Christian Kerr’s latest lazy attack on Bob Brown marks a new
low even by his standards. To accuse Bob Brown of bigotry because he sought an inquiry
into the activities of a secretive cult with links to the Liberal Party, the
Bush administration, the New Zealand National party and the Canadian conservatives, is not only ridiculous but
also nasty.

Let’s set out the facts:

  • A religious sect operates in Australia that
    secretly pours thousands of dollars into campaigns to help Liberal and National
    Parties.
  • This sect has a notorious history of
    excommunications, emotional abuse and family break-ups.
  • It is a 40,000 strong homophobic operation
    which oppresses women and children.
  • The sect benefits from public funds.
  • It is being aided and abetted by the party
    of Government in Australia.
  • This world wide controversial cult has
    headquarters in Australia with the “elect vessel” Bruce Hales based in
    Sydney.
  • The group operates under the radar with no
    public scrutiny, so Bob Brown moves for a Senate inquiry.

A little research would reveal a lot. David Marr’s expose from the SMH is illuminating. Or
perhaps a flick through of the ex-Brethren website
might help. Or a viewing of Today Tonight’s recent family horror stories or the
JJJ Hack program’s
investigations. Or a copy of the most
recent Sunday Tasmanian would
be good. London to a brick Mr Kerr
hasn’t seen or read any of them. In fact Crikey’s own
Margaretta Pos was one of the first to report the Brethren’s wacky activities,
along with the Tasmanian Times, during this year’s
Tasmanian election.

Just a tiny bit of homework would go a long way. Try speaking to just one of numerous suffering
ex-Brethren members all over Australia.
Hearing their stories of intimidation, trauma, and devastating family
break-up might have prevented Mr Kerr from swallowing Howard Minister Eric
Abetz’s line with barely a gulp.

To suggest that someone is a bigot because they want an
inquiry into some of the above is plain stupid. It is also a revolting slur that
reveals more about Mr Kerr than anything else. The role of the Exclusive Brethren in
politics, along with the devastating personal effects of its cult-like
operations, are topics that need more scrutiny, not less.

Peter Fray

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Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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