Australia is supposed to be a classless society with all of us being equal in the eyes of the law and Justice is supposed to be blind? Supposed to be.
Absolutely horrifying figures on abuse in the Catholic Church were released by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (#CARoyalCommission). Just watching the proceedings made me cry, reading the report itself “Proportion of Priests and non-ordained religious subject to a claim of sexual abuse 1950-2010” reduced me to a blubbering mess. The Guardian - through good work of Christopher Knaus – probably summarised the statistics best:
- 4,444 victims: extent of abuse in Catholic church in Australia revealed
- 37% of all private sessions royal commission held with survivors related to the Catholic church
- The average age of alleged victims was 10.5 for girls and just over 11.5 for boys
- In one order 40% of religious brothers are believed to have abused children
Imagine my horror when I woke up Tuesday morning and it was NOT front page of every major Newspaper in the country? Only ONE, yes ONE, the West Australian actually had this national shame on their front page? Instead it was all Cory Bernardi?
A jumped up do nothing Senator for the Liberal Party, full of piss & vinegar from his recent taxpayer funded trip to the US, where he was emboldened by the Trump ascendency to what was formerly referred to as Leader of the Free World, gives his party the finger and gets front page exposure? One bloke defecting?
Yes, Bernardi proclaiming himself and his new Conservative BernardiGras to the be saviour of the poor down trodden Conservative is interesting for the potential dramas it could cause but in the scheme of things, FFS! It pales into comparison to atrocities committed to Children? CHILDREN!
I quietly asked a few journalists about this and it was odd, as they could not really answer me. One even went so far as to say, “well, we really need to wait for the Church to respond and probably best to wait until #CARoyalCommission is complete”.
Why? When the Trade Union Royal Commission (#TURC) was ongoing we had breathless reporting and many front pages featuring Rudd, Gillard, Shorten etc. No-one was waiting until the end? And to be perfectly frank, #TURC was a political beat-up that wasted so much taxpayer money to achieve very little. Yes there is some dodgy stuff happening in Unions – as is likely in most large organisations if a microscope is applied to them – but if addressing ‘lawlessness’ was truly former PM Abbott’s aim, this could have been achieved by setting up an AFP task force, but as most know, even if they won’t admit it, was political opportunism to discredit the ALP via their connection to the Unions and install the narrative – which media seemed to happily run with – that Unions are all pretty much criminal organisations so only he could save Australia with his Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABCC). Worse, it worked, the Donors, sorry I mean, Developers rejoiced, they got their ‘watchdog on the beat’ to ‘clean up the building industry’.
Note the ABCC really only looks at stuff that bothers the big developers, a small supplier to the industry bullied by a big construction company? Yeah, nah. ARGH! :(
So riddle me this. Children’s lives have been destroyed (visit www.brokenrites.org.au as just one organisation that has been following the cover up of Child Abuse in the Catholic Church) too often suffering for the rest of their lives, with many committing suicide. YET a flash in the pan Bernardi defection is the main headline in the nation, not the 4,444 VICTIMS of Child Sexual Abuse? How the hell in a supposedly educated country does this happen?
#CARoyalCommission continued and again some of the revelations were astonishing. Archbishop Mark Coleridge really came up with some doozies, like this one:
Coleridge @CAroyalcomm says if a priest admitted criminal behaviour to him in confession he would inform the police. Says others would too.— Lucie Morris-Marr (@luciemorrismarr) February 8, 2017
What a crock! If that was the case, given the numbers of perpetrators in the church and victims (remember that 4444 is only ‘claims’, so real figure would be way higher), Bishops would be lining up at Police Stations to give statements.
As far as I’m aware, in this nation it is a crime to cover up (paying off victims to quietly go away or in case of Vatican just refusing to hand over information to the Royal Commission) or aid and abet (shuffle perpetrators around different parishes and in some cases overseas to avoid exposure) a criminal?
So why is it that the Catholic Church is not being referred to as a Criminal Organisation?
Another Day, another twilight zone headline
The next big news item was Malcolm Turnbull all guns blazing rhetoric in Parliament. This made national front page news. No, our Prime Minister was not firing up in defence of the victims of Child Sex Abuse and the horrors visited upon them, demanding it should never happen again and action would be taken to ensure that all perpetrators of this crime would face justice. No. No our Prime Minister, finally, fired up in Parliament in defence of himself being called Mr Harbourside Mansion? Seriously, I shit you not. In the words of a non political friend yesterday afternoon:
"So did PM have another don't be mean to me coz I'm rich dummy spit today?"
The Press Gallery adored it. Seriously, a bloke who is battling to keep his job, fired up his troops in the bunker with a rant about ‘reverse classism’? Because obviously the wealthy need defending? If punters were not tired enough of politicians wasting our money on sniping at each other while they achieve nothing in Question Time, they see a Prime Minister acting like the Head Boy of an exclusive school putting the Scholarship kid back in his place as a pretender trying to angle his way into their elite circle?
I’ve seen so many in the press gallery carry on about ‘politics of envy’ and how attacks against Mr Harbourside Mansion (a term coined by Mr Turnbull’s former Chief of Staff Peta Credlin mind you) and how grubby it is, we should be better than that, blah blah. The mind boggles, it really does.
WHY is it grubby to refer to a wealthy bloke who is planning to force even more young adults under the poverty line with his policies, Mr Harbourside Mansion, with the underlying implication that at the same time he is giving a massive tax cut to his big business mates?
Big Business do donate more to the Coalition, that is a fact. They do want tax cuts, that is a fact.
Yet that connection is not considered grubby?
This same gallery though are sweet with likes of Senator Cash, PM Turnbull and more calling Unions ‘thugs’ and tarring Bill Shorten with the same brush? I’ve never heard the media call out the LNP as being ‘grubby’ for basically inferring that Bill Shorten and others associate with Criminal Organisations in the form of Unions?
Yes the Unions do donate to the ALP, that is a fact. Yes, they do want better working conditions.
Yet, this connection is considered grubby?
Big Business = Good | Unions = Bad
Big business employs many people, also makes money for a lot of people, so that is good, BUT, How many big businesses have folded, bankrupting people, forcing thousands on to the unemployed heap? Many have ripped off consumers to the max, hell, some still do to this day. In some cases, like James Hardie they have literally killed thousands with their product. Yet for some reason, Wealth and Big Business in particular is always accorded ‘respect’?
Yes, like Big Business many Unions have been involved in unsavoury things, though I am unsure their sins would be of any higher proportion than those committed by Big Business?
I dare any media organisation to actually investigate the instances of criminal behaviour & malfeanse in both the Business and Union sectors, then compare it pro rata?
That won’t happen as media won’t want to hurt ‘advertisors’ and of course it would most likely harm the Governments lame simple narrative of “Big Business is good, Unions are bad”.
Business in this nation has employed us, giving us the opportunity to enjoy the spoils of our labour and improve our lives, BUT, Unions have also saved many lives improving safety, they are the sole reason we all have sick days, holidays and rights at work, which is a good thing, enjoyed by every single person in this nation.
Unions & Big Business are two sides of the same coin, both benefit our nation, yet only the ‘business’ face of that coin that is accorded any respect by our Government and Media?
This brings me back to my original point. IF the police were to uncover a paedophile ring it would be front page news, the criminals involved vilified. If it was found that particular cops, school principles etc covered up those crimes, they also be vilified, loudly, in the media. Yet, for some reason, media are quiet and respond softly softly when it comes to a Church? I’m sure a lot of guards at Don Dale and others in the Juvenile Detention system in the Northern Territory did good caring work in helping to rehabilitee juvenile delinquents, yet, when evidence came to light of wrong doing, it was pretty much shut down and all those responsible for it were put under a spotlight and called to be accountable. WHY is the Catholic Church not being shut down until all who are involved face justice and are held accountable for their actions?
WHY? Why should the Church be accorded more respect than any other charity, government entity, or organisation where crime has run rampant?
Unconscious bias in the Media
Many in the Media have been shocked in recent years with the likes of Brexit and Trump, hell, even Pauline Hanson making her return. Maybe, to use the phrase that Liberal MP Julia Banks, quite rightly highlights in relation to discriminating against women in the workforce, “unconscious bias” is rampant in our media landscape?
Do our Political Leaders and more importantly our Fourth Estate who inform us have an “unconscious bias” in relation to their perceptions of certain entities, resulting in them giving them higher profiles and according them more respect when it in ‘fact’, in a supposedly classless society where we are all equal, is not deserved? To my mind this is wrong.
ANY organisation that commits crimes, aids and abets crimes and covers up crimes, is therefore a criminal organisation, whether it be a particular Church, Business, Government Department, Union etc.
NO segment of our society should be accorded more respect by our Leaders in Government or the media (and public in general who are influenced by our Leaders and Media). A Big Business, A Church, A Government or a A Union etc should not be treated any more important than the other.
IF it is the sheer scale of crime that is what prompts a newspaper to put it on the front page, well, what happened on Monday at the #CARoyalCommission deserved front page headlines.
IF any journalist thinks the so-called ‘class envy’ attacks on PM Malcolm Turnbull are grubby and not called for, then they should also be treating the ‘thuggery’ anti-union attacks on OL Bill Shorten in exactly the same manner. To not do so shows a bias that is not based in fact, more based on a relentless PR campaign run for years by Big Business and Liberal politics.
I’ll repeat 4444 VICTIMS!
Surely, in any civilised society 4444 children sexually abused would trump the sins of a few Union Officials? Yet given nowhere near the same print or air time?
When PM Turnbull fires up about something of substance, like demanding justice for victims of sexual child abuse in Parliament, I will cheer and accord him the respect he and the media seem to think he deserves for finally showing a backbone, until then, both he and the media lauding his ‘performance’ know where they can shove that Cristel.
As an aside. I won’t even start on the difference in exposure and respect given to the words of a Lobby Group as opposed to an Advocacy group, or worse, the lack of respect accorded to Scientists as opposed to Politicians & lobby groups with an agenda ARGH!
I'm not a member of a Union, in fact, I'm a small business owner. I'm not Catholic, though was raised one, I believe I don't need a God to tell me how to be a decent human being. I also am not an ALP member, in fact the only political party I've ever belonged to is the Australian "Keep the Bastards Honest" Democrats decades ago. Sorted? ;-)
Professional desk jockey