In addition to the election of one of their own, Jorge Bergoglio from Argentina as pope, the Jesuit order has seized power in Australian politics in an unprecedented shift toward Jesuit-educated political leaders.
It culminated in the election of Jesuit-educated Bill Shorten as leader of the opposition Labor Party. That’s in addition to the Prime Minister Tony Abbott; Treasurer, Joe Hockey; finance minister, Mathias Corman; Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne; and Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce. Also, Liberal MPs Kevin Andrews, David Gillespie and Dan Telhan are also in the club. “During the three-way Liberal leadership contest between Malcolm Turnbull, Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott, all three men consulted with Jesuit priests.” There is at least one other at the state level, New South Wales Liberal Premier Nick Greiner.
“Yes, it’s amazing, isn’t it?” said one Liberal Jesuit. “‘[Expletive] man, they are everywhere. It’s worse than Opus Dei…’ said a non-Jesuit [trained] Catholic MP.”
Known as “Soldiers of the Church,” or “God’s Marines,” the Jesuits have a “long history of producing MPs and Senators, including former Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer and former Victoria Deputy Premier Pat McNamara. Never before have there been so many Jesuit-educated men at the heart of Australian politics.” And at the heart of politics they are! Think about it, Jesuit-educated men are in charge of the top two political roles, money and finance management, education and food production, as well as legislative and other political roles.
“The rise of Jesuit-educated politicians in Australia is a remarkable conjunction in political leadership: a situation so rare that it may even be a first in the Western world.” And these won’t be the last apparently. “The rise of students from these schools is not a fluke but a consequence of the history, and sociology of Australian political parties…”
While most leaders educated at these elite schools are conservative, there have also been some among the Labor Party as well, such as the late Don Dunstan, former Premier of South Australia, Anthony Albanese and Gough Whitlam. Having these people in both political parties should be no surprise. Jesuits, and their students, have historically played roles on both ends of the political spectrum so that they can shape the future of the political order. It is often called the Hegelian dialectic where opposing sides guide the ultimate destination of any issue.
Though secondary school training may not be the only factor in the trajectory of a graduate’s life, Jesuit education instills a common understanding and way of thinking. Graduates of these schools know the ultimate direction the church thinks a nation should go. When they get in power, some take a conservative approach and some may take a liberal approach. But it serves the purposes of the church to have both sides under Jesuit management as much as possible.
The Jesuits have a higher profile than other types of educational background among leaders, such as Anglican or Presbyterian education, or even other types of Catholic education, partly because of the notoriety that Pope Francis has given to the order. However, there are other Catholics in Australian politics as well, such as Andrew Robb in the Abbott Ministry, and Stephen Conroy in the Shorten Shadow Ministry. They may not have the Jesuit mindset and training, but they can still influence the outcome as well. The Victorian government is also under the control of the Catholic-aligned Democratic Labor Party.
“When appearing as members of their order, [the Jesuits] wore a garb of sanctity, visiting prisons and hospitals, ministering to the sick and the poor, professing to have renounced the world, and bearing the sacred name of Jesus, who went about doing good… [But] under various disguises the Jesuits worked their way into offices of state, climbing up to be the counselors of kings, and shaping the policy of nations… They established colleges for the sons of princes and nobles, and schools for the common people.” The Great Controversy, page 235