Mrs Rona Joyner, pioneer Queensland morals crusader, died over the weekend aged 99. Despite holding no elected office, Rona Joyner managed to have sex education banned in Queensland schools and, by her own count, achieved the banning of 49 books and magazines.
Rona Joyner fought for the installation of a ‘Christian mono-culture’ over Australian life. She insisted her God enjoyed supremacy over the elected state and federal governments.
“Remember Western civilization is based on the fact that the individual derives his freedoms and his rights from God’s laws, not from the State.”
Rona wielded immense power as head of two small morals organisations, CARE (Campaign Against Regressive Education) and STOP (Society To Outlaw Pornography). She never achieved popular support. In fact, she was, in the main, an object of scorn and ridicule. But she had the ear of authoritarian fundamentalist premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen. That’s all that mattered in 1970s Queensland.
The Hillbilly Dictator himself never achieved popular support. At one stage, the gerrymandered political system gifted him control of the government despite his Country (later National) Party winning only 20% of the vote.
Batshit crazy but lovely
This writer once enjoyed a long, private discussion with Rona Joyner. And by ‘enjoyed’, I mean enjoyed. Despite beliefs bordering on the batshit crazy, she was delightful in person. More than merely polite, she was friendly and a lively conversationalist.
Rona Joyner adopted a harridanish persona in public — hectoring and shouting over journalists and politicians alike. But in private, she listened and discussed. However, she never changed her mind. Like Mrs Thatcher, the woman was ‘not for turning’.
I sat bemused as Rona told me over a cup of tea about the cunning Soviet plot to take over the world. Those wily communists had recruited the young Beatles in Germany and convinced them to grow their hair long. That prompted young Western men all over the world to follow suit. Soon, according to Rona, the masculine Marxists would overwhelm effeminate, long-haired, lily-livered, Western peaceniks and instal a Godless one-world government. That, of course, would herald the Apocalypse and the return of the Saviour.
Yeah. Okay. Righto…
Unfortunately, nice as she was, Rona Joyner and her ilk were directly responsible for untold suffering in Queensland and beyond. Mrs Joyner’s influence waned following the removal of Bjelke-Petersen from office. She popped up occasionally afterwards as a curiosity from days gone by. However, she lost many of her protestant followers when she converted to Catholicism in 2006. We too quickly forget that our fundamentalist far-right enemies often hate each other more than they hate we sinners.
Rona Joyner will be buried tomorrow following a Traditional Catholic Latin Mass.
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