Founder of the Hillsong Church Pastor Brian Houston.
Founder of the Hillsong Church Pastor Brian Houston. (Image: AAP/Paul Miller)

Last Friday evening at 6.20pm, I received an extraordinary email from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C).

It was a long-overdue response to a freedom of information request I had submitted two months earlier, asking for correspondence about the possible attendance of Hillsong Church pastor Brian Houston at events during the prime minister’s recent US state visit.

Morrison did not even refute media reports that he had sought an invitation to the trip for his friend Houston, a wealthy religious guru who is currently under investigation by NSW Police for failing to report his father’s sexual abuse of children. Instead, the prime minister dismissed the matter as “gossip” when questioned about it by journalists, a non-denial so nakedly evasive it would cause Prince Andrew to break out in a sweat.