Thursday, August 6, 2009

Doc Evatt (Thanks, Matt)

The next several posts are Matt-suggested.

I don't know who Doc Evatt is. Is is he a sports guy?

I ask that because I know Matt has given me at least two sports people. I hope not too many of the others are in sports. I avoid sports stuff.

But I shouldn't avoid them completely. I know that. Sports is important to Australia. And the sports people Matt gave me are super famous. It would be a disgrace to continue to neglect them.

I shall go start my research and find out if Evatt is a sports man.

Okay. No he is not a sports man.

Doc Evatt was a politician. He was the Labor Party's Leader of the Opposition from 1951-1960. What Liberal guy was in power back then? I know Holt was part of the time. Who came before him? Was it Menzies? Well, I'll probably run into that information while researching Evatt.

Baby Doc (actually Herbert) was born on 30 April 1894.

Birthday website time!

He's a Taurus.

In numerology, he's an 11. That's a master number.

He shares a birthday with Kirsten Dunst and Willie Nelson.

Baby Herbert was born in Maitland, New South Wales. That sounds very familiar to me...and not just like I saw it on a map. I feel I've read about it before. Maybe one of my other research victims had lived there?

Well, Lord Wiki lists people from there and I don't think I've written about any of them.

I don't know.

Maybe I did see it on a map.

I'm going to look at Google Maps right now.

Well, it's an hours west of Port Stephens. We've been there. Maybe when researching Port Stephens, I saw information about Maitland?

Evatt attended the prestigious school....Fort Street High School. Someone I read about recently went there. Who?

Well, I can't find the person. But a huge list of famous people went there.

Oh! I think I found it. John Kerr. Maybe that's it. Although I didn't write about him THAT recently. I think I wrote about him a few months ago.

Evatt attended the University of Sydney. He got degrees in law and philosophy. I guess he was somewhat popular because, at one point, he was president of the student union. I'm guessing that's a voted position.

Because of eye sight problems, he was unable to do World War I. I wonder if he was upset about that; or relieved. I think in these days, we eagerly seek out ways to avoid joining the war. But I think in those days people actually WANTED to fight.

Two of Evatt's brothers were killed in the war.

I can't imagine how a parent feels in such a situation.

Evatt became a lawyer. Lord Wiki says he was prominent.

In 1925, he was elected to the New South Wales Labor Party club. He became member for Balmain.

Who is the member for Balmain now? I'm suddenly curious.

It's a woman named Verity Firth. She has quite an expression on her face in the photo. It looks like she's saying. Are you nuts?

Evatt did the Member for Balmain thing for five years.

Then he was appointed to be a justice in the High Court of Australia. Lord Wiki says he was the youngest justice ever. Let me do my math.....

He would have been thirty-four. I guess that's young for a judge.

Evatt was involved with the case regarding Egon Kisch. I actually heard of that man. He was talked about in this book I read. I forgot what was so interesting about this guy. I think he protested something?

Lord Wiki says he was a European Jewish guy who was anti-Nazi. I'm guessing most European Jews WERE anti-Nazi. What makes this Kisch guy so special?

Well, he was very left-wing AND Communist.

He was kicked out of Germany.

He tried to come to Australia. Australia government tried to keep him out.

What the government would do is give unwanted people this really hard test. Usually, they targeted Asians and not Europeans. But Kisch was given the test. He actually passed parts of the test, but then failed another. He said screw this, and jumped off his ship to swim to Melbourne. The poor guy broke his leg.

And now this is where Evatt comes into the picture. The High Court ruled the test had been unfair. Kisch was no longer considered an illegal immigrant.

I like that story. It's quite interesting.

In 1940, Evatt resigned from the High Court thing. He wanted to go back into politics. He was elected into Federal Parliament via the seat of Barton. That's the seat that Robert McClelland has now. Oh! It's the seat with the whole murder thing. I forgot about that. Have I added the murderer to my list? I hope so! Let me go check.

Yes, I did.


John Curtin got into power in 1941. At this time, Evatt became Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs. Isn't Robert McClelland the Attorney-General as well? Is that what happens to the Barton people? Are they the best at being Attorney-General?

Evatt was heavily involved with the formation of the United Nations. Cool!

I actually don't know much about the United Nations. We've been to their building in New York. Jack bought a flag at the gift shop.

But I'm wondering....does it truly do any good? We're still having wars and all that.

Lord Wiki says Japan and the United States provide the most funding to the UN. That's interesting.....

From 1948-1949, Evatt was president of the UN General Assembly. That sounds pretty prestigious. It's almost like being president of the whole world.

Lord Wiki says he was involved with the stuff that lead to the formation of Israel. That's funny because Lord Wiki says the UN has had criticism lately about it being anti-Israel.

The current President of the United Nations is a guy from Nicaragua.

Evatt helped to draft something called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Can you imagine what the world would be like if countries actually followed all these human rights guidelines?

It's so incredibly sad to read some of these guidelines.

No one shall be subjected to torture, or to cruel or inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile.

Hello George W. Bush and John Howard? Did you forget to read that stuff?

Various people have various problems with some of the laws. I read one that annoyed me a bit. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Then I scrolled down a bit and saw I'm not the only one to want to protest. Lord Wiki says proponents of unschooling take issue with it. We're unschoolers. So, there you go. I don't believe elementary education should be compulsory. Maybe LEARNING could be compulsory. But the thing about learning is you don't HAVE to make it a rule. It's actually impossible to get kids to stop learning. The only way to do it would be to kill them, or tie them up in a dark closet. I think there SHOULD be a law against killing and dark closets imprisonment. But all that could go under the torture and cruel treatment article.

Unschoolers aren't the only ones to bitch about the articles. Some Islamic people believes their Shari'a Law isn't taken into account.

Libertarians and some conservatives think in order to provide for some people, you have to negate other people's rights. They don't like that whole Robin Hood thing. Don't take our money and give it to the poor. It's OUR money!

I don't know.

I think the United Nations was one of those things that is good in THEORY, but probably doesn't help much in reality.

It's like parenting and diet books. You read them and think THIS can change my life. I'll be thin! I'll be the best mom. I'll have the best behaved children. Why doesn't everyone follow these rules?

Yeah. Life is never that easy.

In 1951, Evatt became Labor Party leader. I WAS right before. Menzies was the Prime Minister.

Lord Wiki says he campaigned against Menzies attempt to amend the constitution to ban the Communist Party. The wording of that confuses me. Did Menzies want to ban the Communist party, or was he trying to amend the ban against communism? I'm guessing it was the former since Evatt did defend that Jewish communist guy.

Well, here we go. Lord Wiki says moderates in the Labor Party were unhappy with this. They didn't want communism defended or protected. So, Menzies wanted to change the constitution and put in a ban against communism. Evatt prevented that from happening. Some people in the Labor Party were unhappy with it.

I got it!

I think?

Evatt thought he was going to win the election in 1954. He thought he'd be able to put Prime Minister on his resume. But sadly that did not happen. Evatt blamed the Catholic industrial groups for his loss. He also believed there was some kind of conspiracy going on between Menzies and some Soviet thing.

The Petrov Affair. It's a spy thing in Australia. I'm not in the mood to read into it.

It seems Evatt was quite angry about losing. He publicly attacked his fellow Labor Party people. It caused a big battle. People were expelled. People resigned. And a new party was formed....the Democratic Labor Party.

This all sounded so familiar to me. Then Lord Wiki helped me remember. This is what Arthur Calwell was involved with. Remember how he was torn between the Labor Party and his Catholic religion?

I'm trying to figure out if the DLP was the anti-communist one or the un-anti-communist one.

I think it was anti-communist, but I could be misreading something.

Lord Wiki says Evatt had an obsessive hatred of Menzies. It seems this hatred interfered with his life and work. He lost more elections.

At one point, he made a dramatic gesture. He said he'd resign from the Labor Party if the Democratic Labor Party people would come back onboard. They said no.

In 1960, he was put back in the courts. He became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Some people say the reason he was given this job was so he could have a dignified exit from politics.

Lord Wiki says his performance in the Supreme Court was very mediocre compared to his performance in the High Court.

Is this the story of a man who's hatred and anger got the best of him?

Is there a lesson here? Probably.

I get a bit obsessed with people who I feel have wronged me. It's not good because you end up wasting your time on them. My motto is to pay more attention to the people who have RIGHTED you. But yeah. It's hard to follow that rule sometimes.

In 1962 Evatt suffered a nervous breakdown. Sad.

Did his hatred of Menzies cause the breakdown? Or did his mental illness cause his hatred of Menzies?

Mental health is so incredibly complicated.

Some folks say Evatt had undiagnosed mental illnesses and this caused his erratic behavior. Others disagree.

I think it can be a mixture of things.

A few months ago, I had some difficult issues happening in my life. They came from outside sources, but they caused inner conflict. I was depressed. I had insomnia. I had trouble eating. I had a eating disorder relapse. I was a mess. If people hadn't said hurtful things to me, that wouldn't have happened. So I do believe exterior factors can cause mental illness. But then your own self plays a part. Another person might have encountered what I encountered and suffered no ill effects. They might have shrugged their shoulders and laughed it off. Their brain chemistry and past experiences might allow them to do such a thing. On other hand, other people might have been much worse off than me. I got over it all within a few weeks. Other people might have committed suicide over it. They might have had a complete nervous breakdown and ended up in a mental hospital.

Some of us are a little less mentally stable than others. We all don't deal with conflict equally well.

My friend came over recently and we talked about what we usually somewhat avoid...politics and religion. We are SO different. Her beliefs are shocking to me. I think my beliefs are shocking to her. She is so very much on the right. I'm so very much on the left. But guess what. She is still my best friend here. I love her so much. I have been conditioned to understand that you can disagree strongly with someone and still adore them. Other people can't handle that. They can't handle differences of opinion. It makes them mentally unstable. And if those people are in politics, I can imagine life is VERY difficult for them.

My feeling is we're all different. We're all good at handling some stuff and bad at handling other stuff.

I'm fairly good at handling disagreement. I'm used to being around people who have different beliefs than me.

I'm HORRIBLE at handling dishonesty and invalidation. Those are my weak spots. Why am I telling you people my weak spots? Am I crazy?

Well...there you go. Now you guys know how to make me cry.

I should go look on another website about this Evatt guy.

Here's a whole website about him. It's a foundation. I think it's for the arts. Evatt and his wife were into that stuff.

Well, no. It's not just art. They promote social justice, equality, and human rights.

The foundation was established in 1979. That's after Evatt was already dead.

The website has an article about an Evatt biography. Actually it's a transcript of the speech that the author of the book made.

She alludes to Evatt being a feminist. She says something about Evatt tearing strips off someone for making sexist remarks. That must be some kind of Australian saying.

Well, this online dictionary says it's Australian and British. It's scolding someone when you've feel they've done wrong.

I hadn't heard that before. Cool. I'm glad to have learned something new.

The biography author seems really fond of Evatt.

I think he does sound like a good person. I feel he might be a bit idealistic. He wanted the world to be a better and kinder place.

I think I'm like that too. I have high expectations. I want people to be more honest. I want people to be more understanding. I want to people to be less selfish. I want people to be less wasteful. I want people to be less cruel. All of us people fail to fit my high ideals and I get angry at all of us. I sometimes feel so...hopeless.

Here's an editorial about Evatt. It's written by a guy named Shane Elson. Who are you, Shane Elson?

Well, I guess he's an Australian with an opinion. I guess what he has here is a blog. I'm not sure.

Anyway, I'll read the editorial.

He says Faith Bandler was one of Evatt's supporters. I'm getting this feeling that Shane Elson is NOT a Evatt supporter. I see some foreshadowing here. He says, It seems from the historical record that 'Doc' was indeed a champion of those who suffered injustice and discrimination.

It SEEMS. I'm betting Shane Elson is going to tell us that all is not always what it seems to be.

I think Elson is saying something similar to what I said earlier. He talks about how Evatt did all this stuff in the name of human rights and justice. He helped start the United Nations. He helped write up all these articles to protect people.

Faith Bandler feels he did stuff to help Indigenous Australians.

Yet people still suffer. Indigenous Australians still suffer.

Shit still goes on in the world.

Ah. He's talking about the intervention stuff. Shane Elson's main point is Indigenous Australians are still treated unfairly.

I can't disagree with him.

What is it?

Are we just destined to continue treating each other like shit?

You know what.....

Yeah. I think we are.

We can't save the world. It's impossible. The good we do will always be counteracted by other people doing bad. There will always be war. There will always be torture. There will always be unfairness. There will always be poverty. There will always be ridiculous hypocrisy.

Do I think we should give up...throw in the towel?

No, I don't think we should.

I think we should continue to fight for good. I just think we need to understand that we're never going to be able to save the whole world. We just have to do the best we can.

Shane Elson says:

We should be shamed as a nation that our leaders proclaim outrage at what Robert Mugabe is doing in Zimbabwe, and it is an outrage, while they allow similar conditions to prevail here, on our turf. We should feel shame that while we proclaim our “success” on sporting fields, we continue to ignore the poverty that exists in places we would never visit. We should be shamed that as we give Christmas gifts to each other this year, hundreds of Aboriginal children will be denied that simple pleasure because our government chooses to withdraw their access to 'disposable income.

Now I'm too ignorant about world history and politics to know if that comparison is completely applicable. BUT I do think Elson shows a good illustration of the hypocrisy I talk about. I think this is probably one of the biggest causes of world problems. We're all such damn hypocrites. We prefer condemning other people rather then ourselves.

Americans and Australians love to bitch about Israel. I want to say. Hello people! Look at your own countries. Okay?

Have you ever been criticized for doing something by people who had recently done the exact same thing to you? I have, so I assume you guys have too.

It's nuts.

I really think we're all hypocrites. And the sooner we face that, the better off we'll all be.

One time my friend and I sat across from each other having a deep friend-bonding type talk. She vented about people who had hurt her in the recent past. I vented about someone who had hurt me in the recent past.

The ironic thing is this: This friend and I once had a drama within our own friendship. No, that in itself isn't ironic. What friendship DOESN'T have drama?

But what she complained about her friends? In some ways, she had done the same thing to me. What I complained about? I had done the almost the same thing to my friend. Here we are complaining about stuff done by others and we had done the same EACH OTHER.

I think my friend recognized the irony too because she re-apologized. And then I re-apologized.

I think every single time someone hurts us, we need to ask one simple question. Have I ever done the same thing to someone else?

If we all asked that question, I bet the world WOULD be a much better place.

I'm going to end this now.

And of course, there's NO way I could end this post without this video. It's hard to watch that video without crying.


  1. I like the part where you repeat "I'm jealous I'm not jealous,"

  2. Jack,

    Thanks : )

    I think you might be talking about an old post. ????

  3. Hi Dina,
    Doc Evatt is one of my favorite Australian as i like what he stood for and i believe he was the best PM we never had.
    I do think he lost his marbles after losing the '54 election and i don't think it helped that he had to constantly defend himself against being labeled a communist not only by the liberals but also from within his own party, which of course caused the split and kept Labor out of power until Whitlam's '72 election victory.

  4. Matt,

    I really liked reading about him.

    I do believe that having to constantly defend yourself can cause a nervous breakdown.

    It's hard to feel so isolated.

  5. Self realization is a tricky thing isn't it? I love hearing people's perceptions of themselves. Good and interesting post.

  6. Laura,

    Thanks : )

    Yeah. And I do think self-realization is totally tricky.