January 28th 2017

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COVER STORY Company tax proposal just made for Trump

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CANBERRA OBSERVED Greens' footprints all over travel claims

U.S. POLITICS Team Trump to implement new President's agenda

INTELLIGENCE Lame report on Russian interference in U.S. poll

ENVIRONMENT The scientific myth within the Murray-Darling Basin Plan

EUTHANASIA Case for assisted suicide "not made": Daniel Mulino

OPINION Submission is the fit word, Tim, not humility

OBITUARY WA loses NCC founding member, Frank Malone

GENDER POLITICS Safe Schools Coalition versus child safe schools

RURAL LIFE Sandalwood a balm for forgotten farmers

MUSIC Swing low and deep: it don't mean a thing if it don't have that

BOOK REVIEW The tyranny of the offended

BOOK REVIEW Not quite perfect but worth a revisit

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loses NCC founding member, Frank Malone

by Brian A Peachey

News Weekly, January 28, 2017

Francis Joseph Malone, a founding leader of the Nation Civic Council in Western Australia, died on December 14, 2016. His Requiem Mass, attended by a large number of family and friends, was celebrated by Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey, in the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary in Doubleview. Frank was 94.

In April 1956, Frank Malone was invited by B.A. “Bob” Santamaria and the national executive of the Movement to be the West Australian president and regional officer (RO).Frank Malone was an outstanding leader of the Catholic Social Studies Movement, (commonly known as the Movement) in Western Australia. The Movement was a very effective social apostolate of the laity, established and funded by the Australian Bishops in the 1940s to oppose communism.

Vale Frank Malone:
April 9, 1922 – December 14, 2016

The disastrous split in the Labor Party following the 1955 Federal Conference in Hobart resulted in the formation of the Anti-Communist Labour Party (ACLP), which later became the Democratic Labour Party (DLP).

At the national executive meeting of the Movement in Melbourne on March 22, 1956 – at which the writer was present – it was made clear that Cardinal Gilroy, Archbishop of Sydney, and his Auxiliary, Bishop James Carroll, strongly opposed the Movement’s support for the ACLP. For the first time in the history of the Movement, the Sydney Archdiocese and several NSW dioceses declared that they would not be bound by a policy decided by the national executive.

Santamaria was adamant that the Movement had a moral obligation to support the ACLP formed by courageous Labor Members of Parliament as a consequence of the Split. Almost all had lost their seats and careers.

The position of RO in WA fell vacant in 1956 when Duncan Beaton, who had held the position since the Movement was established in Perth in 1950, resigned for family reasons. Of all the Movement members in WA, it was considered that Frank Malone was the best equipped to lead the Movement there and deal diplomatically with the predicted consequences that would develop.

Frank Malone’s acceptance of the position also demonstrated his great generosity. At the time he was employed by the University of Western Australia, from where he had graduated with a degree in Economics. He would receive a reduced income and his wife Patricia had given birth to her first child, Peter, on April 7, 1956.

On July 18, 1956, following a meeting of the national executive, Frank Malone was one of 11 national officers who, in a letter to all the Bishops, resigned from the Movement because of the political constraints imposed. They established a new organisation to be known as the Catholic Social Movement, which would be subject to the Bishops on matter of faith and morals but not on industrial or political issues.

This placed an enormous burden on Frank and the WA executive. All branches, the hierarchy and clergy had to be informed of the developments, which required travel throughout the state and a reliance on God’s providence.

It is important to point out that the Movement was prayer oriented. Every meeting began with the prayer attributed to St Ignatius: "Lord, teach me to be generous, teach me to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to work and not to seek for rest, to labour and not to seek reward, save the knowledge that I do your will."

At a meeting of the hierarchy called by Cardinal Gilroy, which only 12 of the 25 Bishops of Australia attended, it was decided to send a delegation to Rome and seek a Vatican ruling on the role of the Movement. The delegation consisted of the Cardinal, Bishop Carroll and Archbishop O’Donnell of Brisbane. Space is not available to give the entire storey.

The saga resulted in the Vatican direction in August 1957 that the Movement had to confine itself to spiritual and moral formation.

This decision increased the workload on Frank, resulting in his establishment of the National Civic Council in Western Australia. The NCC was conceived by Bob Santamaria to continue the fight against communist control of trade unions and its influence on the Australian Labor Party. He was able to convince the parish groups and supporters that NCC was the correct and now the only way to continue the work of a social apostolate of the laity.

The first formal meeting of the WA NCC state executive, made up of the core of previous Movement members, was held on November 10, 1957. It was attended by Rev Fr T. McNamara, Fr R. Healy from Kalgoorlie and Fr O’Connor from Geraldton, and a large number of supporters from all over the state.

The following year was one of frenetic activity for Frank Malone and the NCC. The 1958 federal election was called for November 22, 1958. It would be the first federal contest for the DLP, and Frank played a pivotal role. That role included the mustering of thousands of workers to distribute literature and attend polling booths.

The DLP concentrated its campaign of the seats of Stirling Swan, Perth and Kalgoorlie. Stirling was held by Harry Webb, of the extreme left, whose use of his proxy vote on the ALP Federal Executive had been a cause of the Split. Kalgoorlie was held by Victor Johnson, whose career was destroyed by F.E. Chamberlain. The campaign required travelling to Kalgoorlie, Geraldton and all places north. The DLP vote was far higher than the commentators had predicted and Stirling, Swan and Kalgoorlie were won by the Menzies Government on DLP preferences.

The energy sapping WA state election quickly followed, on March 21, 1959. The Liberal Country Party Coalition, led by David Brand, won with a majority of two seats. Four Labor-held seats were won by the Government on DLP preferences, which gave the DLP bargaining power but left it with a financial debt and unable to pay staff wages.

The next federal election came on December 9, 1961, which further stressed the resources of the DLP. It was the closest federal election in Australian history, with the Coalition being reduced to a one-seat majority.

There was no respite for Frank Malone or the executives of the NCC and the DLP. With high hopes a delegation met with Edgar Lewis, Minister for Education in the Brand Government, to present the parlous problems facing Catholic schools. His response was to say that financial assistance to education was the role of the federal government.

It was, however, an opportunity diplomatically to highlight the role of the DLP in recent elections. The national NCC wanted to remind federal ministers that without the role of the DLP in 1961 the Menzies Government would have lost. Bob Santamaria later referred to Robert Menzies, “with his intellectual subtlety and developed pragmatism”, understood the need for DLP preferences.

On November 12, 1963, in his policy speech, Menzies broke the anti-state-aid mould by making capital grants to build science blocks in independent schools. It is from this that all other aid has been given to independent schools.

Others, meanwhile, had noticed Frank Malone’s administrative skills. Soon after the 1963 federal election, he was approached by the Chamber of Manufacturers and made a lucrative offer of employment. His peers agreed that he had served the Movement beyond the call of duty and he had developed leaders, such as Terry Daly, to take over smoothly where he left off. High on his priorities was his concern for his family, which had increased to four young children, the eldest only seven.

The rest of his life was devoted to his wife and family, the Church and Australia. Requiescat in pace.

Frank Malone is survived by Patricia, his wife of 62 years, children Peter, Felicity, James and Quentin, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Brian Peachey was state secretary of the DLP from 1957 to 1964.

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