George Pell conviction guilty child sexual abuse catholic
(Image: AAP/David Crosling)

PELL BOMBSHELL LANDS

News of Cardinal George Pell’s conviction for historic child sexual abuse has swept the country, after the lifting of a gag order yesterday unveiled months’, and even years’, worth of court reporting.

As Crikey reported yesterday, news that Australia’s highest-profile Catholic was found guilty in December over child abuse occurring in 1996 follows the lowering of a suppression order designed to protect the integrity of a second, dropped case. Pell will face sentencing today, where his lawyers will seek to avoid a jail sentence, and appeal the conviction in the near future.

Stories have since emerged of political and institutional responses, including from the Vatican; the months-long court process; a New Daily investigation into the 1996 events; challenges aired during the trials; the father of a now-deceased victim’s plan to sue Pell and the church; and up to 100 Australian journalists being threatened with contempt of court over veiled reports published during the suppression order.

Anyone seeking help can reach Lifeline on 13 11 14, and Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

MEANWHILE, AT PALADIN

Local Paladin employees have walked off the job providing security to Manus Island refugees and asylum seekers, citing low pay and poor working conditions following weeks of scrutiny over the company’s contracting history.

According to The Guardian, Papua New Guinean employees at Pomwan Paladin Security have petitioned management and held sit-ins citing overtime, risk allowances, and cuts as key concerns. The protests, which follow the AFR’s ($) investigation into Paladin’s $423 million contract with the Australian government, have reportedly led to hospital, cleaning and transport staff walking off the job over safety fears which, understandably, have also been expressed by detainees.

MORRISON COURTS SUPPORT

Scott Morrison has written to Australia’s premiers and chief ministers seeking in-principle support for a joint royal commission into institutional abuse against people with disabilities.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and South Australian Premier Steven Marshall have issued support for the inquiry, which Morrison hinted in the letter could require cost sharing arrangements, while cabinet will make an official announcement following feedback from other states. The news comes after the Coalition waved through a Greens’ motion for the royal commission but listed state agreement as a requirement to initiate.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

Journalists who decided to accept the government’s gag order called us every name in the book for reporting the truth about the monstrous acts of one of the Vatican’s most powerful men. I hope they are equally vociferous in their investigations of Pell.

Noah Shachtman

The Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Beast manages a take so colossally selfish and wrong it unites Australia’s media against him.

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

The story of how George Pell was convicted of child sex abuse

“‘May you rot in hell, you monster’ someone shouted at Cardinal George Pell as he left Melbourne magistrates court. Today the world learned that Pell the former Vatican treasurer, Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic official and the third most senior Catholic in the world, is convicted of sexually abusing two choirboys.”


Morrison’s facile climate claims no match for the grim reality facing Australia

“It’s tough being a Liberal when the electorate — as it does periodically — decides climate action is necessary and politicians opposed to it should be turfed out. This past summer, which has seen an array of new heat records and devastating fires and floods, has once again made climate inaction unacceptable to voters. Climate denialists have to keep their heads down; moderates have to subtly suggest they’d like to go further, and those who believe in nothing will utter whatever talking points sound best.”


If the Herald Sun’s Serena Williams cartoon doesn’t breach standards, what does?

“The cartoon by Mark Knight depicted Williams throwing a tantrum at the US Open last year, and was soon criticised around the world as echoing Jim Crow-era cartoons of African-Americans. But despite a near-uniform response (excluding News Corp) that the cartoon was offensive and racist, the Press Council ruled yesterday that it did not breach its standards.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

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Blitz on AAT visa appeals boom ($)

India bombs militant camps in Pakistan after deadly Kashmir attack

UK Prime Minister Theresa May lays out plan for extension of Article 50

THE COMMENTARIAT

The dead aren’t clapping — Patrick Marlborough (Meanjin):Cardinal Pell has been arrested and everyone I want to call is dead. Elation slid into rage. That instant of ‘we got him’ flashed and passed and made way for instants of ‘you bastards, you absolute bastards’ with electric ease. Here was a man so cloaked in authority, sanctity, and righteousness for so long by so many that his abuses of power—his abuses of children—went unchecked, unmarked, and unmasked for half a century.”

We’d bury hopes by killing mines ($) — Tania Constable (The Australian): “Those who say we shouldn’t be selling our coal, uranium or gas to developing countries have no answer when asked what those countries should do if denied these resources. Keeping it in the ground means burying the hope of a better future for many in the developing world. It’s neither fair nor reasonable.”

ATO whistleblower faces six life sentences, roughly the same as Ivan Milat — Adele Ferguson (Sydney Morning Herald): “There’s something radically wrong with a society that allows mass murderer James Gargasoulas to be eligible for parole in 46 years, locks up serial killer Ivan Milat for 181 years and then has an Australian Taxation Office employee facing 161 years in prison for blowing the whistle on a poor culture inside one of our most powerful agencies.”

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The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

North-West Tasmania

  • Scott Morrison will announce an underwriting mechanism for Tasmania’s “battery of the nation” hydro program.

Canberra

  • Universities Australia’s annual conference will hear from French Higher Education Minister Frédérique Vidal and UA chair Margaret Gardner, who will present “A higher purpose: universities, civic transformation and the public good” at the National Press Club.

  • Day one of the two-day Challenge-based Innovation Forum 2019 at the National Gallery of Australia, to hear from Chief Scientist Alan Finkel amongst others.

Sydney

  • The Insurance Council of Australia 2019 Annual Forum will discuss outcomes of the Hayne Royal Commission and hear from APRA, ASIC, Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert, Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland and more.

  • Writer and appearance activist Carly Findlay will present the Matt Laffan Memorial Address on Social Justice at the University of Sydney.

Melbourne

  • Labor and Greens politicians are expected to accept a change.org petition at the ParentsNext Senate Inquiry calling for the welfare program to be made voluntary.

  • Energy experts Simon Holmes a Court, Rob Gell and Bruce Mountain will discuss “fixing the energy mess” at the National Sustainable Living Festival.

  • Victorian Nationals MP Tim McCurdy will face a change-of-location mention before standing trial on ten fraud-related charges alleging he wrongly pocketed real estate commissions.

Brisbane

  • Brisbane ferry drivers will strike for 72 hours over workplace conditions and wages.

Perth

  • Former WA Premier Colin Barnett will speak at a 500 Club event.