Santamaria sparks youth integrity push

06 May 2009

By The Record

By Anthony Barich
A new youth movement is rising up to carry on the work of the late Catholic activist BA Santamaria to restore sexual integrity and defend the family for the benefit of Australian society.

The movement, called RISE (Restoring Integrity and Sexual Ethics) was started this year by members of Thomas More Centre Youth and has over 500 members on the social networking site facebook. It aims to challenge modern standards on sexual integrity by promoting life-giving love.
The Thomas More Centre is an offshoot of the National Civic Council, a mainly Christian lobby group started by Santamaria, whose ability to gather support in opposition to Communism led to the infamous Labor Party Split in 1954, after which the ALP was kept out of government for 23 years.
Since then his work has been carried on through the NCC and the Australian Family Association, but its effectiveness has waned since Santamaria’s death in 1998.
AFA national vice-president Mary-Louise Fowler told The Record that RISE is doing what Santamaria would have ‘The Movement’ do in today’s age – morph with the times. She called the advent of RISE a “significant development”.
“The founders of RISE have stated that it is theirs and their children’s futures that are at stake if marriage is not strengthened. They want to be heard,” Mrs Fowler said in a joint statement with Neil and Jane Rookes, executive directors of the National Marriage Coalition.
“There needs to be a concerted effort to promote a renewed culture of marriage within our nation without in any way belittling the heroic efforts of those who raise their children in less than ideal situations.”
RISE already has over 80 members on facebook since a dozen mainly Catholic youth from Sydney and Melbourne initiated the youth movement after meeting in Canberra last December with members of the National Marriage Coalition (NMC) who had organised the first Sexual Integrity Forum in 2005 at Canberra Parliament House.
“RISE was set up to ensure young people from around Australia could relate to a group which represents their views on sexual integrity, and its importance,’ said Matthew Restall, its president.
“RISE is a non-religious group which is run by young people, for young people, who want to share and develop what used to seemingly be a select minorities secret on how to live a life of sexual integrity.”
Mrs Fowler said that though the AFA and others in the marriage and family movement have worked for many years to promote the social good of marriage, and despite “volumes of research demonstrating beyond doubt the positive contribution that intact, stable marriages make to the well-being of children and society”, little has happened on the policy front to really foster the formation of stable, married couple families.
“While divorce levels may have plateaued, de facto and lone parent families continue to increase. If this trend is not halted, Australia will most certainly see a ballooning of the factors that contribute to a social divide between high income married parent families and low income single and defacto parent families and a poverty spiral, with its attendant social consequences.”
RISE will also produce a report on August 12, which will launch its platform that declares that the youth of Australia will no longer sit idly by and watch the loss of sexual integrity eat away at Australian society.
For more info on RISE, email

National Marriage Day push for Australian calendar

The National Marriage Coalition is petitioning the Federal Government to install National Marriage Day on August 13 – the anniversary of the Act being passed – into the National Calendar.
The NMC, formed initially by the Australian Family Association, the Fatherhood Foundation and the Australian Christian Lobby, mobilised a campaign leading up to the passing of the Marriage Amendment Act in 2004.
RISE (Restoring Integrity and Sexual Ethics) is working to secure an international speaker at a workshop on August 12, the day before the NMC will hold a National Marriage Day Breakfast at the Great Hall of Parliament House in Canberra, but organisers need to raise $17,500 so the 80 attendees don’t have to pay more than $195.
Fore more info on the NMC contact 02 4272 9100 or email