Australian Biography - Bob Santamaria

Shot Vision Audio In Point
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Film Australia credit sequence. Fade to black

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Fade up on opening sequence for "Australian Biography" series

Music

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Bob

Freeze frame

Fade up on super:
B A Santamaria
Born 1915
Political activist

Part 1

Music

Bob sync: I think that I ought to say that fundamentally, on those rare occasions when I look at myself and say 'What the hell are you, really?' I am a peasant. I have those values. And I think central to those values is the family and the land. I'm not pretending about that, because I've told you I couldn't grow a lettuce. But that's where my attachment is, and all my values really depend on those two things.

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Photo. Santamaria family. Zoom in to Bob's father

Music

Robin v/o: Your father kept a greengrocer's shop in Brunswick. What kind of a person was he?

Bob sync: Well, my father was typical Italian peasant. He was strong physically.

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Bob

Bob sync: He had only four years of education, but he was very strong intellectually. He had a strong intellectual interest and was interested in foreign affairs, in politics in Australia, and so on, which was quite extraordinary for a person of his background.

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Detail of photo showing Bob's father. Pan up to Bob and his sister standing behind

Bob v/o: But the most interesting thing about him was this, that he would always use the table to try to get my sister, who came after me, and myself, to discuss public matters with him, when we knew nothing about them.

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Bob

Bob sync: He would discuss foreign matters and so on. And the interesting thing was that in the course of that discussion, his opinions would often vary very much from ours, because ours were worthless. But although he had a quick temper, I never knew him once, on those occasions on which he had brought about a conversation, to use his parental authority. And I always regarded that as a very big thing to be said in my father's favour.

Robin v/o: Do you think this is why...

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Photo of cloisters at university

Robin v/o: ... you seemed so intellectually confident by the time...

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Photo. Young Bob

Robin v/o: you got to university?

Bob v/o: Oh yes, you could very easily say that...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... what you regard as confidence was an excessive regard for my own opinions. But it was part of an environment - I belonged to a Catholic organisation...

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Archival. Melbourne University grounds

Bob v/o: ... called the Campion Society, it was a university graduates and undergraduates.

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Archival. Melbourne University grounds

Bob v/o: There were only about 30 in it. They were in general...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... people of pretty of high IQs. I was the youngest and the meanest intellectually of them. It was that environment that gradually, over a period, gave me a certain confidence - not confidence - an attitude if you like. And we needed it. When I went to the university, the Labor Club, which was really the university branch of the Communist Party, really was in the ascendant throughout the Melbourne University, and it had first class minds belonging to it, who later some of them became judges, one of them became a supreme court judge and so on. They were very formidable people. And as you encountered them, you realised that either you kept quiet or you entered the lists.

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Photo. Bob as young man

Bob v/o: And you really had to develop a feeling that you could handle it.

Robin v/o: At what stage did ...

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Bob

Robin v/o: ... you start seeing Communism as a principle threat?

Bob: I saw communism as something to be reprobated from about 1934-35 in an accidental, through an accidental set of events. Of course, I had known in principle it was a bad thing. But it didn't affect me very much. But one day, by the purest accident, I was wandering round a suburban library, and by mistake I picked up a book that turned out to be Malcolm Muggeridge's 'Winter In Moscow' which he published in 1934.

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Photo of Bob as younger man. Pan right to Muggeridge beside him smoking.

Bob v/o: And as I told Muggeridge many years later, I said "I blame you for everything that's happened to me in my life...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... because that book changed my life." So it was about '35 I think that I suddenly realised that communism was a problem.

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Archival. Battlefields during Spanish Civil War.

Bob v/o: But the Spanish Civil ...

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Archival. Canon

Bob v/o: ... War

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Archival. Cannons on battlefield

Bob v/o: ... in which Russia came in...

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Archival. Soldiers in truck convoy

Bob v/o: ... on the side of the Republicans...

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Archival. People carrying injured from amongst rubble

Bob v/o: ... and then tried to destroy them in order...

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Archival. Buildings being destroyed

Bob v/o: ... to take over at the end of the war, that congealed...

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Archival. Group of women

Bob v/o: my opposition to it.

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Bob. Zoom in to MCU Bob

Robin v/o: These ideas, that you were forming, how did you express them?

Bob sync: Well - oh, in quite a number of ways. Your existence at the university at that time was a permanent civil war of meetings and counter meetings. But in 1936, with a few friends, I started a paper called 'The Catholic Worker' and this - you know, I expected it to last one issue, but in fact it took on, and by the time I left it, it had a circulation, a monthly circulation of 70,000, which was pretty big. That was the medium largely through which the views of my friends in the Campion Society, and myself, were expressed.

Robin v/o: What was the first issue like?

Bob sync: Terrible. It was very amateurish. I've got a copy of it as a matter of fact. It looks awfully produced, and I remember the editorial...

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Copy of 'Catholic Worker.' Zoom out to MCU

Bob v/o: ... which I wrote, was called 'Why We Fight.' And I tried to explain why I thought, in 1936, that the communist problem was secondary to the Catholic - ah, to the capitalist - problem. And...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... a lot of people who think that the difficulties I have at the moment with economic rationalism are of late development only have to go back to that editorial to discover that they go back to '36.

Robin v/o: You were only 22...

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Archival. Archbishop Mannix walking through crowd

Robin v/o: ... when Archbishop Mannix...

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Archival. Archbishop Mannix and others

Robin v/o: ... the Archbishop of Melbourne, recruited you...

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Archival. Archbishop Mannix amongst crowd

Robin v/o: ... to start a new movement to activate the Catholic laity.

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Archival. Crowd watching Mannix

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Archival of Mannix

Robin v/o: How did that come about?

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Bob

Bob sync: It was on the day that I signed the solicitor's roll, having just got my law degree - I got a phone call to go up to the...

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Archival. Door of cathedral. Pan up

Bob v/o: ... cathedral to meet Archbishop Mannix, which I did, and he asked me if I'd take the job. I'd never dreamt, so I said, I said yes, because I would...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... have said yes to anything that he said. And then, as I walked downstairs I had the terrible thought that I had to go home and tell my father, whose great ambition was his son should be a lawyer. So I thought of the speech I'd make, and I pointed out that it was only for two years. And then I discovered that my father was enthusiastic, because he would do anything Archbishop Mannix wanted. So he caused no difficulty at all. But unfortunately the two years have extended, that would have made it 1940, and this is 1997.

Robin v/o: When you met...

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Photo. Archbishop Mannix

Robin v/o: ... Archbishop Mannix, who had such a huge influence on your life, what did you think of him?

Bob v/o: I thought of him then exactly the same as I thought of him on November 6th, 1963, when I was with him the night he died.

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Bob

Bob sync: I thought, without any doubt, he was the greatest man I've ever met. And I haven't met any greater. That's all I can say.

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Photo. Young Bob with group of clergy

Robin v/o: As someone who'd been born and bred in the city, how did you get on when you were asked to extend the work of the movement into the country?

Bob v/o: I think that was the happiest thing I ever did in the whole of my life.

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Bob

Bob sync: I thought that the farmers that I met, and I, you know, we had something over...

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Photo. Mannix and others posing for group photo

Bob v/o: ... 270 branches of that in all the eastern states, and South Australia and Western Australia too. I thought that they were the finest people I've ever met. And I've never lost my affection ...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... for them, although there are far fewer today. And the purpose of that was to apply the same - to form branches, to form study groups within the branches, and to adapt the principles of social justice, which we were trying to adapt to industrial life because of the Depression and so on, to the rural situation. Problems of rural debt, problems of erosion and so on. A totally different set of problems. But the principles...

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Photo. Group of people in Church Hall attending meeting

Bob v/o: ... were perfectly capable of adaptation. And so gradually your mind...

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Photo. Detail of previous shot. Woman in crowd. Pan right across others

Bob v/o: .... your consciousness, developed along those lines.

Robin v/o: Now the movement had begun with this quite broad social justice agenda. But then, in the early forties, you were asked to adopt...

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Photo. Trades Hall building

Robin v/o: ... the more specific role of organising opposition to communism ...

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Photo. Trades Hall building portico

Robin v/o: ... in the unions. How did you go about that?

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Bob

Bob sync: I thought to myself at the time, there's no better way of knowing how to fight the communists than to have a look at the constitution of the Communist Party. And I suddenly saw the way. In other words, we would mould our constitution on the model of theirs. So that if they believed in training carders, we believed in training carders. If they believed in forming union sells, we'd form union sells. And if they believed that you needed central direction, we'd have central direction. It was a pretty good idea. I don't think that, I don't think I could have done better than that. Anyway ...

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Archival. Procession heading towards cathedral

Bob v/o: ... in the first analysis, you've got to get an army.

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Archival. Procession heading towards church

Bob v/o: ... You can't be in a war ...

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Archival. Mannix walking through crowd

Bob: v/o: ... without an army.

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Archival. Crowd stands

Bob v/o: And what you would do, the parish priests knew that the archbishop ...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... wanted them to help. So you'd go and visit a parish priest, you'd say "Can you give us the names of half a dozen people who you think will be interested in this work in your parish." And they always could. And so you'd move among them and you'd form them into a group or a branch, and then their job was to get a census of all of the union members in that parish. And out of that census you'd find out who were the ironworkers, who were the railwaymen, who were the tramway men and so on. And you'd be doing that on a city wide basis. So gradually your forces would become fairly clear. And then on top of that parochial organisation you'd build an industrial organisation. You'd have a group of ironworkers, a group of tramway men and so on, and they'd carry out the election battle. Is that clear?

Robin v/o: Did you see...

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Archival. Car travelling through suburban street towards church

Robin v/o: ... it as important to have at least some non-Catholics in the industrial groups?

Bob v/o: It was absolutely ...

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Archival. People in front of church

Bob v/o: ... vital. You see, I remember ...

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Bob. Zoom out to MS

Bob sync: ... a person who was a director of one of the banks. I don't know many directors of banks. And he asked me once, he said "I want you to tell me the truth. Is this Catholicism versus communism or is it Labor versus communism?" And I said "Why are you asking me?" And he said "Because if it's Rome versus Moscow, I'll support Moscow rather than Rome." Couldn't have been straighter. So I said "It isn't." I said the - I didn't use the word infantry, but you know what I mean, maybe Catholic - but the leadership represents the whole of Australia.

Robin v/o: Was there nevertheless real value...

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Archival. Congregation entering cathedral

Robin v/o: ... in the fact that the foot soldiers...

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Archival. Choir boys entering church

Robin v/o: ... were Catholic?

Bob v//o: Oh yes.

Robin v/o: What was that value?

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Archival. Choir entering cathedral

Bob v/o: Well, the value was, the value was -...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... there were two or three aspects of the value. The first was that if you started to talk to them on the communist issue, they knew what communism was. They remembered Spain. So the community as a whole wouldn't know what you were talking about in the majority of cases. To them a communist was an ordinary Labor man. Secondly, you - if you indicated that communism was anti-religious, they would believe that they had a religious duty to fight communism. So that you would mobilise their deepest instincts. And thirdly, you had the normal structure of the parishes to act as the foundation stone on which to work in order to gradually build up your forces.

Robin v/o: Did you have a lot of contact with Archbishop Mannix

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Photo. Archbishop Mannix. Zoom in

Robin v/o: ... over what you were doing?

Bob v/o: Oh yes.

Robin v/o: How did that, what form did that take?

Bob v/o: It wasn't, in a sense it wasn't...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... it was official and non-official. And Archbishop Mannix lived at Raheen in Kew, and I lived in Kew, and on my way home at night, a couple of nights a week...

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Archival. Archbishop Mannix's study

Bob v/o: ... I'd drop in and talk to him. We could talk about anything, but I would always...

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Archival. Archbishop Mannix in study

Bob v/o: ... tell him how things were going. I wasn't reporting...

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Archbishop Mannix

Bob v/o: ... to him or anything. We were talking. And...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... he never said "I think you're making a mistake on this, do it that way." He knew that he wouldn't have known enough about it. But he always wanted to know. And his interest was intent, because as you know...

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Photo. Archbishop Mannix

Bob v/o: ... he always had a deep interest in public questions.

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Bob

Bob sync: But there were two stories about Dr. Mannix that ultimately gained currency. One was that it was actually his policy and I was simply the executor of the policy. And the other one, when that didn't work out really well - nobody really believed that - was that Archbishop Mannix, who was then - what in 1955 - he must have been about, he was over 90 - that really he was senile and he was in the hands of a Machiavellian layman who was determined to purse his interests, even to the point of splitting the church. So they had five bob each way.

Robin v/o: Yes, Machiavellian was a word that came in useful for your opponents.

Bob sync: Well it sits naturally with Santamaria, doesn't it?

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Archival. Men in street

Music

Robin v/o: Although you've made it very clear that the whole ...

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Archival. People standing outside Dept. of Post War Reconstruction

Robin v/o: ... purpose of the Industrial Groups was to protect the...

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Archival. Men with fist raised in solidarity

Robin v/o: ... ALP from communism, in actual fact, the ALP ended up ...

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Archival. ALP meeting

Robin v/o: ... splitting.

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Archival. Delegates raising hands at ALP meeting

Robin v/o: Now you're on public record...

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Archival. Delegates on stage

Robin v/o: ... as blaming Dr. Evatt...

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Archival. Evatt

Robin v/o: ... who was then Leader of the Labor Party. Why do you...

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Archival. Evatt and others being photographed by press

Robin v/o: ... blame Evatt?

Bob v/o: A number of people have said...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... that the tensions between the anti-Communist group, which was largely, but not exclusively Catholic, and the pro-Communist group, were so great that regardless of Evatt, the party would have split. I don't believe that. I believe that if as a result of the enormous embarrassment that Evatt was thrust into as a result of the Petrov Commission, in which his leadership was at stake, and he was going to be removed from the leadership, I believe that if he had not that sort of brilliant madness from which he suffered, decided to seek a totally new alliance, to go back to the communists, to use the sectarian weapon, which he'd seen working so effectively at the time of conscription, I don't believe that there would have been a split. Because in the last analysis, there were profound personal antipathies. But the philosophies of the Industrial Groupers...

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Archival. ALP Conference

Bob v/o: ... were the traditional Labor philosophies.

Robin v/o: You've also said that you would never have split from the ALP if your people hadn't been excluded from the 1955...

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Bob

Robin v/o: ... Federal Conference in Hobart...

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Photo. Bob as younger man

Robin v/o: ... in what you saw as a rigged decision by the Federal Executive.

Bob v/o: To that point, as far as I was concerned, I was...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... perfectly happy that the issue should be decided within the framework of the party's constitutional structures. But if you are going to rig a federal conference against us, that's the end. There is no other court of appeal that we can go to. And then we had to consider whether we began a party that ultimately became the DLP.

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Archival. Map Asia and Australia

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Photo. Men with guns

Drum roll

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Photo. Men with guns

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Archival. Map Asia and Australia showing the communist countries.

Super: DEMOCRATIC LABOR PARTY ADVERTISEMENT 1963

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Archival. Crowd holding placards with Stalin on them.

Super: DEMOCRATIC LABOR PARTY ADVERTISEMENT 1963

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Photo. Tank.

Super: DEMOCRATIC LABOR PARTY ADVERTISEMENT 1963

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Archival. Map Asia and Australia showing the communist countries.

Super: DEMOCRATIC LABOR PARTY ADVERTISEMENT 1963

Zoom in to Australia

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Photo. Chinese children

Super: DEMOCRATIC LABOR PARTY ADVERTISEMENT 1963

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Photo. Soldiers

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Archival. Map. Arrow pointing towards Australia

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Photo. Barbed wire fences

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Photo. Skulls.

Title card fades up: COMMUNISM!

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Archival. Animation of Mao Tse-Tung's photo on placards. Fades down.
Fade up on Vote ALP placards

Dissolve to:

Newsreel Narrator v/o: Communism, the evil force that enslaves one-third of the world's population, is moving perilously close to Australia. If you vote ALP, you are voting for a party that works with and helps Communists.

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Photo. COMMUNIST PARTY OF AUSTRALIA banner. Zoom out to procession

Dissolve to:

Newsreel Narrator v/o: The communist influence in the ALP today is frightening. And if ...

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Photo. CPA march. DLP logo fades up into picture. SWORN TO STAMP OUT COMMUNISM

Newsreel Narrator v/o: ... the ALP wins this election, our very freedom is in danger. The way to stop communism, the way to keep Australia free, is to vote Democratic Labor, a party sworn to stamp out communism.

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Bob

Robin v/o: What was going through your mind as you contemplated setting up a breakaway party?

Bob sync: Well fundamentally, only whether it was possible. It's all very well as a bright idea, cowboys and Indians if you like. But could you get away with it? Could you get branches of that party in each state? Could you get a sufficient vote behind it? All of those questions were extremely doubtful. I remember the person who became our main opponent, was our opponent at that time, was the Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney, Bishop Carroll, who was Cardinal Gilroy's adviser, he said to me, he said "Who do you people think you are?" He said "Lang wasn't able to establish a breakaway party in all states.

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Photo. Pan left across group of men

Bob v/o: Do you people really believe that you can do what Lang couldn't do?" And I said to him "I don't know. But somebody's got to make the attempt."

Robin v/o: Having helped set it up, did you become...

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Bob

Robin v/o: ... a member of the DLP?

Bob sync: Never been a member of the DLP.

Robin v/o: Why not?

Bob sync: Simply because I wanted to be in a position where, in the last analysis, I could exercise an independent judgement and didn't feel that that judgement had to be limited by my responsibilities as a member of a party.

Robin v/o: How have you voted?

Bob: Well, until the Labor split, I voted Labor. The Labor split took place in '55. From '55 until about '74, I voted DLP. And since then I've voted informal.

Robin v/o: Why have you voted informal?

Bob sync: Simply because I wouldn't, I wouldn't believe sufficiently in either political party to vote for them. And my belief has never been stronger in that regard than it is at the present moment.

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Drawing from 'Catholic Worker.' Pan down to headline LABOR and RED POLICIES IDENTICAL and others

Robin v/o: So although you could support some of their policies, as an old Labor man you just couldn't bring yourself to vote for the Coalition.

Bob v/o: I have never felt any, any sympathy with the...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... voting group that was represented by the Liberal Party. I had a lot of views in - which were the same as Menzies' views. Menzies said that the DLP was the party he thought that he had founded. But no, I was born on the other side of the tracks.

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Animation. DLP Advertisement.

Super: DEMOCRATIC LABOR PARTY ADVERTISEMENT 1964

Advertisement Voice Over: Voting in this election is a little like buying a car. Liberal model, looks flashy, costs a fortune to run. ALP, worn out, falling to pieces, only goes if you push. And we know who's pushing. Wow, there's your best buy. The lively DLP.

Song

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Bob

Robin v/o: Can we talk now a little bit about your relationship with Arthur Caldwell, who was the Labor leader after Evatt.

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Photo. Caldwell. Zoom in to BCU

Robin v/o: He was a fellow Catholic. And he turned from being a friend to being bitterly opposed to you. Did you ever reconcile with him?

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Bob

Bob sync: I wanted to, but he didn't want to. I have told this story before, that I found it quite a shattering thing really. He hadn't spoken to me for a number of years, and he was quite hostile. And I understood that because he gradually became opposed to the Industrial Groups. And he adopted an opposition line to us, within the Labor Party. Which is perfectly legitimate, he had a different idea. But although we had not spoken for a number of years, he had a young son, and whether he was 9 or 11 of age I forget, but this young boy got leukaemia and died. And not long after that I ran into Arthur Caldwell in Robertson & Mullins bookshop, and I knew it was taking a risk, and I went up to him and I said "I know that you don't want to talk to me, but I want to say to you that I understand what you're going through and I really am sorry." Because I had my own children. And I was amazed. He said "I don't want sympathy from you."

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Photo. Caldwell

Bob v/o: And I knew how deep it was.

Robin v/o: It's always an odd feeling to be the object of that kind of animosity.

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Bob

Robin v/o: How did you deal with it?

Bob sync: Well, it was pretty well par for the course by that time. It wasn't only Caldwell who experienced that feeling. If you read the press at the time you'll find that it was a fairly general feeling. I had no illusions about the fact that many people have written about since, that I was pretty well the most...

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Photo. Bob at desk. Zoom in.

Bob v/o: ... hated man in the country. So it didn't worry me that much. It worried me personally because I really liked him. And we had worked together years before.

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Bob

Bob sync: But beyond that, as far as it affected me, well, just part of the game.

Robin v/o: Now, in relation to the DLP and its position that it needed to keep the ALP out of office, in the event that was very effective, and the ALP was kept out of office for 20 years, and the coalition remained in office. Given that you were essentially, and have always maintained that you're essentially a Labor man, how did you feel about that effect?

Bob sync: Oh, it didn't worry me a bit. What I was concerned about was the intrinsic nature of the Labor Party. And there never was any problem about coming to terms with something which was the Labor Party. And there was never any problem about opposing something which my colleagues and I both believed had gone over to the pro-Communist side.

Robin v/o: Did you feel any hatred towards your enemies?

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Archival. Communist Party building. Pan down to street

Bob v/o: Not really, I don't think so. As a matter of fact, my - there were some of the communist leaders who were extremely unpleasant men.

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Bob

Bob sync: No, for the majority, I didn't feel anything at all. We were just two armies in conflict, and it's better to respect your enemies than to feel about them. I must say that I have much more feeling against what I - the masters of industry - not of industry - but of the financial system today, than I had against the communist leadership.

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Photo. Pan up from hands to show Bob's face

Robin v/o: You set out to be a lawyer, and ended up spending your life in political warfare. Did you ever regret the direction your life took?

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Bob

Fade to black

Bob sync: Well, I suppose when you're getting a thrashing you tend to regret a mistaken decision. But I never had the luxury of choice. You see, I took this on in 1938 and I should have finished in 1940. And that's all that I thought that I was doing. But by 1940 I was in the middle of organising the rural movement, and we were just about to start doing something in the unions. I couldn't bail out then. Once you move into that field, you've got to see that through, and it takes five or six years of work and five or six years have gone. And you're down to the end of the forties. And there you're in the middle of the coal strike, which Chifley said was a pre-revolutionary struggle. Can't bail out then. Within a couple of years you're in the middle of the Labor split; you can't bail out then. So in the end you discover that you really weren't making a sensible choice at all. You simply are predisposing the critical moments later on and you can't bail out. Now, am I sorry that I didn't bail out? Well, in the bad moments I suppose I am. But if I'd bailed out I, for the rest of my life, I would have known I'd run away. It's not worth it.

Music fades up

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Fade up on photo of Bob set against black b/g

Credits roll over picture

Interviewer
ROBIN HUGHES

Director of Photography
JENNI MEANEY

Sound Recordist
MARK TARPEY

Music

00:26:47
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Credits roll

Sound Post Production
MICHAEL GISSING
DIGITAL CITY STUDIOS

Promotions Manager
MICHELLE O'RIORDAN

Production Supervisor
GINA TWYBLE

00:26:56
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Credits roll

Production Accountant
JANETTE GOULD

Production Co-ordinator
JULIE ADAMS

Online Editor
ROEN DAVIS
VISUALEYES

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Credits roll

Archival Sources

B A Santamaria and family
ABC TV Footage Sales
Filmworld
Nine Network Australia
National Film and Sound Archive
National Civic Council
The Age

Music

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Credits roll

Edited and Researched by
LINDA KRUGER

Produced and Directed by
ROBIN HUGHES and
LINDA KRUGER

Executive Producer
SHARON CONNOLLY and
MEGAN McMURCHY

Made in association with SBS TV

Fade to black

Music

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END OF PART 1

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Film Australia credit sequence. Fade to black

Music

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Fade up on opening sequence for "Australian Biography" series

Music

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Bob.

Freeze frame

Fade up on super:
B A Santamaria
Born 1915
Political activist

Part 2

Bob sync: I believe that the biological structure of the family and the economic structure which the family should have, really are parallel. In other words, I believe that it's normal - you know what I mean by the word normal - that the male should normally be the breadwinner, the woman should be the nurturer and the carer, and that the economic system should not - that while the woman should be perfectly free to choose whatever she wants to work in - I want to be clear on that - the economic system should not conscript the married women to go into the work force.

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Archive footage hands stuffing beans into paper bag

Bob v/o: My father had a shop...

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Archive footage looking down at tomatoes. Move frame right over produce to sign with price written on it

Bob v/o: ... he was in charge of the shop. My mother was...

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Tilt up over photo of family group

Bob v/o: ... in charge of the domestic economy, if you like, including the raising of the children. But because we lived - the house...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... and the shop were in the same premises - a lot of the functions were mixed. But nevertheless, there was a pretty clear...

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Photo of family group

Bob v/o: ... idea as to where the priorities lay. But I do make this point - I'm not...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... here, and I never have been to tell the woman what her duties are or anything like that. But I am here to say that society has got no right to force her to enter the industrial work force if she wants to remain in the domestic work force.

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Archive footage. Pan frame right with woman walking down street

Announcer v/o: It's International Women's Year and...

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Archive footage. Female lecturer teaches class

Announcer v/o: ... more and more of us are doing our...

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Woman stands at white board and points to information on board

Announcer v/o: ... own thing. Call it women's...

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Archive footage woman sits at desk and types

Announcer v/o: ...lib, call it what you like, but...

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Archive footage. Woman helps child out of car

Announcer v/o: ... it's happened.

Robin v/o: In the late seventies...

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Archive footage. Children look back and wave as they enter school gate

Robin v/o: ... your concern about family issues...

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Archive footage. Woman stands in front of white car and waves

Robin v/o: ... caused you to lead your...

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Bob

Robin o/s: ... organisation - the National Civic Council - away from its anti-Communist focus. What was the...

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Archive footage papal parade through streets

Robin v/o: ... background to this?

Bob v/o: Well, in 1962-65 you had the Second ...

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Archive footage. High angle looking down at parade of high church officials

Bob v/o: ... Vatican Council. And the turmoil that this introduced into...

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Colour archive footage people enter church

Bob v/o: ... the Catholic Church showed that what I regarded as a broad cultural crisis, had extended to the field of religion.

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Bob

Bob sync: And then it entered into the area of the family. Germaine Greer had written 'The Female Eunuch' in 1963, and the other stuff came out in '69. And this began to transform consciousness about the family radically, with the whole of the sexual revolution and so on. To me, at least, it became perfectly obvious that we were going through a period that strangely enough I thought was very similar to the fifth century of our era, which witnessed the internal disintegration of the Roman Empire. And I'm quite convinced that that is right. So it was something big and different. And again, the question was, is this our business or not. And because it seemed to be nobody else's business.

Robin o/s: Did everybody agree with you?

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Bob. Continuation of last shot

Bob sync: No. There were people in the NCC and they were friends, they'd been close friends and collaborators of mine for 30 years, who felt very strongly that I was leading the thing along the wrong lines. That it was still important to concentrate absolutely on the unions and on the Labor Party. My argument was that the unions were going to cease to be critical to anything that we were interested in. As long as we could - had enough strength to hold communism, or a revival of communism, at bay, I thought that the union movement would decline in importance. And it has in fact. When today you've only got - what is it - about 25 per cent of the work force who are members. And I think that that will inevitably happen, although I'm opposed to it happening. I believe in the union movement. So that was - and they left us. And it was a very bad blow to me. That was about 1978 to 1980.

Robin sync: In 1982, there were even court cases over it, weren't there?

Bob sync: Yes, that was the end of that. When the thing got to quite an extreme situation. And there were questions of who owned the property and so on. It was very distressing, because the people concerned had been my friends for many years. I respected them and still respect them. But they had a different idea, and what could you do about it?

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Bob. Continuation of last shot

Robin o/s: So you had another little mini split.

Bob sync: Yeah, yes we did. It was a mini one though, it was not to be compared with the one in the fifties. But it was much more distressing because of the personal identities involved.

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Bob climbs stairs. Pan right and tilt up with Bob

Robin v/o: As a result of the different objectives that you now had, has that changed your methods?

Bob v/o: Yes.

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Pan frame left to MWS Bob sitting behind desk and writing

Bob v/o: The methods when you were fighting predominantly in the unions was to train people as what the communists...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... used to call carders, you know, the self-starting individual, to build the organisation around cells, to have a strong centre of national unity in the policy decisions of the national conference. Now you had to develop different organisations. If there was a family problem, and the family became a critical part of the whole of the problem, you - we've had to develop a thing called the Australian Family Association. If the religious crisis became part of the problem you had to develop something that would defend the structures of orthodoxy within the Catholic religion. Not only the Catholic, but the Christian religions in general. And we developed a thing there called the Thomas Moore Centre.

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High angle down at man walking into room with shelves full of files. Man stops and looks for file

Bob v/o: We produced then a new magazine. We still had 'News Weekly,' we produced a new magazine, 'AD 2000,' to carry the cudgels in that.

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Bob. Zoom out to MS Bob

Robin o/s: Religion has played such a central role in your life, what do you remember as your first spiritual experience?

Bob sync: I want to be very clear. People who say that they have spiritual experiences, I envy them, but I don't understand them. My life has been singularly bereft of spiritual experiences. But you naturally - if you went to a school like St. Kevin's, which was only for the last two years of your scholastic life, in what we used to call Leaving and Leaving Honours, just the two years before university, one half hour each day was always devoted to religious instruction as they called it. And part of the religious instruction was the philosophic foundations of your faith. And it was at that time - and I was already about 14, 13 or 14 - that I began to think autonomously if you like, about God and about religion. But as for spiritual experiences, I'm afraid I'm not given to them.

Robin o/s: Was there a very strong religious atmosphere...

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Pan right and tilt up over photo of family group

Robin v/o: ... at home, when you were growing up?

Bob v/o: Yes, yes there was, I'd have to say that. But you've got to understand it in the Italian way. There was never any doubt at all that we were Catholics, Catholics in the Italian manner.

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Bob

Bob sync: My mother would always go to mass. My father didn't for many years go to mass of a Sunday, but he had a very good reason. Because on Sunday morning, he had to do all the cleaning of the horse's stable and so on. So the reasons were completely understandable. But later on he did. So that all of the assumptions were Catholic assumptions. And I grew up not thinking of anything else. The thinking...

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Photo of Bob as a boy

Bob v/o: ... about religion only came to me when I was about 14 years of age. And I was almost finished school by that time.

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Bob

Robin o/s: So when you do think about it, why are you a Catholic?

Bob sync: If I were to look at the Catholic Church historically, I could come to this conclusion. I could say that every civilisation has got its distinctive, inspiriting, religious faith. China has got Taoism, Confucianism - which is not a religion - India and Ceylon have got Buddhism, and that either they created the civilisation or they're the product of the civilisation. I don't know. But as the civilisation dies, the religion will die with it. And I think that Gibbon's view was, and Toynbee's view could have been, that Catholicism was the central factor in the development of post-Roman, Greco-Roman European civilisation. And as that civilisation is obviously dying, and dying very rapidly, you could expect Christian religion and Catholicism to die with it. I could adopt that attitude. And that would make me a historical determinist. On the other hand, if I believe that that was the religion which Christ intended to establish, and that he was the son of God, then I will believe that what is happening at the present moment has got very great similarities to the fifth century, when after Constantine's declaration of Christianity as the official religion of the Empire in the fourth, it suddenly fell apart. I will believe that if it is god given, then that we're going through a bad patch, but will ultimately reassert itself as it has in the past. Now you can take your choice.

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Bob. Continuation of last shot

Robin o/s: And you've taken yours, and what is it?

Bob sync: Oh well, my choice is the second. I've got a very great temptation to believe the first. When I look at the fatuous decisions that have been taken by very many in authority, within the Catholic framework, I believe that that is a - many of them are suicidal. But nevertheless, if I were a historical determinist, I would give it away. The only reason that I'm a Catholic is that I believe that that's what Christ intended to be.

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Archive footage. Tilt down length of Church spires to see congregation gathered in front of church

Robin v/o: In relation to the family, what are the duties of the man in the family?

Bob v/o: Well, I'm no philosopher.

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Bob

Robin o/s: Really, you're not?

Bob sync: No, I'm not. No, the duties of the man in the family, first of all in the perfect society, is that ultimately he is the breadwinner, and his responsibility is to maintain the economic basis of the family. He is a, I think, the essential role model for his sons. Although I think it's notorious that the link between daughters and fathers is closer than between sons and fathers. And in the last analysis, he's got to be a person whose wife has confidence - she might have very different ideas and not agree with a lot of things that he says or does - but she is confident that ultimately not only will he want the right thing, but his judgements generally will be correct, so that she will be willing to associate herself with those judgements ... You've asked me a very difficult question.

Robin o/s: He doesn't have to associate himself with her judgements?

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Bob. Continuation of last shot

Bob sync: Of course he does. There's no question of that. I mean there is no purely purist definition of functions. I would not for a moment say that I washed as many as nappies as my wife did. But I washed a lot of them. You see what I mean?

Robin o/s: Finding the time to...

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Photo of Bob as a young man with two young children

Robin v/o: ... help your wife with the family must have been hard...

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Photo of Bob as a young man holding up baby

Robin v/o: ... with everything else you had on.

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Tilt up photo of woman carrying baby

Bob v/o: Well, look, I'm not pretending to do something I didn't do. I was away from home a lot. I...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... mean our movement was all over Australia and ultimately became a bit international. I was away a lot.

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Pan right over photo of children and woman

Bob v/o: It was very hard for her, very hard. Because we had a large family. And I don't know how many women...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... could have done it. Which is amazing to me, because she was, she was certainly not a very robust woman. I remember she weighed herself on the day that we were married. She weighed exactly seven stone.

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Tilt up photo of Bob as a young man and his wife in her bridal outfit

Bob v/o: So from that sort of background, I really have to say that...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... just as in all of my work - you see this session is personal and you're talking about me, but it gives you a totally wrong picture if you think that I did this. In my work there were very many people who were critically important.

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Photo of Bob as a younger man and his family. Zoom into closer shot of Bob

Bob v/o: And in our family, well, her, it was my wife's work. So if you like I was a presiding genius who lived off everybody else.

Robin v/o: How important in marriage do you believe sexual fidelity is?

Bob v/o: Well, it's not easy, but it's vital.

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Bob

Robin o/s: Why?

Bob sync: I think that marriage - again, you're asking me difficult questions, because I seem to be preaching and I'm not preaching, I'm simply talking about my intuitions. When you marry, you give your word that you not only will be faithful, but you'll want to be faithful. And it's very important to keep your promises. But there are difficulties. And it's very important to be aware of the difficulties. You look at the condition of the man in a modern, metropolitan, industrial, commercial society. Let us say that they have three or four children. That is extremely difficult and exhausting for the wife. It's all very well, the man swans off in the morning and goes into his office. And he goes home at night, and his wife is distressed and at her wit's end at 5 o'clock in the afternoon. And you've got to understand the temptations of the man. He goes into an office where there's a secretary who may be pretty and all of that, and well groomed. And the wife very often will not be, because of the difficulties of her life. That's when it's important to remember. And it's not easy. But nevertheless, the principle is the principle.

Robin o/s: You've had a number of women that you've been close to in your life. There was first of all your mother.

Bob sync : Yeah.

Robin o/s: Your first wife.

Bob sync: Yes.

Robin o/s: And now you've remarried, you've got a second wife. How important have those women been to you in the way in which you've pursued your own things?

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Bob. Continuation of last shot

Bob sync: Oh, they're the indestructible foundation. Look, if they'd been different, I couldn't have done anything - well, I don't think I've done much - but I couldn't have done anything. They are the foundation. And that's why - I'm not being romantic when I say it - I think a man mustn't respect his wife, he must idolise her.

Robin o/s: And what do you mean by idolising?

Bob sync: Well, just think she's the best.

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Photo of woman holding baby. Children seen either side of her. Tilt up to CU Bob in photo

Bob v/o: That's all.

Robin v/o: Have you had any women friends?

Bob v/o: Not in particular as friends. I've had friendly acquaintances, if you like, but not very intimate women friends.
Because...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... you retain friendships to men, you know their wives, and you have a friendship with them to the limits that I think is desirable.

Robin v/o: Again, because to some extent you're on guard against getting too close to another woman other than your wife.

Bob sync: I think that's important. Yep.

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Photo of woman wearing glasses

Robin v/o: I notice from the dates, that your wife died about the time that you were having difficulties internally at the National Civic...

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Bob

Robin o/s: ... Council. How do you deal with that, when your private life is throwing up something as massive as that, and you've got public duties to perform?

Bob sync: Well, I knew that my wife was dying right through 1979 and these difficulties came to a head in 1980 and she died at the end of 1980. I remember saying to the head of the group with whom I had the difficulties in the organisation - and he'd been a friend of mine for 36 years - I remember saying to him "Look, leave this. My wife is very ill and I don't think she'll survive." I found out afterwards that he asked my brother whether that was true. He didn't believe me. So the difficulties continued, and they got quite massive. And they really came to a head at about the same time. And you say how do you do it? I don't know how you do it, you do it. And it's not very pleasant, but both things had to be done at the same time. I think it's true to say that if it hadn't been for my concept of my responsibilities to the other people in the organisation to whom I owed a responsibility - they'd been faithful to the same things as myself - I think I would have thrown it in. I would have looked after my wife. I have no doubt about that. But I had the assistance of my daughters and my sons, and so you just battle through both at the same time.

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Bob. Continuation of last shot

Robin o/s: And what kind of a person is your second wife?

Bob sync: Well, she worked with me for over 30 years. She was my secretary. And it came to the time when she came to the age of retirement and retired. And it was at about the same time that my wife died. And I thought that I knew her very well.

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Photo of Bob surrounded by group of people. Woman with grey hair stands next to him

Bob v/o: And after three to four years...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... I thought it was pretty silly for her to be in one place and me to be in another place. And we could extend companionship to each other. And so that that's how it happened. I discovered of course, that knowing a person as a secretary for 30-odd years means you don't know her at all. But she is a very equable and understanding person with whom I find it very pleasant to live.

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Photo of Bob with women either side of him. Zoom out to see family group

Robin v/o: What about your children? What kind of a father have you been?

Bob v/o: Pretty lousy, I think. I've been very lucky. My children...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... broadly, have the same ideas, pattern of ideas as...

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Photo of Santamaria children as young adults. Pan right to see Bob standing at side of table

Bob v/o: ...I have. We get together every Sunday night. The children and the grandchildren.

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Photo of Bob holding baby. Two children sit in front of him

Bob v/o: And it's not basically...

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Bob holding child

Bob v/o: ... because it's a rule, it's because I think we want to get together.

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Bob

Bob sync: Anybody who doesn't want to come, doesn't come. And we eat together. I cook a plate of spaghetti for every one of them on the Sunday night. And in that way - the big thing is not only that I can meet my own children, but...

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Pan right over extended Santamaria family. Bob seen in midst of group

Bob v/o: ... that the cousins know each other very well. Because that will attenuate over the years. But at least they start from a very close cohesion.

Robin v/o: Malcolm...

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Bob

Robin o/s: ...Muggeridge was astonished to come to your house and discover that the whole family was engaged in watching the football. How important has football been in your life?

Bob sync: Very. Very important. If I could introduce a caricature. I used to live near the Brunswick Town Hall. Fifty yards to the north of the Brunswick Town Hall was St. Ambrose's Church. I used to go to mass there of a Sunday. Less than fifty yards behind was the school where I had to go every day. And about half a mile to the south was the Carlton Football Ground, and I used to go every Saturday. And those were the parameters of my life.

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Photo of Bob shielding his eyes with piece of paper.

Robin v/o: What is it about football that has this incredible attraction for you?

Bob: Well, I want to say that it has much less of an attraction today. I still go every Saturday...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... but it has much less, because it has been taken over by an economic philosophy that I don't like in any aspect of its life. It's been taken over by people who now produce football for television. In other words, it's no longer a game. And the players are no longer really faithful to their club. But originally, what it was, it was part of your local...

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Archive footage looking down at massive crowd

Bob v/o: ... loyalty. The...

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Archive footage of football crowd jumping over fence

Bob v/o: ... conflict between Carlton and Richmond for instance...

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Archive footage football player kicks ball on field

Bob v/o: ... or Carlton and Collingwood, was a...

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Archive footage football match

Bob v/o: ... matter of the...

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Archive footage football match

Bob v/o: ... blood. And it was, I think, largely due to the fact...

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Archive footage cheering crowd

Bob v/o: ... that they were all pretty well working class people who...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... used to go, except the Melbourne barrackers, who weren't. And it was a conflict of localities. And that's what I dislike most in what happens today. It's not a conflict of localities any longer. It's a conflict of incorporated companies.

Robin o/s: And why does that matter?

Bob sync: Well, I like to labour under the illusion that anybody who put on the Carlton guernsey would, if necessary, die for it.

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Archive footage football players run onto field. Crowds cheer in b/g

Bob v/o: ...I don't believe that anybody would today. Look, it's...

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Archive footage cheering crowd of women

Bob v/o: ...a tribal thing, it's tribal.

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Archive footage of football crowd

FX: Football crowd

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Bob

Robin o/s: Can I ask you now what being Australian means to you? How do you feel about Australia?

Bob sync: Well, I'll tell you what I feel about Australia. I think that Australia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. I think that we don't understand how fortunate we are to be born here. We could have been born in Africa, we could have been born in Rwanda, we could have been born in Yugoslavia. And nobody really realises it or thinks about it. And I think that we've made a complete mess of the country, which was avoidable. And I think we probably will lose it.

Robin o/s: How have we made a mess of it?

Bob sync: We've made a mess of it economically. In this sense, that we have pursued policies under governments of both political parties, that unless they're forced on the governments, are absolutely lunatic. They're policies that the economists - of whom I don't account myself one, thank God - would call deflation. And anybody who studies the history of the great Depression knows that what was fundamentally wrong was the deflationary policies cutting and cutting and cutting. And this is what we're doing today.

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High angle looking down at sitting of parliament

Bob v/o: And when I see...

00:25:21
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Sitting of parliament

Bob v/o: ... Liberal and Labor members of parliament preening themselves...

00:25:23
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Members of parliament take seats in chamber

Bob v/o: ... and talking about the wonderful record we have with inflation and so...

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Bob

Bob sync: ... on, I'm driven to rather primitive reactions.

Robin o/s: Throughout your life you've fought...

00:25:29
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Tilt up photo of Bob in blue sweater

Robin v/o: ... a lot of battles. Is that how you see life, primarily, as a battle to be fought?

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Bob

Fade to black

Bob sync: Oh, I don't elevate the concept of battle to number one priority. As a matter of fact, I would envisage a totally different world if I were called upon to plan it. And if I do happen to meet God in the next life, which is possible but not very probable, there are a lot of questions I'd like to ask him, as to why exactly you organised things in this particular way. No, the sort of world that I, ideally would like to envisage, is a world of family, and agriculture and small cities. All of the things that go with a decentralist vision. And of course, that's the very opposite to what we've got at the moment. So I don't look forward to the battle at all. But perhaps my life has been cast in different channels, where the battles have existed. And sometimes have been landed on my lap. I haven't gone looking for them. Because I'm a coward at heart. But you've got to make up your mind whether you'll be in it or out of it.

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Fade up on photo of Bob set against black b/g

Credits roll over picture

Interviewer
ROBIN HUGHES

Director of Photography
JENNI MEANEY

Sound Recordist
MARK TARPEY

Music

00:26:58
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Credits roll

Sound Post Production
MICHAEL GISSING
DIGITAL CITY STUDIOS

Promotions Manager
MICHELLE O'RIORDAN

Production Supervisor
GINA TWYBLE

Music

00:27:07
201

Credits roll

Production Accountant
JANETTE GOULD

Production Co-ordinator
JULIE ADAMS

Online Editor
ROEN DAVIS
VISUALEYES

Music

00:27:12
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Credits roll

Archival Sources

B A Santamaria and family
ABC TV Footage Sales
Filmworld
Nine Network Australia
National Film and Sound Archive
National Civic Council
University of Melbourne Archives
Victorian Trades Hall Council

Music

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Credits roll

Edited and Researched by
LINDA KRUGER

Produced and Directed by
ROBIN HUGHES and
LINDA KRUGER

Executive Producer
SHARON CONNOLLY and
MEGAN McMURCHY

Made in association with SBS TV

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Music

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Fade up on Film Australia logo.

A National Interest Program

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Film Australia Ltd
© MCMXCVII

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Music

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