Address to the National Civic Council Dinner, Melbourne

“The Future for Australia: where to from here?”

***Check against delivery***

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences some years ago undertook a comprehensive study of why the Western World was so dominant.

At first they were attracted to the apparently obvious – military strength. But their enquiring minds led them to scratch deeper than just the superficiality of defence prowess and capability.

They soon realised that to have an effective and sustainable military requires a functioning and dynamic economic base. In other words the two go hand in glove.

To their credit the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences dug even deeper to get an understanding of what may have brought about this military and economic capability and dominance.

In their final analysis they concluded that the dominance of the West was not based on its military and economic prowess. Those were just the products of something else – another factor was the reason.

The West's military and economic prowess were found to be just the fruits of something deeper and more far reaching – it was you've guessed it I trust – our religion. Of that they had “no doubt”.

So, as we consider Australia's future and that of the West we need to drill down deep as did the Chinese and ask some fundamental questions.

To try and direct your future - you need to know from where you’ve come and the direction in which you are headed and importantly want to head. You have to have as a minimum a grasp of a vision if not a full platform of where you would want society to be going. For that you need to know where it is today and why. Together with an appreciation of from whence it has come.

The Liberal National Party Coalition has been good in promoting the importance of defence and economic policies. These are usually and rightly seen as two of the strong suits of Liberal National Party policy platforms.

But as a Liberal National Party Coalition have we maintained let alone strengthened the foundations on which our good defence and economic policy credentials are built namely our worldview – the ethics, the virtues, the values on which our superiority in the areas of defence and economics are actually built. I'm not so sure that sufficient attention is being given to this area of public policy development.

In recent times the commentariat, in particular, have been anxious to not talk about ideology or consistency of worldviews let alone their impact on, and for, a cohesive society. It is as though policy can be developed in a moral/ethical vacuum.  In politics and public life there is no such thing as a vacuum. If you aren’t in the space advocating someone else will be.

The truism quote “all that is needed for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing" is absolutely true. There is no such thing as a vacuum. If too many good people are happy in their jobs and homes not actively engaged in society’s opportunities and forums (and dare I say it political parties) then our society will be reshaped by the “genderless”, “Safe Schools” anti- theist zealots. Their evangelical zealotry has in recent times made the church which is usually accused of such behaviour look extremely limp and lame.

But, back to the topic. If the Communist Chinese Academy of Social Sciences can determine that it is our religion that has made the West great why don’t we recognise the same fact and celebrate it and build on it. Yet it appears our society through Hollywood, the glitterati and commentariat are foolishly undermining the base, which has given us and them the manifold blessings today they and we enjoy today.

Any analysis, other than a 15 second TV grab or Tweet, will have you understand that everyone has “religion” or a “worldview”.

As a legislator I’m sometimes asked by the media whether I leave my religion at the doors of Parliament House before I enter them each day. Whilst this is not possible I always ask if they require this of agnostics, atheists or indeed Muslims but we won't go there today.

Of course the media don't ask or demand it of those parliamentarians because to recognise that which makes our society great doesn't fit the current superficial thinking.

Everyone has “religion” whether they recognise it or not – whether they like it or not.

If they genuinely claim not to have a religion or worldview I’ll show you the type of person that believes in nothing, and consequently falls for anything.

As a legislator in general terms one seeks to encourage good behaviour and discourage bad behaviour.

Sure there are some technical laws which have no moral dimension to them – like driving on the left-hand side of the road (for the record that is the only concession I’ll ever make to the left).

To encourage good behaviour and discourage bad behaviour one must have a concept of what is “good” and what is “bad”. Those concepts are as of necessity based on one’s sense of morality.

And in turn one’s sense of morality has to be built on one's religion or one's worldview.

The West's worldview on which it has based its morality and thus concepts of good and bad were based on the Bible or the virtues of the Judaeo-Christian view of the world.

The West and we in Australia have drawn down on the capital of our heritage in this regard.  And it is in desperate need of renewal and replenishment, if our foundation is not to crack and become irreversibly compromised which in turn will lead to the collapse of that which is built on it.

Our society clearly needs to seek military self-sufficiency and protection. Our society rightly seeks economic prosperity. Yet sadly the Nation is not reminded how these laudable and correct objectives are actually achieved. They are only achieved by having a highly functioning society based on virtues which are deeply and richly rooted in our Judaeo-Christian heritage. Authors as diverse as our own Australian living treasure Professor Geoffrey Blainey AO in his book “A Short History of Christianity” or the Indian writer Vishal Mangalwadi in “The Book that made your world” or American thinker Dr Alvin Schmidt in “How Christianity Changed the World” chronicle and document for anyone interested the profound civilising and beneficial impact Christianity has had on the world.

Professor Blainey's tome of only 600 pages (that's why it's called “A Short History…”) starts with the objectively verifiable observation “Of all the people of the world, living or dead, Jesus is the most influential” (Page 3).

Which begs the question why don't we honour and acknowledge Him at the beginning of some formal speeches as the only elder to straddle “past, present and future”?

Mangalwadi's book reminds us “… If there is no truth to be discovered – if all truth is merely a function of social constructs – then reason itself has no genuine authority, and in its place academic fashion and marketing determine what a culture believes” (page XV).

And isn't that a reflection of what is sadly happening to the West.

Schmidt’s contribution chronicles the profound impact of Christianity on labour and economics, the dignity of work, music, visual arts, the rule of law, education, charities – the list is exhaustive – all part of the reason the West is so dominant militarily and economically. Yet to remind people of these virtues and humanising and civilising aspects of our society is ridiculed by those who have stepped into the vacuum - the space vacated by those who should and do know better but lack motivation, confidence and courage.

And so tonight it is my privilege to salute you all, Patrick Byrne and the National Civic Council for your steadfast commitment to not only not creating a vacuum but to seek to retake ground already lost.

The time for standing firm instead of sidestepping is now. The time for advocacy instead of silence is now.

We owe nothing less to our future generations than to remind, educate and advocate the reasons for our society's greatness in all thankfulness to our forebears.

Instead of our children being indoctrinated about the “gender fairy”' in their story books they need to be taught critical thinking, the courage to stand up and expose like the young boy who was the first in the empire to state the obvious “the emperor has no clothes”.

We need men and women in commerce and sport with the courage of Margaret Court, Jim Wallace, Lyle Shelton and Patrick Byrne. Sadly, the general timidity in taking to task the undressed state of current emperors let alone the outright advocacy proclaiming the exquisite finery of the non-existent clothes of the emperors by our social commentariat is an issue we need to fearlessly confront.

The intimidation, the bullying, the denigration and the shouting down of those supporting what might be described as the traditional virtues of our society has only occurred or been allowed to occur because too many people don't want to rock the boat, to be seen as controversial, or the quiet life is too comfortable – all natural reactions but so infuriatingly (from my perspective) irresponsible. The fact that more people go to church on a weekend than the football doesn’t stop the commentariat at large from telling us the latter is indicative of being “in touch” with people's aspirations whereas the former is an indication of being “out of touch”. For the record I enjoy both. When I pointed out the attendance rates my statement was immediately sent to the ABC's Fact Check unit never to get a proper answer. I wonder why?

When the people were asked during the recent plebiscite whether people of the same sex ought be allowed to marry the consequential legislation’s explanatory memorandum talked of all the so-called genders thus implementing through deception the concept of gender fluidity into our Marriage Act. Only one Senator raised the issue and the appetite amongst others was well… somewhat lacking.

Yet the scientific facts – the objective facts – tell us that we are male and female. The hundreds of chromosomal differences between a man and a woman are there to be observed. They cannot be denied. Even vitamin supplements are formulated differently to take into account the physical differences between the sexes (just think of the new marketing opportunities that now exist for the vitamin and supplement manufacturers – dozens of potentially new products).

But more seriously if identifying is sufficient to change one's sex I suppose a person could therefore claim a different race.

Or look at the haemorrhaging federal budget that is yet somehow still able to pay to change toilet facilities into gender neutral toilets throughout the public service. The cost of refurbishment simply disregarded. The extra space needed, the extra resources and extra water all ignored in pursuit of an idiotic ideology – a fad. The financial and social consequences to be paid for by the next generation.

In the public service with grown-ups (at least age wise) it may not be so problematic. But when it hits our schools it is different. I recall foolishly agreeing to appear on The Drum to discuss the matter. The compere and the 3 “objective” panellists were all interrupting each other to interrupt me. They were in a frenzy.

The feedback from the viewing audience was surprisingly overwhelmingly positive. The response from The Drum audience by way of e-mails and telephone calls to my office of course had to first virtue signal their support with an introduction that they generally did not like my politics but on this occasion they agreed with me. The “this” they agreed with me on was the very real prospect of a pre-pubescent girl confronting a fully shaving young man in the washroom – confronting, intimidating and unsettling. Sadly, not enough people are willing to state the obvious on these things for fear of being ridiculed for having a fetish over lavatories – as I have been.

Or we can turn to the protocol of flying campaign flags on and in public buildings. Our society has functioned on virtues and protocols which need protecting, yet Ministers and other higher officials seem unable to protect these principles. The abuse of public property for campaigning for any proposition is unacceptable. The Department of Finance and Tasmania's Hobart City Council needed to virtue signal their so-called ethics by flying the rainbow flag off or in their buildings. For the staff working in them who didn't agree, well it was simply a case of “bad luck”, if not a middle finger salute. The fact that I was contacted by staff expressing their concern and discontent including by a Muslim was studiously ignored by the ABC and the Fairfax media. For the record the flagpole outside my electorate office only flies the Australian flag our pre-eminent symbol of national unity, even in the heat of an election campaign.

Friends, let’s make no mistake – truth will ultimately win out.

Right must and will always prevail.

When you collect the odd bruise you can either slink off retired hurt OR you can dust yourself off and join the fray again.

Just think if BA Santamaria would’ve done the former when the trade unions of our country were being infiltrated by communists. OR, just think if Sir Robert Menzies or John Howard had both slunk off after the setbacks they suffered. They went on to serve as our longest and second longest Prime Ministers.

All three had grit. They had belief. They had the right moral compass. And they ultimately prevailed.

Similarly Australia’s future is bright. Sure we’ve had setbacks but like Winston Churchill recognised even in the darkest hours of World War II victory was possible and he achieved it. You have to keep believing.

So, our task is to advocate and work for a truly just society - -which honours life and the natural order of things; and – which above all highlights and celebrates the virtues and the personnel which have made our Nation the envy of the world.

Let’s not be deterred. Indeed we have a lot to celebrate. Rather let any discouragements or setbacks galvanise our resolve to work even more determinedly for Australia’s future.

The foundations on which we build have withstood the tests of time. They will continue to hold firm. Our foundations will continue to hold firm because of their substance.  It’s what keeps millions of Australians motivated.

Australia’s future – is positive

Australis’s future – is strong

But only if we remain resolute.

It’s my hope and prayer that my contribution this evening will help keep us all motivated to strive to repair, maintain and build an even better Australia. May God bless us in that endeavour.

May God bless Australia.

About Eric

Eric Abetz has been a Liberal Senator for Tasmania since 1994 and has served in a range of Leadership, Ministerial and Shadow Ministerial roles.

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