Santamaria and the Organised Catholic Vote

The great Labor split of 1954–55 and the public exposure of the Santamaria Movement had explosive ramifications. It was considered an unprecedented event, and Santamaria a sui generis political operator, whose unique strategy had been to utilise Catholic parish lists to get out the numbers at union meetings. But some historical precedents existed. On a number of occasions in the past Melbourne Catholics had organised a Catholic bloc vote based on parishes to try to achieve their political ends. The first great grievance for Victorian Catholics was the loss of state aid for religious schools in the 1870s. A Catholic…

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