13 Nov 2012

Royal Commission Long Overdue

By Ben Eltham

Child abuse in the Catholic Church is so widespread that traditional legal redress won't achieve justice for victims. A carefully directed Royal Commission is a welcome step, writes Ben Eltham

The scandal in the Catholic Church that has finally forced the hand of politicians at both the state and federal level is widespread and long-lived. It has damaged the lives of hundreds, probably thousands, of young Australians. It has occurred with the tacit acknowledgement, and perhaps even the active protection, of a church hierarchy that appears to have put the interests of their institution ahead of the rights of victims.

For all of these reasons, the announcement of a wide-ranging Royal Commission of inquiry into child sex crimes by the Prime Minister is welcome. While we don't yet know the terms of reference — these are expected to be worked out before Christmas — the scope of the inquiry canvassed yesterday by Julia Gillard is remarkably ambitious.

It amounts to the investigation of systemic child sex crimes in all major institutions of the land — the churches, schools, sports clubs, non-government organisations and government agencies. A comparable inquiry in Ireland took 10 years.

For this reason there have already been calls this morning to place a deadline on the Royal Commission to prevent it stretching on forever; independent South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon has suggested a span of two years. The thinking appears to be that critical momentum will be lost if the inquiry is allowed to continue for years without at least an interim report being released. In addition, the constant drip-feed of horrendous revelations that seems likely also has the potential to act as an ongoing memory trigger for victims attempting to get on with their lives.

But a quick and dirty inquiry is scarcely in the interests of victims, of justice, or of Australian society at large. The Victorian Parliament is currently undertaking an inquiry of its own, but it lacks many of the powers of a fully fledged Royal Commission and is also constrained by its state jurisdiction. According to New South Wales Detective Inspector Peter Fox — the whistleblower whose public revelations seem finally to have forced politicians to act — there have been systematic attempts to transfer offending priests between Catholic dioceses and across state borders. Those such as Xenophon who are claiming that this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to "get it right" will need to bear in mind the complexity and the scale of the likely investigation.

Respected academic Scott Prasser has a measured piece in The Australian today about the powers and structure of Royal Commissions. "Royal commissions, although often chaired by current or former judges, are not courts of law," he points out. "They are appointed by executive government, are instruments of executive government and report to executive government." Prasser cautions that they "do not always get it right regarding their processes or findings".

But the reason we're even talking about a Royal Commission should be obvious: the normal avenues of legal redress have failed. Child sex abuse is a special category of crime in which victims often take years or decades to come forward.

Almost by definition, its victims are among the most powerless in our society — often wards of the state, or orphans in a religious institution. Worse, such crimes can be perpetrated by those with considerable social influence and prestige, not least the institutional power that has accrued to large transnational religious organisations.

In the recent hearings of the Victorian inquiry, for instance, evidence was presented of truly horrifying paedophilia perpetrated by an organised ring in the Hospitaller Order of St John of God, which ran orphanages in Melbourne's outer east from the 1960s to the 1980s. It appears that St John of God conducted its own internal investigation into the allegations in 1997, leading to a multi-million dollar settlement. Critics such as Broken Rites' Wayne Chamley point to the obvious conflicts of interest inherent in church organisations investigating themselves. Chamley also questions the validity and legality of compensation schemes such as the Melbourne Response, in which victims can come forward to make complaints to an extra-judicial church-appointed panel, in return for compensation.

The Victorian parliamentary inquiry has heard that the Catholic Church is keeping hundreds of internal files on sexual abuse complaints, files it is yet to release to either police or the Victorian inquiry. That would appear to put some uncomfortable context around the statement issued yesterday (pdf) by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference that, "it is unacceptable, because it is untrue, to claim that the Catholic Church does not have proper procedures, and to claim that Catholic authorities refuse to cooperate with the police".

The Royal Commission will no doubt attempt to get to the bottom of all this, but, in general, there seems to be an ongoing culture of denial among many dioceses of the Catholic Church in Australia regarding the scale of the sex abuse that has occurred under church auspices and inside church institutions. If the allegations raised by Peter Fox are true, it's much worse than that, with an active and coordinated effort made to cover up some of the gravest crimes imaginable. If this Royal Commission forces the church and the Australian community at large — including law enforcement agencies — to face up to the magnitude of the abuse that has occurred, then it may finally lay the groundwork for a society in which more children can be spared the horror of sexual and physical abuse.

Sexual abuse is ultimately a crime of power. Reading through the findings of the Irish Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, it becomes clear that several factors make children in institutions especially vulnerable to abuse.

The first and most important is the imbalance in power between a child and a perpetrator, especially within an institution where the victim is reliant on that very institution for food and shelter. The second is secrecy. The Irish Commission pointedly found that "witnesses reported that their sense of shame, the power of the abuser, the culture of secrecy and isolation and the fear of physical punishment inhibited them in disclosing abuse." The final factor is denial. As the melancholy chronicle of history records, terrible crimes are often swept under the carpet or otherwise excused, ignored or not properly investigated.

Given the similar structural factors at play — the power imbalances, the secrecy and the denial — it would be surprising if a similar pattern of widespread abuse was not found in Australia. The tragic reality is that cultures of violence and predation, once established, are tenacious and persistent. It has long been past time that Australia faced up to this terrible legacy. Now, finally, we will.

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This user is a New Matilda supporter. Marga
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 14:16

It is to be hoped that this time round the catholic church - and all the other child abusers - will not be able to wriggle themselves out of their responsibility. Hopefully they will be hit hard. They deserve it for utterly misusing the trust of the very young who are so totally defenceless, and making their lives a misery.
No doubt NM will have more reports on this.

Evan
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 14:42

I don't think limited in time and scope need mean 'quick and dirty'.

Do one small area thoroughly and then move on to the next area - learning all the time about how to do it.

Trying to do something huge all at once is a recipe for the delay of justice.

Tyronekay
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 15:15

Justice for the victims at last. I congratulate the government for biting the bullet and declaring a royal commission on paedophilia. To the Christian community, particularly Catholic I say, brace yourselves for some unpalatable revelations that may lead to a feeling of resentment, betrayal and a mass exodus of faithful from a tainted institution.

bobsta
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 15:18

The Sex Party was the first political party to call for a Royal Commission in 2009 and since then they have taken this policy to every state and federal election they have contested. Before that, the sex industry's Eros Association was the first to publish a list of paedophile priests in 2000 for which they copped enormous flack from federal MPs.
Religious politicians in the federal parliament like Bruce Baird wrote to them claiming that they had lost any credibility they had with federal politicians and that the publication of the list and the call for a Royal Commission were amongst the most disgraceful acts ever perpetrated in Australian society.
The problem that is not being acknowledged and which is unlikely to be exposed in the Royal Commission is that the church has infiltrated Australian Parliaments in a way that has caused this problem to be buried at a political level. Many state and federal politicians are complicit in this in that they have had information about the extent of child sex abuse and have failed to act on it before. All those heavily religious politicians from a previous era like the National's DeAnne Kelly and John Anderson, the old shoppies supporter, Senator Brian Harradine, Liberals like Guy Barnett and Julian McGauran and even Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott and Peter Costello all wear their religion on their sleeves and claim to be devout. They also claim that their faith makes them better politicians and electorally they raise their religious beliefs and affiliations to attract votes. So how did they miss this massive sexual assault of little children that was under their devout noses? They didn't. They just shut up about it. They now need to be asked questions about how much they knew and how well they were connected.

Frank from Frankston
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 15:27

I'm not convinced.
I don't believe any Government is going to go for the throat against pedophile priests.
Any pedophile and anyone - I mean anyone - who protects them are nothing more than common criminals and ought be jailed indefinitely.

Both the ALP and Coalition have an institutionalized resistance against doing anything constructive against Church based pedophilia.
Given the vague quality of the announcement, plenty of wriggle room is available to PM Gilliard and Co, as elections come close.

Also, my congratulations to the spinners on the government team and the many cooperative players in Australia's media.

This announcement of a forthcoming announcement has wiped almost all reference to the 100 million dollar corruption scandal in NSW from dominating the news cycle for days!

Well done. Few others would have the stomach to use victims of pedophilia in such a calculated fashion, but, you guys have "risen" to the occasion.

docjen
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 15:46

These statements also apply to abuse and exploitation of women by Catholic Clerics, something the Royal Commission ought extend itself to: Sexual abuse is ultimately a crime of power: the first and most important is the imbalance in power; the second is secrecy; thus their [vicitms] sense of shame, the power of the abuser, the culture of secrecy and isolation inhibit them in disclosing abuse.

docjen
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 15:51

feel better now bobsta and Frank?

This user is a New Matilda supporter. Lyn
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 16:47

Lyn
Not a Catholic (a non-believer) but worked for a Catholic institution 10 year ago. Other staff mainly Catholic and were very anti-Pell. One consistent complaint was that he shared a house with Father Risdale, a convicted abuser, and they felt Pell must have known this.

Geoffrey Andrews
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 18:21

I agree with Evan: concentrate on one institution, learn from this, then proceed on to the next institution.
As I write this, Cardinal Pell is using the word "scapegoat" to describe the "media campaign" against the Catholic Church.
"Scapegoat" is defined as an individual, group, or country singled out for unmerited negative treatment or blame. Note "unmerited"? The injustice of it all!

Ricky Ward
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 19:03

Good to hear this happening and let us see all guns blasting at this rotten institution the Roman Catholic church. They had the right idea in France in1792 when churches were stripped of their ornamental muck and turned into winter lodgings for cattle. La Madame Guillotine also was put to work seeing that clerics were more than defrocked.
It is also good that this Royal Commission is not only directed at the RC's. I live in Thailand where a corrupt clergy consume huge amounts of the nations resources extorted from a gullible and fearful people. Monks are also sworn to celibacy for the period of their monkhood and run many institutions where young boys are "schooled". Rumors about sexual misbehavior leak out from a secretive institution.
I doubt that justice for the crimes of these perverted institutions is possible as the number hurt in one way or another encompasses the whole of society.
However any institution which attempts to impose restrictions on the sexual behavior of consenting adults is guilty of perversion of the natural animal instincts of the people it would control. It therefore becomes responsible for any criminal sexual activity that these folk, who are not free, engage in.
Such institutions should be outlawed and all their assets confiscated by the state. The Bolsheviks had the right idea.

Atheistno1
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 19:37

Mention the workings of Frank Arkel & the world of politicians will come down on you like a ton of bricks but mention the Catholic Church in the same sentence & the world of religious 'believers' will join in on a great big Ostracism style attack on your whole life because the politicians protecting the church need somewhere to hide.

The hierarchy behind the support & protection are now screaming harder & louder in favor, since the pressure came to head the Premier's & Prime Minister to take the initiative of a Royal Commission into the institutions child sex abuse crimes. But I have to mention that Gillard hasn't claimed the Royal Commission will be investigating other specific parts of child abuse, but just the part of cover up by the Catholic Church & other institutions.

This should keep the politicians in play & without worry of incrimination but making sure the religious sector will be playing the politics to keep the waters muddy enough to cloud the majority of public imagination.

To be Continued........

Venise Alstergren
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 19:40

BOBSTA: Is right on the money when he talks about catholic infiltration of Federal parliament and State (VIC) parliaments. Federally the LNP coalition is stacked with fundamentalist-and non fundamentalist Catholics.

At the top there is Tony Abbott-Jesuit trained; Kevin Andrews-Jesuit trained; and numbers amongst its luminaries...Mathias Corman; Scott Morrison; Eric Abetz; Sophie Mirabella; Guy Burnett; Peter Ryan (NCP) VIC, and deputy Premier; David Clarke (If still in Liberal Party is known-with a degree of horror as Ratzinger's Right; Kelly O'Dwyer; Barnaby Joyce (NCP); George Brandis, Nick Minchin (Retired but interested in returning); Andrew Robb; Christopher Pyne; Don Farrell; John (the Blacksmith) Madigan DLP; Bill Shorten; Malcolm Turnbull; Geoff Wilson.

This is not to suggest all these people are responsible for the successful stone-walling of enquiries into the Catholic Church-just most of them. With the exception of Bill Shorten I haven't included Labor Party hard-line Catholics, because I haven't got around to them yet.

Police at all levels have been loaded with Catholics. Politicians and police have been a deadly antidote against transparency.

Last night, on Lateline, Father Frank Brennan was interviewed. He sounded so responsible and almost reasonable, until one realises the same man has vowed to go to gaol rather than allowing anyone to report a perpetrator's confessional. Meanwhile in Victoria the Premier, Ted Baillieu immediately capitulated to the Catholic Church declaring the confessional be exempt from mandatory reporting. (This refers to the enquiry into paedophilia in the Catholic Church being carried out in Victoria.)

George Pell, Cardinal....what a performance, until he was forced to acquiesce to the royal commission. The only comfort to be taken over the whole evil scenario is that Pell's campaign to become the next Pope will probably hit a brick wall. Not because of any dereliction towards children. Rather, it will fail because the whole thing blew up on his watch.

peggylor
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 20:37

Will the Heiner affair be included in the Royal Commission? ( Who shredded the evidence?) Will Kevin Rudd and Quentin Bryce be investigated?

http://www.heineraffair.info/site_pages/The_Heiner_Affair-Whats_it_all_a...
They include Prime Minister Kevin Rudd - Mr Goss's former chief-of-staff - the Governor-General Quentin Bryce, who took no action after requesting and receiving a report on the affair from then Premier Peter Beattie in 2003, and six serving Queensland judicial officers.

http://www.gwb.com.au/gwb/news/goss/
THIS (18 mBYTE DOWNLOAD), LINKED ABOVE, IS A PUBLIC DOCUMENT RELEASED IN AUGUST BY THE 2012 QUEENSLAND CHILD PROTECTION COMMISSION OF INQUIRY SO YOU MAY VIEW IT AND COMMENT ON ITS FINDINGS WITHOUT ANY FEARS OF BEING SUED FOR DEFAMATION. REMEMBER TO USE THE PASSWORD "Tsisrep2012" TO OPEN IT

More background information:

On 8 August 2012 - a date which may live long in Australian history - the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry (QCPCI) released the unredacted Rofe QC Audit of the Heiner Affair as a privileged public exhibit under the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1950.

It is now available for the world to read, discuss and quote from as a privileged public document.

It is, and shall be seen as, an historically important document in the political, legal, democratic life of this nation.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. DrGideonPolya
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 23:35

This Royal Commission is long overdue and one hopes that public indignation will ensure that the terms of reference are wide-ranging and fair dinkum.

I suspect from inputs from my own former significant connections (albeit as a non-Catholic) with a particular Catholic diocese that a substantial proportion of Australians with Catholic education and observance connections, would be aware of examples in their own diocese of sexual abuse of children by clerics and gross tardiness (to say the least) of hierarchy responses.

The repugnant sexual abuse of children by clergy is just the tip of the iceberg. Thus the authors of the "Little Children are Sacred" report were unable to quantify the incidence of child sexual abuse in Indigenous Communities in the Northern Territory but were able to quote an expert, scholarly Australian study that found that 34% of Australian women and 16% of men have been sexually abused as children.

The “Little Children are Sacred” Report found (p57) that “it is not possible to accurately estimate the extent of child sexual abuse in the Northern Territory's Aboriginal communities”, but nevertheless the Indigenous Community was specifically and extensively singled out and defamed in this respect in the Mainstream media and Parliament. In contrast, the massive sexual abuse of Australia children as a whole was of course ignored, even though the “Little Children are Sacred” Report reported that 34% of Australian women and 16% of men have been subject to sexual abuse as children. (see p235, the “Little Children are Sacred” Report: http://www.inquirysaac.nt.gov.au/pdf/bipacsa_final_report.pdf ). Further, the Howard Government implemented only two out of ninety-seven of the Report's recommendations.

Of course the pro-war, pro-Zionist, US lackey Lib-Labs (Liberal-Laborals, Coalition-Labor) are complicit in deadly, mass paedocidal child abuse in the post-1990 Iraqi Genocide and post-2001 Afghan Genocide in which under-5 infant deaths have totalled 2.0 million and 2.9 million, respectively, 90% avoidable and due to gross violation of the Geneva Convention by the US Alliance, including Australia.

Articles 55 and 56 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War unequivocally demand that an Occupier must provide its conquered subjects with life-sustaining food and medical re1quisites to the "fullest extent of the means available to it" (see: http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/full/380 ). Yet in Occupied Afghanistan (population 31 million) annual under-5 infant deaths total 191,000 as compared to 1,000 in Australia (population 23 million) (see "UNICEF": http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/ ).

Mass paedocides are far, far worse than evil and repugnant paedophiles.

Peace is the only way but Silence kills and Silence is complicity.

Stripling
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 17:00

The amount of stories that people have told me [just one person] over the years, forces the conclusion that the problem is systemic.
I don't know whether 2 years would be enough just to form a case list, but certainly it has to start somewhere.
I didn't have a religious upbringing or go to a Catholic or Anglican school but just listening to people describe that experience is eye opening so the mind boggles as to what an orphanage was/is like.

Hopefully this might be the beginning of a more open society.

bladeofgrass
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 18:18

Isn't this all a bit like going after Nike for using sweatshop labour, as happened a few years ago, and giving all the other footwear companies a free pass?

bladeofgrass
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 18:33

Sorry, I'd like to retract that last statement. If this organisation has failed to live up to its own moral standards, let it take the consequences. But let us also remember that millions of us in this country were educated in its schools, and whilst I personally remember many Christian brothers and lay teachers as deeply flawed individuals, sex crimes were never a part of my experience.

Venise Alstergren
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 20:15

I'm just wondering if it occurs to anyone that the reason the Catholic Church is so full of priestly paedophilia is precisely because of the secrets of the confessional? The very thing which Father Frank Brennan swears he will go to gaol for, rather than agree to a law which allows mandatory reporting of the confessional. Cardinal Pell is bitterly opposed to the same concept. Whereas in Victoria, our less than illustrious Premier, Ted Baillieu, has already outlawed this sort of coverage.

So, a priest who is a paedophile and confesses his crimes to another priest, will not be facing a trial because only the other priest will know about it.

What a wonderful system. Not!

Atheistno1
Posted Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 05:11

Venise, people have been asking the same question about the Church being the main institution for paedophilia for decades & psychological studies have been manipulated at all levels in order to refute any claims which may come close to it.

It is the same as asking why children have been the main concern of Government welfare groups & why they are removed at the drop of a hat & given to Foster care. The Aboriginals had been hit with religious excuses, just as parents Out Of Wedlock were & women tied to the bed with their faces covered as they stole the child & as we see Pru Goward now trying & weasel her way around an excuse for stealing children from parents with disabilities.

It is a religious/political institution with people in power having teeny tiny little tortured brains that 'believe' because of their religion, instead of knowing due to scientific fact. Also having the power to instigate political assassination to any complainant/victim that has the gut's to identify their criminal actions.

Secrecy is the major factor in any communistic act of government who needs to hide their criminal conduct. Just as a drug addict want's any person who knows or does not approve of their habitual behavior & want's to keep them in fear, suppressed & silenced from the rest of society.

I welcome the Royal commission even though it might sound as though I don't, but I stress that the government makes it an investigation with a group of people who do not have a conflict of interest, such as religious or government groups.

Ken Fabos
Posted Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 08:20

Cardinal Pell has pushed the line that there is a vendetta against the Catholic Church, particularly by some Greens MP's, over this issue - certainly they have pushed for an enquiry, but they are hardly alone in that. However, given that all students at a local Catholic School were sent home with anti-Green political propaganda prior to the last NSW State election that was a slightly more restrained version of Pell's 'green paganist' rhetoric, I'm not so sure about who is running a vendetta against whom! He is clearly politically partisan and the strength of his abhorrence of 'green' progressive social policies could be a big part of the reason he can't dissociate the reality and seriousness of environmental issues and climate science from his deep dislike of the voices that speak loudest about them.

The sexual abuse issue definitely needs sorting, although I will say that I personally think that the prevention of further abuse and cover-up of abuse should be the overriding priority; the urge to see bad people being harshly punished mean that politicians and activists use it to press peoples buttons. In that process clear headed good judgment gets lost in the surge of emotion. It is crucial that mob justice doesn't replace weight of evidence and thoughtful and considered responses.

Dr Dog
Posted Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 09:10

Whether it be covering up for abusive priests or protecting abusers via the confessional, it seems to me that the real problem is the refusal of the Catholic church specifically to acknowledge that secular law comes before their interpretation of God's law.

The church will never admit that they have no authority to protect priests. they will not give up the sanctity of the confessional. To do so would be to admit that they have no authority to direct other aspects of our lives, such as who we have sex with, who we marry, what we do with our time and who gets to forgive us for our misdeeds.

The theme of revenge on the posts above show how many people feel damaged by the actions and inactions of the Catholic church. I myself find it attractive to imagine Pell and other high-handed churchmen dragged into the modern age by their well shod heels.

Nevertheless I hope the commission does its best work in developing systems and responses that ensure that a child or young person experiencing abuse can make that abuse stop and that perpetrators will never be allowed to remain in a position to abuse others. This needs to include those in families as well as institutions.

The Catholic evidence for being somehow above the law originates only with them. They tell us God's will then use that to somehow exclude themselves from the earthly consequences of their actions. This circular logic must be smashed and the rule of law applied.

Other institutions that place themselves above the law must also be held to account.

Cadwallon1969
Posted Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 12:23

Interesting to reflect on former NSW Labor MP Franca Arena's fall from grace in the 1990s over her allegations of a major criminal conspiracy to cover up a paedophile network. She was dismissed as a crank at the time...

She did however tend to confuse homosexuality with paedophilia, and was very intemperate with her use of parliamentary privilege. Interesting to reflect that the Catholic Church seems to treat consenting homosexual sex between adult men and women as evil, but seems to see paedophilia as something to be covered up and 'treated'.

I always wonder at the special status of churches in our secular society. How is it that priests and members of religious orders are not dealt with by the full force of the law? Why would we trust them to do the right thing? The sanctity of the confessional needs to be done away with - everyone else has to mandatorily report child abuse and crimes - why not priests?

Dr Dog
Posted Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 14:57

She was a crank. I will never forgive her for spitefully killing off the decriminalisation of cannabis.

Venise Alstergren
Posted Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 17:31

ATHEISTNO1: Completely agree with you.

KEN FABOS: The truth must be arrived at. Ditto its remedy.

If all of the men who are guilty of indulging in paedophilia, or by covering up the other priests whom they knew to be guilty, feel they are being picked on, so be it.

DR DOG: Yes, the Church does think it is above the law. The Church has managed to convince the more simple minded of its members there is a direct line from God which passes on to royalty and then to the leaders of the various Christian churches. As with dictators, this propaganda works very well.

The Pope believes he is above the law thanks to a very nasty deal done between the Catholic Church and Mussolini called the Lateran Treaty (Signed 1929.) In essence, Mussolini agreed to be nice to the Catholic Church, and the Pope was able to have declared a large slice of the Vatican's land declared to be the Holy See. As an 'absolute monarchy' its head is the Pope. As with many other heads of state, the Pope is, indeed, above the law. As we know the law to exist.

All of this can be read in Geoffrey Robertson's 'The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse'. The position of the current Pope, Ratzinger, who came from the CDF is of huge importance to the Church's present position on priestly child abusers.

LifeMasque
Posted Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 18:41

I read through a lot of Broken Rites website a few years ago. Even at that stage, over a hundred priests, brothers and catholic teachers had received custodial sentences, and more than that had received non custodial sentences largely due to extreme age and bad health.

Georgey Porgey Pell still thinks this focus is unfair? Tough toenails.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. DrGideonPolya
Posted Saturday, November 17, 2012 - 00:51

On 15 November 2012, the Age On-line published an article by Waleed Aly of Monash University and the ABC re “Choir of dissent off-key on the sanctity of confession”: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/choir-of-dissent-offkey-on-the... . I posted some careful comments under my name but these were censored out by The Age which nevertheless published 433 overwhelmingly anonymous comments.

Below is what The Age evidently did not want its readers to read, know or think about (see "Censorship by The Age": https://sites.google.com/site/mainstreammediacensorship/censorship-by-th... ).

CENSORED COMMENT (link inserted for your convenience): "There is another kind of confessional in our society and that is represented by expert scholarly research and expert commissions of inquiry. Yet in the area of horrendous child abuse in Australia such truth-finding is resolutely ignored by a society that prefers to concentrate on admittedly repugnant paedophile Catholic clergy and other Catholic religious personnel to the exclusion of 99% of the child sexual abuse in Australia.

Thus the "Little Children are Sacred" Report was unable to quantify the extent of child sexual abuse in NT Indigenous communities (p57) but quoted scholarly research indicating that 34% of Australian women and 16% of Australian men have been sexually abused as children (pp234-236). Using UN Population Division data this translates to 3.0 million Australian women and 1.4 million Australian men having been sexually abused as children as compared to estimates of those abused by Catholic clerics ranging from 3,000 (as estimated by the Catholic Church) to 40,000 (by anti-abuse activists) i.e. from 0.06% to 0.9% of total child sexual abuse (for details see "Horrendous Australian child sexual abuse. Mainstream media ignore 4.4 million victims", MWC News, 15 November 2012: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/22859-gideonpolya-sexual-abuse.html ).

Yet the Australian Labor Government (which has an appalling record of violating child rights) excludes 99% of the problem from Royal Commission consideration. END CENSORED COMMENT.

It is not just clerics who are trying to keep horrendous Australian child sexual abuse under wraps. I agree that the Royal Commission into repugnant child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church and other institutions is long overdue but unfortunately the endlessly dishonest Labor Government has excluded 99% of Australian child sexual abuse from consideration by the Royal Commission.

Decent people will punish Labor for its endless, spin-driven mendacity that is utterly intolerable in relation to an issue as important as sexual abuse of 4.4 million Australian children - decent people will vote 1 Green and put Labor last.

Peace is the only way but Silence kills and Silence is complicity.

Atheistno1
Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 01:58

Dr Dog
Posted Thursday, 15 November 12 at 9:10AM:

I have to give credit where credit is due & your post deserves the full credit.

Dr Polya, thanks for the references of other sites & the information they contain, I posted them on twitter, Facebook & google+ Good stuff, thanks.