. Now I know some of you have expressed qualms about the moral aspects of these files you’re fattening, but I’m here to tell you not to be concerned. I’ve just checked with the Leader and don’t you worry about that. Whatever it takes, he says. And remember, there’s only one way to secure preferment…

    LES: But Padre, is it true that our subjects will never be able to get a job in the public service on account of these files, even though they’ve done no criminal activity?

    CHAPLAIN: Les, don’t worry. It’s not you who’s making sure they never get a government job. Anyway, you wouldn’t want people like these unwashed animals working in the same public service as you, would you? There’s a higher authority who has all the moral concerns under control. He’s prepared to take full responsibility.

    DON: Phew, thanks, Padre, that’s a load off my mind.

    BARRY: Me too. I don’t fancy being in the firing line when all this is revealed…

    LEO: What do you mean “revealed”? This stuff will never be revealed.

    BARRY: No, I mean, what if somebody starts asking uncomfortable questions on a website or something, long after we shred the files just hours before the imminent arrival of the Goss government (assuming they will have more than a passing interest in such files)?
    (the Chaplain and the Special Branch men all look at Barry)

    LES: What’s a website, Barry?

    CHAPLAIN: Barry, have you been time-travelling again?

    BARRY: Well, I just wanted to check if we’d be okay on this…

    CHAPLAIN: Lack of faith, Barry. I told you before, just do your work and you’ll never have anything to fear. It’s God’s work, after all.

    LES: Yes, you’ve explained that, Padre. These people are commos, ratbags, subversives. They think it’s all right to read books, discuss philosophy, and imagine a better world. I mean, that’s pretty depraved, isn’t it?

    DON: They don’t deserve civil liberties.

    LEO: Too good for ‘em. They shouldn’t even have been taught to read in the first place.

    CHAPLAIN: You see, Barry, it’s not worrying your comrades, why should it worry you?

    LES: Er, Padre…

    CHAPLAIN: What, Les? Oh, you’re concerned about my use of the word “comrade”. Yes, I know, it’s a bit risqué, isn’t it? After all, it’s the word they use among themselves. I guess I picked it up when I was doing that undercover work on campus a couple of years ago. Now, Barry, hand over the keys to the time machine.

    BARRY: Ok, Padre, here they are. I’m sorry. I won’t doubt in the future. And even if it all goes bad, which it won’t, I know I can make a career out of research.

    CHAPLAIN: Now, men, don’t let the innocent faces of the enemy trick you. Behind those fresh young smiles and idealistic dispositions there is an evil reality. Just imagine what Queensland would be like if we ever let any of them emerge out of this era with credibility. Now I want you to take out your combined National Party DLP hymn books and sing with me…

    Yes, Barry, while I probably will never have a coffee with you, I think you owe some of us a bit more of an explanation, even though you are probably taking umbrage at this reckless and possibly “undergraduate” lampooning from someone with little respect for the work of one small section of Bjelke’s army during the war.

    Thanks, Ian, for your indulgence.
    And thanks, Barry for what I’m sure will be a totally honest, warts-and-all explanation of your work and the work of your colleagues in that distant golden era, in the very near future.

    Errol O’Neill

    Like

  10. Ciaron O'Reilly

    What I find ironic is that Goss attended “Taking it to the Streets” exhibition opening when his government (Rudd as right hand man) sent all my previous civil liberties convictions (illegal procession, handing out leaflets, illegal assembly, placards larger than 24 inches by 24 inches) to the F.B.I. to get me more prison time in the U.S.

    When McEnroth was questioned about this he replied “Justice has to be done!” The U.S. prosecution tried to introduce them in trial to the jury as proof of my “habitual criminality”. The defence called for an offer of proof, the jury was removed and the judge was taken through every conviction and description of arrest from Oct. ’77.

    For some reason once he gave up the ghost after the description of me arrested dressed as an angel in a pink gown with radiant wings at a nativity blockade of a nuclear warship visiting Brisbane one Christmas time. The judge ruled that such activities would not be classified as crimes under the U.S. constitution guaranteeing free expression.

    While awaiting trial in Ireland, the Queensland Labor government moved against my registeration as a school teacher based on my “bad character” based on my civil liberties convictions of the ’70’s. Thanks to the solidarity of lawyer Phil Hall, Drew Hutton, Noel Preston, Jim Dowling, my brother Sean and folks from around the world who wrote character references we had a successful hearing in my absence and I remain registered. Hopefully they won’y go after the next guy or gal with similar convistions from the ’70’s. Convictions I’m sure the Labor Party promised to erase once they came to government.

    http://www.peaceontrial.com

    Like

  11. Lorelle Saunders was in special branch.

    Tell us that story Barry

    http://unlearningtheproblem.wordpress.com/

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  12. Hello all,

    Now that you are all here together, so to speak.

    We have had the introductions. I’ll go through them once again, so that new readers know who have come together in this dialogue [apologies for the caricatures, people].

    There’s Barry Krosch, former special branch detective with his 100% correct history of the special branch, the ultimate insider.

    And there’s actor, playwright and one time street marcher, Errol O’Neill.

    There’s Ciaron O’Reilly, international peace activist, from the swords into ploughshares movement.

    A recent arrival, there’s John Tracey, another who once gathered together in his name, a long time campaigner for free expression, the ultimate doubting Thomas.

    I tell you what, let’s go the full monty, since you all seem pretty keen to share coffee with former special branch officer, Barry Krosch, and to chat about the old days, the street marches, the Joh years, the Vietnam war, East Timor, the whole history of repression, sorry I forgot, John, Lorelle Saunders and her ‘plot’ to kill Chief Superintendent Allan Lobegeiger.

    I have a suggestion. No, an offer none of you can refuse.

    There are priests down in South Brisbane, Peter Kennedy and Terry Fitzpatrick; they run a pretty open parish called St Mary’s. You know a good place where women can give sermons, gays can sing in the choir, Murris conduct smoking ceremonies, even a treaty signed over aboriginal land with Bejam of the Noonuccal clan. The parish has even written a letter warning

    the church should not forget its history: it had excommunicated Galileo, barred Mary Mackillop and “stood idly by while children were abused”.

    Why don’t I ask the good padres if you can all meet at St Mary’s — a true ecumenical coming together of old friends and enemies.

    Fr Kennedy might have to clear it with the Archbishop Bathersby though, what with Murdoch rag [THE AUSTRALIAN] reports that the good bishop is keen to excommunicate the priests and all their parishioners [see https://bushtelegraph.wordpress.com/files/2008/11/parish-at-risk-of-excommunication-_-the-australian.pdf ].

    But perhaps with Barry’s inside knowledge, he could even plant a few well placed informants in the bishop’s office, just to test the waters. You know, to find out in advance what the archbishop’s intentions really are and whether you would be defying a Vatican ultimatum.

    However it is a good thing that the old chief of Special Branch, Les Hogan, did not live to see this day.

    I mean, he would not have approved. Les was such a strict catholic, I do not think he would have liked interlopers in his church.

    Now wouldn’t that be a hoot, you all coming together down there at St Mary’s, South Brisbane, perhaps for just one visit, for old times sake.

    You might even discover the answer to the big question; just how infallible is the pope, really?

    Though don’t expect me to come.

    Ian Curr
    I December 2008

    PS Thanks to my anonymous ‘sub-editor’ [you know who you are] for your St Mary’s idea.

    Like

  13. I gave a speech prior to Operation Talsiman Sabre 05, two plainclothes Commonwealth cops came into that church uninvited and did a sweep/reccie. When confronted they left.

    I think the word you looking for Ian was impregnable of the tradition of sanctuary of the church – an interesting tradition we explored at St. Mary’s with the sanctuary movement we launched there in Nov 05.

    In a nice change from all our glorious defeats that movement was actually successful

    http://www.dorothyday.com

    Like

  14. Hello Ciaron,

    You are online as well. Now there’s an interesting (if fanciful) idea — cops not allowed into church because it is a place of sanctuary. Les Hogan would never have accepted that. Would he, Barry?

    Ciaron, you may wish to re-read my comment above at https://bushtelegraph.wordpress.com/2008/11/25/political-leadership/#comment-5696

    in solidarity
    Ian

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  15. Ian
    I think you should read the sanctuary section in my book “Remembering Forgetting” about East Timor. I think the section is alos quoted in full in Dave Andrew’s “Christianarchy”.

    The Practise of Sanctuary was formalised/legalised at different points in history and also practised illegally in resistance to the U.S. wars in Central America and in this case in ’85 with East Timorese threatened with deportation from Australia to Portugal by Gareth Evans et.al.

    I’m more disappointed with the Labor Party of the ’70’s there promises at the time, their exploitation of our movement and their later shopping me to the FBI and Irish prosecution on right to march convictions.

    What do we want?
    Reasonable reform!
    Whe do we want it?
    In due course!

    Whether St. Mary’s is Catholic or Post-Catholic has little to do with any of this….and is a completely seprate issue.

    From memory, Les Hogan was head of the “Holy Name Society” of which our family seemed to have been drafted into but in which I distinctly remember my father maintaining a distinct silence when reciting that part of the monthly Holy Name Society pledge “to all lawful and civil authority”. My brother and I were happy to dovetail into that one.

    I’m happy to have coffee with anyone, to increase my understanding of their position and their’s of mine. I’m not interested in a formal spectacle….as it would I imagine limit the free flow of conversation.

    A more significant interface will be with the head cop doing the Operation Talisman Sabre security operations who I went to school with in the ’70’s. I had a friendly enough chat with him last time around. Last week I had coffee with the head Catholic chaplain in the British Army that was educational.

    All the best form Ireland
    Ciaron

    http://www.peaceontrial.com

    Like

  16. Hello Ciaron,

    Sorry to bring in the red herring of post catholicism at St Mary’s.

    But you were talking serious rapprochement there with Barry.

    I can’t seem to please anyone. Even the mild mannered Errol didn’t like my raising the war on (of?) terror.

    Your mob was right not to allow cops in your church. But why have coffee with the Qld Special Branch? I know Barry has always been the the intellectual giant of that august body, especially now with a PhD on offer for his 100% historical insights.

    Sanctuary

    I browsed your chapter on Sanctuary in “Remembering Forgetting“. To think that LeftPress printed that in 2000, it seems so long ago in a post 9/11 world.

    Christian sanctuary did not help the people of Timor Leste during the Dili massacres of 1999 — you would have to agree that Timorese people who fled to the mountains were safer from the TNI militia than those that went into the church.

    Another example. Sanctuary has not helped Christians in Iraq since the coalition occupation in 2004, they have suffered greatly as a direct result of US foreign policy.

    But then, imperialism has no belief, only profit matters to the capitalists. Also imperialism seeks to destroy the culture, the historical monuments of the previous clerical era, the social fabric of the past — it is such a radical movement, those bloody imperialists. While sipping your lattes, ask Barry, he went to Vietnam to fight on their side. Also a word of caution about Barry, he was always pretty sneaky. When he was studying at UQ he did not tell anyone he was Special Branch until he was exposed. Just ask John Tracey. And Barry Krosch was not the only one, what about Gary Hannigan, wearing those anti-uranium badges while he pushed students down King George Square steps into the waiting arms of John Watt and the Task Force crew … don’t get me started.

    How ironic that the rich cradle of christian history in Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Palestine and Lebanon is being obliterated by the crusaders themselves.

    And while we are recommending further reading to each other, I suggest you get a DVD copy of “The Night of Shooting Stars” by the Taviani brothers; now that film puts the dangers of church sanctuary in perspective.

    Ian

    Like

  17. I reckon Bush Telegraph is an adequate forum to chat about the good old days.

    Although, I could see great benefit in taking a delegation of the returned marchers league to meet with Barry, Flo and John at Kingaroy. The scones would just make it perfect.

    We could take a film crew, and make a movie. Sell the movie and give the profits to St. Mary’s homeless progams. (Go on Barry, it would be great publicity for your book)

    But apart from that, I don’t think Barry would have too much of interest to add to any meaningfull discussion of politics, we don’t need him.

    But I do think the rest of us might benefit in a discussion on political leadership, perhaps facilitated by the heretics of the South Brisbane Temple if Ian has an inside connection. But I reckon Ian would have to be there too.

    I’m not interested in talking about Joh and stuff. The past and the future are illusions of the present.

    I think we need to talk about political leadership today, not our various analysis of what Beattie and Goss and Rudd did, but to explore where the political leadership today is that is outside of the spheres of Beatie and Goss and Rudd and the parliament and the archbishop. Or where and how this leadership might manifest if it is not allready doing so.

    We must also ask ourselves honestly, are we that leadership? Does our eldership, our experience forged from the Joh years, obligate us to articulate a new vision beyond the toxicity of Beattie, Goss, Rudd and Bligh? Or does it just give us a licence for self righteous commentary and engage in our own fringe activities?

    Ian seems to have some hope of a union revival, but the mechanism for this is still missing. There are a lot of people looking for this missing mechanism.

    St. Mary’s and many other Christian groups have a hope for the emergence of an authentic Australian spirituality, and have made the first steps to connecting to Aboriginal spirituality. The question is, now all the apologies and acknowledgements are out of the way, what now?

    The post-trotskyist sects have not changed their modus operandi for 30 years, stalled campaign after stalled campaign after stalled campaign. While the Christian church has recognised the need to change the way it “does church” simply to survive, the post-trot socialists still defensively cling to their orthodoxies, the most damaging of which is the demonisation of nationalism which extinguishes the possibility of a real movement based on the specific experience of Australians.

    The feminist movement that used to call for the end of the patriarchy now finds itself in senior management of the patriarchal structure, or in providing the same approaches to domestic violence that thirty years ago was revolutionary and groundbreaking but today has been incorporated as a band-aid program into the structures of church and state.

    So, I bet we all can give our various retrospective anlayses of what went wrong or what might have been, but this is irrelevant.

    What can be done now? where is the leadership today?

    Why bother, everything is fucked anyway?

    St. Mary’s would be a good place for such a discussion.

    http://unlearningtheproblem.wordpress.com/

    Like

  18. Mervyn Langford

    Dear Mr Curr.

    I realise this debate has long since blown over – and there are many issues obviously exercising your mind – but you have put a fair bit of effort into your research on the bona fides of Labour politicians in their claims for badges of honour in protest.

    If you were interested in an interview with Mr Barry Krosch, I’d be delighted to help facilitate it – especially if we could organise a trip to that former mythical homeland and bastion of Queensland rural socialism, Kingaroy.

    I have been in and out of Kingaroy since 1962 and always enjoy a trip back.

    If you were to sit and chat to Barry, would you ask him what he knows about a former British SAS officer who runs workshops, providing extra-curricular training for police and security guards.

    According to a friend, currently in the Qld Police Service, this ‘school’ is in the Kingaroy area.

    I believe he provides training in those extra special “skills” that – for obvious reasons – enthusiastic practitioners of the gentle arts of over-powering others – don’t get to fully learn and enjoy in their standard lessons on how to manage potentially offensive / disruptive / disturbed / violent or maybe just naughty people they may find themselves mixing with.

    What do you reckon?

    There’s plenty of history there: Coolabunia generated a huge number of “Concientious Objectors”, all calling themselves things like “Non-denominational Protestant” (wink, wink / nudge, nudge) during WWII (This taught me that CO’s could be something other than people opposed to war.)

    There’s the old Anderson’s Produce from where a young Anderson helped organise the taking of the Qld Labour Cabinet hostage back just before WWII, etc.

    And even some OK coffee and a pleasant chat, hopefully.

    Like

  19. I know this discussion is some years old now but I only discovered it by chance today. Very interesting to read as Les Hogan was my Dad. Some names I recognize so hello Errol. You lived in the same street as us at Coorparoo. Barry I don’t remember you at the Special Branch although I do remember many of the other names in this discussion. Perhaps you came to the Branch after Dad left. I will check amongst his archive. After all this time none is probably interested in biographical information about Dad but I believe some would find it surprising.
    Cheers
    Denise Hogan Juler

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