The late Peter Walsh on Australia’s hostile elite

Nick Cater has recorded some views of Peter Walsh, Australian Finance Minister in the 1980s, who died in April 2015 aged 80. Walsh served in the Hawke and Keating cabinets but was suspicious of their embrace of multiculturalism (“Prescient warnings of a minister of common sense”, The Australian, 14 April 2015).

In his memoirs, Confessions of a Failed Finance Minister (1995), Walsh defended Australia’s Anglo-Celtic culture against those attacking it. The intensity of those attacks are indicated by Walsh’s guess at the motives of the critics: “What psychotic disorder, what deep-seated se1f-loathing, causes people who are the beneficiaries of that heritage to constantly vilify and denigrate it?” (Cater did not provide the source for this quote.)

Cater points out that Walsh was not tertiary educated, leaving school at age 10. Walsh believed that his Labor Party had been captured by a tertiary-educated elite, an “authoritarian group which regards itself as Left progressive” and served the “bourgeois Left and middle-class trendoids in the gentrified suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne”. In particular he was critical of the “amoral” political tactics of his colleague Graham Richardson, who he thought sought to hold power for its own sake, not advance particular policies.

Walsh also criticised Paul Keating, prime minister from 1991 to 1996, for pandering to vocal minorities which had good media connections, including Aboriginal and other ethnic activists. Keating thought that he could retain power by pleasing minorities. He judged Keating to be gullible when he accepted ethnic activists as leaders of their communities. And he objected to the Keating government’s stiffening of the Racial Discrimination Act with section 18c which outlawed causing offence to ethnic or racial groups.

Walsh’s views on immigration are not quoted. But if he resented vilification and denigration of Australia’s core identity, he certainly would have rejected any attempt to subject Anglo Australia to cultural genocide using replacement-level immigration, as described by senior journalist Greg Sheridan.

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