The Australian reports on NCC soul-searching

The National Civic Council is said to be planning to jettison its state presidents as a bitter internal row threatens to undermine the influential political organisation traditionally associated with the Catholic Church.

The Australian reports today that, faced with allegations that the organisation has been infiltrated by the anti-Semitic LaRouche movement, the NCC leadership has locked some of the organisation's senior office-bearers out of their offices and initiated legal action against others.

The NCC is believed to be under the effective control of a group of four executive members, led by NCC national president Peter Westmore and vice-president Pat Byrne. Mr Westmore declined to comment yesterday.

The state presidents, who will be dumped at the organisation's national conference in Melbourne next month, have been increasingly vocal in expressing concerns over the LaRouche allegations and other matters.

Over the Christmas break, the NCC leadership ordered that the locks be changed in the organisation's Brisbane office, barring access to Queensland NCC organiser and Australian Family Association secretary Victor Sirl and the NCC's Queensland secretary of 23 years, Carole McNeill.

Mr Sirl's position has been abolished. He applied unsuccessfully for a newly created job.

Victorian NCC president Anthony Capello said he had earlier been locked out of the organisation's national headquarters in Melbourne.

Mr Capello said he had resigned from a full-time position with the NCC and seven other employees in the Melbourne office had quit in recent months.

He was not worried about being dumped as state president at the conference, he said. "I've reached the conclusion that this organisation has lost direction and that the current management is out of touch."

Mr Capello said he had expressed concerns to the leadership about ties between senior NCC figures and extremist organisations, including the LaRouche-aligned Citizens Electoral Council and the League of Rights, but had been ignored.

The NCC, founded by B.A. Santamaria, is described as an organisation which seeks to shape public policy on cultural, family, social, political, economic and international issues of concern to Australia. Its publications include News Weekly, and the religious opinion journal AD2000. It also runs the Australian Family Association, and the Thomas More Centre, which focuses on bioethics and the formation of young people.

Divided civic council to dump state chiefs (The Australian 18/1/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
News Weekly - About the National Civic Council
AD2000 | National Civic Council 50th anniversary celebration, 7 October 1991 - address (November 2001)

18 Jan 2006