Saturday, May 03, 2003

From 'The Age' editorial Monday 23 April 2001
A fine choice for Governor-General.
"Australians have come to expect that the role of the governor-general is to act as a sort of moral conscience of the nation. Archbishop Hollingworth is well equipped to perform this vital task."

Fast forward to May 2003 ...
"The Independent Report of the Diocesan Board of Inquiry into the handling of sex abuse cases describes as untenable Dr Hollingworth's decision to allow a priest to remain in the ministry following his admission that he had sexually abused a minor prior to his becoming a priest."
Rewind to last year.
Dr Hollingworth intensified the media storm last year when he responded to claims he allowed a former Rockhampton bishop to officiate, even though he'd confessed to Dr Hollingworth to having sex with a minor. On the ABC's Australian Story, the Governor-General appeared to blame the victim.

Excerpt from Australian Story]
PETER HOLLINGWORTH: "The genesis of it was 40 years ago and it occurred between a young priest and a teenage girl who was under the age of consent. I believe she was more than 14. Um, and I also understand that many years later in adult life, their relationship resumed and it was partly a pastoral relationship and it was partly something more.

My belief is that this was not sex abuse. There was no suggestion of rape or anything like that. Quite the contrary. My information is that it was rather the other way around."

Sorry Archbishop/Governor General, the priest was 27, the girl was 15, it WAS statutory rape. . Even if it weren't statutory rape... which it was ... it was TOTALLY inappropriate. As inappropriate as your weaselly spin on the situation!

"PETER Hollingworth sat on the interview panel that gave a top education job to former headmaster Gilbert Case, knowing he had failed to stop a serial pedophile operating at his school, Mr Case said." MORE.
"A FORMER priest has accused Governor-General Peter Hollingworth of dismissing his claims that he was abused while working in the Brisbane diocese." MORE.
"Elliot (jailed in 2002 after pleading guilty to multiple sexual abuse charges from the 1970s) was allowed to stay on because Hollingworth argued that, as Elliot was now close to retirement, "the disruption and upset that would be caused to the whole parish as well as to him and his family would be in nobody's best interests".

Elliot remained at Dalby until his retirement in 1998, after which Hollingworth permitted him to exercise locum ministries because of his impoverished circumstances.

Hollingworth's refusal to remove Elliot from Dalby parish in 1993 was also motivated by a desire to protect the church from adverse publicity. A "sudden termination" would have caused "unwarranted concern" in the parish and been "very difficult to explain publicly", Hollingworth's lawyers told the inquiry.

His (former) Grace is a bloody disgrace.
You might note that whilst he's given up the frock he still has a penchant for tacky baubles.

And for 'my fellow Australians' (© Gough Whitlam) who might be reading this. Do you also have the feeling that there is welling in the breast of the current G.G. the same hubris and patricianal remoteness displayed by the late unlamented Sir John "Yes I'll have a drink, but just make it a big one" Kerr? Hollingworth seems to be growing into his role as the very, very model of an unmodern Governor General. A role which is (bar for the short, slight breath of life and humanity breathed into it by Bill Deane) anachronistic, ceremonial, undemocratic and rent with pomp and circumstance.

(In his first year as Governor-General, Peter Hollingworth spent $900,000 on travel, more than twice as much as his predecessor, Sir William Deane, did in his last year of office. Dr Hollingworth's bill for cars, VIP aircraft, domestic and international commercial aircraft, and accommodation while away from his residences, totalled $895,280 in 2001-02, the official secretary to the Governor-General, Martin Bonsey, told a Senate committee yesterday. Sir William, in comparison, spent $430,500.)

"Peter Hollingworth is safe in his job until John Howard advises the Queen otherwise, and it may be doubted whether the Prime Minister will do that. A lame duck governor-general such as we have now is a prime minister's dream: someone for whom public esteem is so low that he would never risk attempting any independent discretion in the exercise of his office. Hollingworth is entirely dependent on retaining the Prime Minister's favour, so there is virtually no prospect that he would ever contemplate doing to him what John Kerr did to Gough Whitlam. Nor is there is even much prospect that this Governor-General will make the sort of comment on public issues that could be construed as criticism of the Government, something his immediate predecessor, Sir William Deane, was occasionally thought to have done. Though here, of course, there are many shades of grey:

Deane got away with saying rather more than most governors-general have been willing to say because he properly avoided making remarks that might indicate partisan allegiance, or that commented upon specific policies. Hollingworth, however, did just that when farewelling ADF personnel who were being deployed to the Gulf: "This is something that's got to be done . . . I think it's a matter of putting pressure on this dictator." The first statement could charitably be interpreted as an expression of support for the troops, but the second comments frankly upon Government policy, something governors-general are not supposed to do. But Hollingworth got away with it, presumably because the comment was an endorsement, not a criticism." MORE.