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Compassion didn’t suit a 1950’s capitalistic, conservative society that demanded a manageable, commercially productive population.

Australia’s coercive, self-interested and power-hungry political and religious leaders contrived a stable, predictable family unit whose movement was constrained by mortgage, employment opportunity or poverty; its reliability guaranteed by the need to earn a substantial income on low wages: its hope, succour, values and ethics provided by State dependent, demanding Churches; its youth, except for the elite, were herded into public schools focussed on training rather than education; and its cultural and health policies aimed at encouraging combative sport and traditional family roles while limiting sex outside marriage. The term for those functioning within this structure was respectable.

It suited the Churches to play on this descriptor to ensure their congregations were coherent, bonded and faithful, and their parishes prosperous and tithes generous. Unfortunates born outside of the norm were considered illegitimate, and if this stigma were known, it could adversely affect employment and social standing. So for those adopters wishing to have an acquired child participate fully in the emerging wealth of 50’s society, adoption avoided the burden of illegitimacy. And the adopters’ political representatives continually adjusted social gearing to suit the interests of the mainly middle-class supporters. In return, the politicians were rewarded with votes and influence. As they are now.

 

Compassion didn’t suit a 1950’s capitalistic, conservative society that demanded a manageable, commercially productive population.