'How do we live with ourselves? The Australian national conscience' by Alan Atkinson

by
September 2016, no. 384

'How do we live with ourselves? The Australian national conscience' by Alan Atkinson

by
September 2016, no. 384

'Never have sentinels between the human and the inhuman been more necessary.'

Michael Ignatieff, The Warrior's Honor[i]

When Australian federation was being planned and its implications first worked through, various men and women with agendas of their own set themselves to make something of it. For some, it was all about internal free trade. For some it was about the equal participation of women with men in affairs of state. For some it was about uniformity of race, language, and/or accent. For some it was about the military defence of the continent. For some it was about wage justice. And so on.

For one Fremantle-born clergyman the most pressing matter was the creation of a national conscience for his country. Charles Lefroy believed that this new edifice, this Australia, must be a temple reaching to heaven. Lefroy was exercised by two ideas. The nation had been built, and was being built, on the subjugation of the original inhabitants. Also, for such as Lefroy, if power lost touch with conscience, then Christianity, on which his world rested, had no point. There was at least a hint of unworldliness in Lefroy's efforts, but as a pioneer in the field he deserves some glory.

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Comments (3)

  • Posted by Rodney Crisp
    07 September 2016
  • Posted by Rodney Crisp
    05 September 2016
  • Posted by Rodney Crisp
    03 September 2016

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