MBS Q and A - Questions 101
The children of Australia, Prime Minister, Premiers, Members of all Political Parties and persuasions, the people of Australia.
A request is being made here for an apology by the Prime Minister, Premiers, Members of all Political Parties and persuasions in regards the sexual abuse of children by all Australian clergy.
SPEERS: Just quickly Prime Minister your meeting the Pope today. The apology issue, the victims of sex abuse within the church. How important is an apology from the Pope in your view?
PM: This is a matter for the church and I respect the internal judgments of the church. I don’t stand outside the church and provide them with public lectures in terms of how they should behave. I’ve noted carefully what his Holiness has said in the United States. Obviously that was a source of great comfort and healing in the United States. I’m like all Australians very much looking forward to what the Pope has to say here in Australia as well, as I am to my own conversation with the Pope later this morning.
"Just quickly Prime Minister your meeting the Pope today." [SPEERS]
References the coming question. The Prime Minister is meeting the Pope today.
"The apology issue, the victims of sex abuse within the church." [SPEERS]
Question part 1: The issue of any apology.
If victims are to be give an apology then it will come from those at the head of and from within those authorities who have a responsibility in regards the issue. The Pope carried out his responsibility as a proper citizen of the world soon after his arrival by apologising to Australians as he also did in the United States.
Such an authority exists here for all of us as well. We call it Australia - more precisely as directed by our Constitution we refer to this as the Governments of the States and Territories and the Commonwealth Government of Australia. Australia, the place we call home.
This authority is applicable and binding on all of its elected and employed members and associates by agreements, it has a responsibility to enshrine in law through the passing of legislation, laws which benefit the whole of the community, this applies to sexual abuse and includes sexual abuse by clergy.
If those authorities do have a knowledge of the depth and the scale of the problem then have have both the authority and an obligation to act or at the minimum to inform the population as to the current status of this national issue. This is the responsibility of our Prime Minister.
That the Prime Minister is informed and aware of the facts is supported by the PM's comments on radio made later in the day when he referred to this matter as "horrible". He would be better informed than the rest of us due to his meeting with Benedict XVI, unless of course our opportunity was missed perhaps due to a more important issue to him in the saving his own bacon rather than that of the entire population or at the least the backsides of those sodomised due to the unattended clergy abuse issue.
The uncountable references from Politicians, Business, Charity, Religious and others across the entire spectrum of our society is evidence of the fact that this effects us all deeply and the entire population is deeply interested in a sound solution and a good outcome.
Every corner of our society regardless of race, creed, color or persuasion has a vested interest in this in the same way they have a vested interest in the success of their society and their fellow man, women and children. The issue of sexual abuse and subsequently clergy sexual abuse is of National importance to all the people of Australia.
Their concerns have been mirrored and expressed countless times in our Press, Television, Internet - in fact in every form of media we have available to us - all it seems to no avail.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of Internet sites on the spectrum of this topic, many describing the horror, millions of Internet pages describe the social Religious and Governmental failures whilst research describes many sound remedies, victims freely offer their own remedies; Charities, Schools and Universities in fact all areas of our Education, Development, Finance, Business and Commerce right down to every individual Australian who simply exists or has an attachment to the place is quite clearly affected and interested in a successful outcome with this.
This is quite simply something that is of the greatest importance to all Australians since first setting foot on this land and since Federation.
Many are shouting STOP. Look around you - there is a problem and it is a large one, we need to address this issue. STOP and do something - as well they are saying when you do that make sure you get it right for us as a Society, else we will move you on at the next election or the following. That is simply the way our Society works.
It appears many of our leaders in Political Parties and within Government fail to see or acknowledge that entire process or the issue of sexual abuse in our society..
Until they do they will continue to go out of favor with the population of Australia whilst we all lose in the process and spend billions on all else except the one issue which is dear to the heart of each of us - the protection and safety of our children.
We have an opportunity to address the problem with other authorities who have already publicly acknowledged their own frustrations with the problem.
Pope Benedict XVI made the point in the United States of offering an apology for the sexual abuse of children by members of his clergy. Unfortunately no other religious group or even the Bush Government has followed his example. I believe George Bush has acted in a similar way with a similar purpose to our Prime Minister.
The public acknowledgment by the Pope of the global scale of the problem and the fact that he had identified it as a country wide issue there by apologising to America and to the victims who live there was repeated on his arrival here.
The effects of sexual and sexual abuse by clergy affect us on an identical scale as in the United States and as in more than 160 other countries around the globe.
That degree of effect is something worthy of the attention of our Prime Minister in his role as our Head of State, the person who has the opportunity to sit openly with the Pope and to discussion with him the problem.
Question part 2: "The victims of sexual abuse by clergy within the Catholic Church." [SPEERS]
This refers only to those victims within the Catholic Church. This is equally applicable and does refer also to the victims of each religious group in the country else the Prime Ministers response would need to include, elude or indicate that fact otherwise this would be seen as a case of religious discrimination.
Question part 3: "How important is an apology from the Pope in your view? " [SPEERS]
On the question of an apology.
Response part 1: PM: "This is a matter for the church and I respect the internal judgments of the church." [PM]
The Prime Minister of Australia respects the authority and internal judgment of the church. Not the public judgment, but the internal judgment of the church we all know to be closed to all except the hierarchy of the church. Clearly this is where the Prime Minister sees the responsibility for the clergy abuse issue lays. and he goes on to say that he respects that. His position as Prime Minister and the fact that the question was put to him as the Prime Minister simply means that this is the official Commonwealth Government response. Where and how the Prime Minister arrived at this policy does require some explanation. What supporting legislation is there to support this preposterous stance as the official stance of Australia.
Response part 2: PM: " I don’t stand outside the church and provide them with public lectures in terms of how they should behave. [PM]
The Prime Minister goes on to say that he does not make any judgment on behalf of those abused by catholic clergy - this is applicable also to all other religions else this would quite naturally be a case of religious discrimination.
Response part 3: PM: "I’ve noted carefully what his Holiness has said in the United States. Obviously that was a source of great comfort and healing in the United States." [PM]
The Prime Minister states that he is well informed and aware of International matters surrounding the matter of the sexual abuse of children by clergy as he rightfully should be. The Prime Minister acknowledges the importance of an apology and his understanding of this is supported his his apology and his understanding when he chose to apologise to Aboriginal Australians on his first becoming Prime Minister. He was vociferous and outspoken in those matters as he rightfully should have been and that has been accepted by the vast majority of Australians. This has begun the healing process for indigenous and non-indigenous Australians and it is hoped that continues through to the provision of justice to them as well.
Response part 4: PM: "I’m like all Australians very much looking forward to what the Pope has to say here in Australia as well, as I am to my own conversation with the Pope later this morning." [PM]
The Prime Minister states the he like all Australians. This is simply preposterous and is evidenced by the many thousands - no by the millions - the more than 2.7 million Australians affected by sexual abuse. What the Prime Minister refers to as "sexual abuse by clergy" is correctly and again quite simply and legally referred to as "Sexual Abuse". This is sometimes more correctly referred to by the name of incest.
Sexual abuse affects more than 2.7 million fellow Australians and their families. This has no other name in our legal or our political system except for rare and occassional comment, misnaming or mis-identifying it or by providing the acknowledgment of some obscurily related or entirely un-related statistic or fact, some Commission or failed to act upon report, some unsuspecting Public Servant, some unthinking Politicians, some failed social program or other, their secretary, the Bishop or other available but non plausible excuse.
If the Prime Minister in his discussions with Benedict XVI discussed the issue of the sexual abuses by clergy then I believe I and the rest of the population who have an interest in obtaining the truth in regards this issue have a right to know. A right to know what his discussions included or are those discussions only a matter for the Catholic church and the Prime Minister. Does this mean that all those Australians who are seeking to find a solution to this problem are to be denied access to the information our Prime Minister holds or were his discussions so horrible that they are deemed to be of National Interest and therefore not available to the Nation?
This must surely not be in the countries best interest - unless of course there there is some other agenda which he undoutedbly must need to keep a keen eye on as its importance must be immense proportions if it is to eclipse the sexual safety of our current and future children and the provision of justice for past crimes committed against those who have experienced sexual abuse or other crimes as a result of it.
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