Weekly salon 25/2

1. Political follies

Phillip Coorey in the AFR had it about right when he said four days of Parliament this week felt like standing in a wind tunnel.

    Scandals, failures and blow-ups, each of which, in isolation, would have once occupied a week or more of the Parliament’s and the public’s attention, and possibly ended in someone losing their job, all came and went in a rush.

Labor won and lost on asylum seekers, Matthias Cormann and Joe Hockey (remember him?) became implicated in the HelloWorld travelgate affair, then there was:

    a $423 million contract for Paladin to run Manus Island and confirmation that Small Business Minister Michaelia Cash declined to be interviewed by the Australian Federal Police who were investigating the bungled raid on AWU offices in 2017.

    The police also told Senate Estimates they believed evidence may have been destroyed. Mere bagatelle.

Plus ongoing fallout from the banks and finance inquiry and Labor got wedged on coal when shadow minister Richard Marles welcomed the demise of the thermal coal export industry.

Laura Tingle tells us that Scott Morrison raged at Labor that it had “gone to the bottom of the chum bucket” in its HelloWorld attack.

Chum buckets, for those who don’t know, contain fish guts and heads and other smelly stuff thrown into the water by fishermen.

Actually the story offered:

    all the best ingredients: special deals and politicians’ privileges; the suggestions of politically compromised government contracts.
The joint is a circus and, hopefully, the punters had switched off. David Rowe

Micahel Pezzullo, who heads up the huge national security empire, was displeased with political antics, He:

    made it very clear – as did ASIO head Duncan Lewis — that he didn’t appreciate the Government leaking his department’s classified advice for political purposes, he also made it known that the Government’s central attack on the medical evacuation legislation was wrong; that the amendments would not prompt a flood of new boat arrivals.

Here’s Pezzullo looking very grumpy:

It also became clear that the re-opening of Christmas Island was to neuter the parliament’s will, by transferring sick asylum seekers found to a place where the law does not apply.

Today we find Newspoll with Labor ahead at 53-47, the same result for that poll three times in a row, which indicates perhaps two things. Firstly, for the punters nothing has changed. Secondly, Ipsos-Fairfax may be having some problems with their methodology.

Meanwhile Julie Bishop made her final speech and headed for the door to catch an early plane, leaving a coded message, and leaving ScoMo and Shorten to address their praise to an empty chair.

All praise is no doubt due, but I can’t forgive her for her ruthless pursuit of Julia Gillard over the AWU matter, which she knew had no substance.

Jennifer Hewett in today’s AFR says that the outcome Shorten most feared after Turnbull got the flick was to face an immediate election with Bishop as leader.

2. The truth about Jeremy Corbyn

As a rule of thumb, you won’t get it from the media. A must-read:

LSE researchers analysed coverage in eight national dailies.

    The media researchers found that in 52 per cent of articles about the Labour leader, his own views were not included – while in a further 22 per cent they were “present but taken out of context” or otherwise distorted.

    In just 15 per cent of 812 articles analysed, Mr Corbyn’s views were present but challenged, and in only 11 per cent were they present without alteration.

    “Our analysis shows that Corbyn was thoroughly delegitimised as a political actor from the moment he became a prominent candidate and even more so after he was elected as party leader,” Dr Bart Cammaerts, the project director concluded.

Shami Chakrabarti says As a Jewish Labour member, I’m sick of anti-Semitism being used as a political weapon against Jeremy Corbyn.

This one is also a must-read:

Seems Corbyn’s sin is that he does not like what the current Israeli state is doing to Palestinians. The issue of anti-semitism has been investigated and found not to have substance.

Beyond that the self-named The Independent Group are seen by their erstwhile colleagues as Blairite has-beens or people who never were, united by being anti-Brexit, disliking Corbyn, but beyond that not an idea to bless themselves with. Here’s a bunch of articles:

3. Is there any hope of redemption for the Catholic Church?

The question has been examined, how gay is the Vatican?

The article is pay-walled, but we are told of an “extremely high level of practising gays within the Vatican.” Which apparently matches their homophobia.

Not strictly relevant to their summit on sexual abuse, but does not simplify matters.

Solving the problem of sexual abuse, according to Peter Stanford,

Pope Francis’s comments linking church critics to the devil criticised by abuse victims “will involve rethinking an entire approach to sexuality that is peculiar, punitive and often plain perverse”.

Meanwhile Pope Francis has labelled the church’s critics as “friends of the devil”, so I’ll play safe and say no more.

Just that today’s CM tells us that in his final speech abusers would be confronted with “the wrath of God”.

4. More expensive milk won’t help the farmers much

Economist Richard Holden explains.

Woolworths have recently announced that they will terminate their $1 milk, a loss-leader scheme that was started by Coles in 20011.


    The biggest determinant of farm gate prices in Australia is not what the major supermarkets do, but world dairy prices.

    The Department of Agriculture says 37% of Australian milk production is exported.

    Add to that the roughly 35% that goes into locally consumed butter, cheese and milk powder that is subject to competition from imports. You can quickly see the prices of nearly three-quarters of the milk produced in Australia are set globally.

    Dairy Australia has a higher estimate. Because even fresh milk is subject to foreign competition, it believes 90% of the annual movement in farm-gate prices comes from changes in international prices.

    Those changes are beyond the effective control of Australian farmers and regulators.

    Many of them are the result of changes in the exchange rate.

The biggest factor is said to be the $US exchange rate.

We could do what other countries do and subsidise their farmers, or retain tariffs. Under WTO rules you are allowed to take action to prevent the destruction of your industries.

It’s just that we don’t. We are among the purest in adhering to free trade ideology. So if we end up with imported powdered milk on our weeties, we’ll just have to suck it up and thank our political class, or switch to soy milk which would be better for the environment.

49 thoughts on “Weekly salon 25/2”

  1. There is hope for the Catholic Church.

    Throughout history, the Catholic Church has adapted well to the needs of the times; not always nicely – but they have adapted. Currently, the Catholic Church seems frozen in time and unable to adapt. There is now a Pope who is capable of making necessary change with as little pain as possible and he seems willing to carry out those vital changes. Yet he seems frustrated at every turn by high-ranking office-holders who seem to prefer seeing the Church collapse rather than allowing the Church to adapt and redeem itself.

    My own suggestion is that any bishops and cardinals who refuse to face up to this age’s challenges be forced into retirement and replaced by parish priests, (of whom there are fewer and fewer each year). Then, the parish priests so promoted be replaced by relatively young and dynamic parish deacons who undergo a single year of part-time study- and, most likely, who are happily married. Why not? The full course of study in a Seminary is fine training for a bishop but is all that study really necessary for carrying out the ordinary pastoral and liturgical duties of a religious leader in a local parish or community? Hardly! After all, for most of the time the Catholic Church existed, the needs of people in a parish or community were met by clergy with much less formal theological education .

    The alternative to adaptions is annihilation. Do these few old men have the moral courage to take up the responsibility that would balance their authority? Or will they fail ?

  2. GB: The deaconess when we lived on Groote Eylandt was a very small, very formidable woman who would have done a good job of sorting out messes made by men. She had also been in the territory long enough to qualify as a “Territory Woman” – a breed that needed to be treated with caution and respect.
    Can I assume your failure to mention deaconesses was merely a slip of the tongue?

  3. Not a bad idea, GB. I like your challenge of educational standards. Churches have to rethink what role the clergy play. For example, would counselling be more appropriate than theology?

  4. Another way of looking at the dairy industry: an efficient, able group of farmers using local advantages (soil types, weather) to produce a locally consumed product, several locally processed derived products such as yoghurt, cheese, milk powder; and exporting to nearby countries with a pattern of growing dairy consumption.

    Dairy farmers tend to be well-informed and making progress on (e.g.) reducing electricity use in milking, being more careful to use less fertiliser; and – possibly the hardest challenge – attempting to reduce nutrient runoff from the farm.

    Many Aussie farming groups either supplement their earnings by exporting, or are chiefly focussed on exports.

    We all hear the complaints, “The best scallops get sent to Japan!” “Our best strawberries are exported.” “The finest Merino wool is sold to Milan.”

    Of course this happens. Farmers are price takers, not price setters. Their incomes circulate around the Australian economy.

    As far as I can see, the Australian dairy sector, including local processing, is one of the more progressive farming sectors. Meanwhile, cow burps need scientific attention; and are receiving it.

  5. Cardinal Pell found guilty.

    This is the verdict delivered last year, but suppressed because of a second case. The latter, which concerned boys in a swimming pool in Ballarat, which will not proceed.

    The earlier conviction is being appealed. It concerns two choir boys in the 1990s when Pell was archbishop in Melbourne.

  6. Ambi, most dairy farmers I see on TV are youngish, and as you say, efficient and able. I would like to think the community could help them survive and eventually thrive.

    Once dairying goes from a district, the infrastructure provided by the processors disappears, and the land often turns into hobby farms rather than anything agriculturally productive.

    In 2001 when the industry was ‘restructured’ some of the cost was in suicides, not counted in the bean-counters’ balance sheet of industry ‘reform’..

  7. Yes Brian

    That dairy industry “restructuring” was a brutal process. Where we live there is non-irrigated dairy on fertile soils, so we keep an eye on how the farmers are faring. There’s a large processing plant nearby

  8. JD: Sadly, John, it wasn’t a slip of the tongue. Some sects of Christianity do indeed have deaconesses and I never met one who was not either inspiring or formidable. It would be lovely if devout, strong, well-informed and compassionate nuns with great leadership could become bishops. And I did think – but did not write – that young, vigorous, intelligent and compassionate women of faith would do well as deacons at the parish and community level; if they were happy wives and mothers too then so much the better
    However, the first hurdle is in persuading the Church hierarchy that it is wrong – even suicidal – to pretend the very serious loss of ordained clergy at the parish and community level is a matter that will resolve itself solely through prayer- whereas it is obvious that God helps those who do strive to help themselves. That is a hard enough hurdle to get over; the next hurdle is even more challenging: Women must have a full, active and leading part in the formal life of the Church – but given all the built-in misogyny and fear of women, that will be the most difficult one. Making amends for all the horrific attacks on children and other vulnerable people will be very painful and distressing but the Church must keep striving to make those amends.

    Brian: Counselling and the application of the Four Gospels to helping people in the community is vital. A working knowledge of the Epistles, the Gospels, the Ten Commandments, some of the Proverbs and some of the Psalms as well as the most outstanding of Old Testament emulation stories would be needed. So too would be the ability to give the Sacraments correctly and know their meaning and origin. Those deacons (whether men or women) who had a Catholic upbringing would be very familiar with the forms of liturgy: Masses – baptism s- confirmations -confessions/reconciliations – marriages – blessing s – rosaries – funerals; the study of liturgy would be mainly revision for them ; however, adult converts to the Catholic faith might have to be walked through liturgy until they were confident enough in themselves. The other essential areas for study in training deacons would be: Oratory, Dispute Resolution, Conduct of Meetings, Law as it applies to churches and to not-for-profit organizations, Finance in a small organization, Basic Management, Avoiding Burn-out, Senior First Aid, Principles of Social Work.

    Yeah, I know, it looks like a pretty full list but it could all be done in several hours a week over a full year. Much more than that would be padding at a parish and community level. Sorry about omitting the fine details of the Old Testament, I’m sure there are enough people studying that in the world, especially among those very fit young men in Israel who are just so busy studying obscure religious texts that they don’t have time to pick up a Galil to defend their fellow Israelis.

  9. Brian, “They should have invited you to the conference!” Well, thanks Brian but they would have had the Swiss Guards hack me down within seconds.

    If the hierarchy choose their personal vanity over the survival of the Church who will end up with all its property and assets? Where will the congregations go – what’s left of them, that is?

    Surprised at all the unexpected ripple effects following the release of news about Pell’s guilty finding.: Suppression Orders might go to the chopping-block; assumptions about the robustness of juries under scrutiny; where will it all end?

  10. I think there’s a big chance the whole thing will go ape shit from here, Pope Fran just issued a no tolerance speech effectively throwing Pell under a well deserved bus but Pell was the Vatican treasurer that could spill all the financial beans.

    Beans!! The sweet juicy beans !!

  11. Brian: Thanks for your post about Jeremy Corbyn. Appalling. I was reminded of that wry Soviet-era comment, “There’s no truth in The News and there’s no news in The Truth”.

  12. Hard to disingenuously misinterpret Corbyns tweet
    “Thanks Hugo Chavez for showing that the poor matter and wealth can be shared. He made massive contributions to Venezuela & a very wide world.”

    I judge him to have very poor judgment.

  13. Jumpy, Chavez looked good for a year or two, but it is a long and complex story.

    On Crbyn, there appears to be some anti-semitism going around, and some say Corbyn is not going after it hard enough within Labor. More sins of omission rather than commission.

    On Brexit it seems as though there will be an extension, because the Europeans don’t want a no-deal Brexit.

    Corbyn has now made clear that he will back a second referendum, rather than see a no-deal Brexit.

    A no-deal Brexit would not be one of the choices. The choice would have to be between remain and a Brexit deal which minimises harm.

  14. Direct democracy has often been a problem in the US because he voters tend to be supportive of things that will cost money and also supportive of cutting or capping taxes. In addition, those who are putting up the money to support the proposition slip in clauses that have nothing to do with the main thrust of the proposition. The problems are made worse because there is no time limit on the life of a successful proposition and no ban on proposition clauses that would limit the power of the state to raise the money they need to do their job.
    The Brexit vote has caused similar problems given that the UK has no constitution and has no rules about the life of referendum results or circumstances where the results can be ignored.
    The UK is now in a position to make a more informed decision about Brexit. Given that there are more than two options it would be good to be able to have more than two with the result being determined by preference voting. No brexit should be one of the options and there should be a limit on the time that the brexit vote result remains valid.

  15. John, many have said that Brexit must occur so that democracy is preserved, and to go back to the people would imply that the pollies thought the people got it wrong.

    I agree with you, and think democracy would be enhanced by a second referendum so that people can review their preferences in the light of newer and better information about what the choice means in reality.

  16. Brian:

    many have said that Brexit must occur so that democracy is preserved,

    In our democracy we don’t elect leaders for life because leaders change over time, people can change their mind when they see leaders in action and over the years old voters die and new voters put them selves on the roll.
    There is nothing undemocratic about having another Brexit vote now the poms know more about the harsh realities.

  17. Consider if the Brexit referendum result had been stay, the following General Election was won by the party advocating stay, would another referendum be warranted to decide ?

    Of course not.

  18. It’s a hell of a mess, Jumpy.
    Brexit I mean.
    Very hard to untangle all the arguments and proposals.

    Just on the referendum : I heard a Leave voter say, “If they hold a second referendum and Stay win it, we’ll demand ‘Best of three’!”

    I think they call that reductio ad absurdum.

    How’s your Latin, Mr J?

    BTW, I think suppression orders by Judges are justified in some instances. Though I’m told they occur a bit more here in Victoria than in other jurisdictions. Trials should be as fair as possible. Presumption of innocence protects every individual…..

  19. JD: You’ve summed up one aspect of American politics fairly well. I’m damned glad we have compulsory, on-going voter registration AND compulsory voting – poorly enforced but workable nonetheless.
    Wonder if Brexit might lead to economic collapse and civil war in Britain.? Just wondering.

    Jumpy: Okay, so you didn’t like Chavez and you dislike his successors – but I wouldn’t touch their opponents with a ten-foot barge-pole. For the Venezuelans, it looks like a choice between Hitler and Stalin. As for the Yanks, they tried to steal Iraqi oils; now they are trying to steal Venezuelan oil – and if that doesn’t work: look out Canada! If Venezuela didn’t have oil, the Yanks wouldn’t care if the country was run by cannibals; how much per barrel f.o.b. is democracy and a free market worth?

    On the Pell Affair: after listening to a lot of broadcasts and even resorting to reading Australian Izvestia, I get the impression that the case against Pell was fairly wobbly ; a letter-to-the-editor in today’s Oz even compared his court case to that of Lindy Chamberlain. But whether his conviction is successful or not, this case does mean an end to the power of the current hierarchy
    Over half-a-century ago, in an age of strict sexual morality, it was an open and tolerated secret in some places that very lonely widows might well seek a blessing or two from Father So-and-so or Father Whatsisname – yet nowadays, all we hear about is clergy who rape or molester children. Has there been a major change in attitudes or is it greater detection of a widespread evil already in existence?.

  20. From my perspective, which is extremely limited, the remainders have tried to make it as complicated and confusing as they possibly could. Aided by the media that thrive on controversy and divisions.

    Having May, a remainder, as a formulator of any deal is silly. She should have formed a Committee, composed of leaver MPs , to thrash out a plan and backed it to the hilt.

    Just my 2c.

  21. Jumpy:

    Consider if the Brexit referendum result had been stay, the following General Election was won by the party advocating stay, would another referendum be warranted to decide ?

    It would be a bit like the Aus Republic vote. There has been no rush to have another referendum on the subject but this doesn’t mean that it will never happen since there is nothing in our rules that prevents a re-run.
    The POMS know a lot more now than they did when the first referendum was run. As far as I can see the parliament is not obliged to take notice of a referendum result and could kill Brexit on the grounds that it is looking like a disaster. If the POMS, or Australians want to use referendums they need some rules.
    It is also worth noting that both Morrison and Abbott voted against gay marriage despite the referendum result.

  22. The POMS know a lot more now than they did when the first referendum was run.

    Just for a start they know Farage and Johnson lied to them, bigly.

  23. “Remainers” Jumpy.

    Yes, my Spellcock wanted ‘remainders’ too, but as a book lover, I reserve that word for books that get flogged off at low prices. See Clive James’ triumphant poem The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered.

    (Unsold books should go to opp Shops, in my opinion. There first, only to paper recycling as a last resort.)

    Graham Bell: I too had a quick look yesterday at critiques of the prosecution case against George Pell. Agree it looks weak. He may win his appeal. (Always a possibility).

    I recall a cartoon published while Lindy C was on trial; a bus stop queue, some reading newspapers, every person wearing the black cap that a Judge used to don when pronouncing the death sentence.

    None of us was in the court.
    None of us was on the jury.

    Publicity can be very powerful, either way.
    Ultimately we have to accept Court decisions.

  24. Ambi, I agree with all that, especially the bit about none of us being there to assess the credibility of the sole victim/complainant giving evidence.

    The defence gave all sorts of reasons why the events were improbable and were extremely unlikely to have happened. Nevertheless, the judge said to the jury that if they believed the single witness they were entitled to bring in a guilty version.

    If they decided that Pell was not guilty the implication was that the victim was making it all up, and willing to disrupt his life and willing to maintain his position under fire from one of the best in the business in Robert Richter. What would motivate him to do that? Apparently he was a very sane, balanced, and credible witness. The jury made the call, we need to accept it.

    Nevertheless the review court can find the conviction unreasonable and unsafe. This cannot change the fact the 12 fellow citizens listened to the victim and found what he had to say substantively true, beyond reasonable doubt.

  25. Well said, Brian.

    There are subtleties in the law and courts which scarcely are hinted at in many newspaper reports.

  26. George Pell will be judged by history. Has he lived honourably and compassionately? Has he been humble and merciful? Has any life breathed easier because of his conduct as a priest, archbishop, cardinal or senior Vatican bureaucrat? Did his war on victims and survivors of abuse make the church better, or has George Pell been one of the Catholic Church’s own worst enemies?

    From here.

  27. Brian: In terms of convincing a jury Pell had a number of disadvantages:
    He wasn’t there and even if he had been he comes across as a smooth practiced operator who has the skills to not be rattled by accusations.
    My understanding is that his lawyer is a prominent attack lawyer. Not sure what approach he used but strongly attacking the witness may have put the jury offside.
    We are talking about events a long time ago. the fact that people don’t remember Pell being away from from the crowd doesn’t mean much. He needs someone who had some real reason for remembering that he didn’t leave. For example, I was with him all the time….
    I hope justice is done but I am unsure what happened and understand the difficulty of proving something didn’t happen some time ago. (One of the reasons that accused people don’t have to prove their innocence.)

  28. It appears commentators such as Bolt and Devine are unable to extend the presumption of innocence to the complainant.
    I think it does none of us any good to argue the merits of the case when, as Brian has pointed out, the evidence was sufficient to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt and an appeal has been set in motion which may well find this decision unreasonable.
    In passing, I fervently hope defense lawyer Richter will soon be subjected to vanilla sexual penetration without his active participation.

  29. Advocate Richter has now recognised that the disgusting term he used should never have been uttered and has apologised wholeheartedly. In the court, theJudge rejected Mr Richter’s attempt to characterise the attack as being on the less serious end of the range of sexual asssault. As did the “court of public opinion”.

    John, I believe George Pell was in the court every day, but wasn’t called by his defence lawyers to give evidence. And he did have someone who was with him at all times at the Cathedral on the days in question: a Monsignor whose job it was to meet him on arrival at the Cathedral, accompany him throughout preparations before Mass, be next to him during Mass, and after Mass when the Archbishop says he always talked to worshippers at the front doors, then afterwards until farewelling him in the car park.

    Why was the Monsignor not believed?

    FWIW I don’t know whether George Pell committed these crimes.

  30. Why was the Monsignor not believed?

    Isn’t the jury room supposed to be as confidential as the confessional? I guess we’ll never know.

  31. Yes: it was a rhetorical question.

    The jurors had their reasons.
    I accept the confidentiality of jury rooms.

  32. And discussions between a lawyer and her client are meant to be confidential.

    Over here in the State of Queen Victoria we are having the Royal Commission We Had To Have because Lawyer X was also Registered Police Informer 3838, it is alleged.

    My very word, dear oh dear. Look, anyone from NSW or Quinceland who has received scorn from a Victorian over the manifest corruption in their States, please follow our brouhaha with close attention.

    We deserve nothing less.

  33. I understand Pell’s lawyers advised him not to say anything, because there was a danger he would break out from the script and say something that harmed his case.

  34. zoot, agreed. Also we’ve heard of a number of cases where people went to Pell with complaints that their children had been abused by other clergy, and he behaved like a class A bully.

    Typical of bullies, however, he was extremely respectful of people in high places. so I have no doubt the John Howard’s experience of him was positive.

  35. Ambi:

    And he did have someone who was with him at all times at the Cathedral on the days in question: a Monsignor whose job it was to meet him on arrival at the Cathedral, accompany him throughout preparations before Mass, be next to him during Mass, and after Mass when the Archbishop says he always talked to worshippers at the front doors, then afterwards until farewelling him in the car park.
    Why was the Monsignor not believed?

    Not calling the monsignor may have been legal oversight or the monsignor may have been considered a risky witness who knew too much and might have said things that would not help the Pell case.
    We know about some of the negative things that Pell did during his period of power but what good uses did Pell make of his power?

  36. Zoot: Thanks for that link to John Ellis’ views. Too often, the victim is left right out of the picture in the gladiatorial contests among lawyers or journalists. Including the victims is a major strength of the Restorative Justice system..

    Brian: Grovelling and crawling to superiors and to those who are stronger is the hallmark of a true bully.

    This case is shaking the assumptions and traditions of our whole legal system as well as shaking up the Catholic Church in its present form.

    Wonder if John Paul II will be desainted as more and more scandals emerge around the world? After all, poor old St. Christopher, who did nothing worse than give comfort and hope to travellers for centuries, was desainted.

  37. I haven’t investigated “The Melbourne Response” (to sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, officials) in detail. Apparently set up in 1996, at the initiative of Archbishop Pell and with the cooperation of Victoria Police.

    Yesterday I heard a commentator claim that George Pell said, after the Melb Response had been operating for a while, that he had faced stern opposition from Pope John Paul II, who had expressed the view that the beginnings of public outcries over sexual abuse within “his” Church, amounted to a Communist plot.

    [I recently read a biography of ‘the Polish Pope’ which concentrated on his support and covert aid to Solidarnosc in his native Poland. He seemed to have skilfully ridden a wave of public longing for Polish independence, urged Poles to stand firm and avoid using violence against the Soviet and Communist forces.

    Co-author, one of the Deep Throat Watergate journalists. Well worth a look.]

    No human is ever perfect. No Pope gets everything right.

    The bloke suspended on the cross called out, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

    I’m aware that some who were abused found “The Melbourne Response” inadequate, IIRC some thought it was a whitewashing, some thought it was designed to minimise damages payments to victims….

  38. No human is ever perfect. No Pope gets everything right.

    Nobody expects the doctrine of infallibility.

  39. Our two weapons, are inspiration, celibacy and infallibility.
    Our three weapons,

    zoot, is this really the best time to reach for Monty Python???

  40. Monty Python is always appropriate – until the world becomes sane (I wish I could have finished that sentence with “again”).

  41. My last – for the time being – comments on the Pell Disgrace:

    (1) John Howard stood by his support for clergyman George Pell – and yet – not that long ago, he was, like many other CEOs these days, in conflict with his “employer’s steward”, another clergyman, Governor-General Peter Hollingsworth, who was supposed to have previously protected his organization (the Anglican Church) against a sexual abuse scandal back when he was Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane. So far I haven’t seen any news item that referred to that long-forgotten conflict between Prime Minister and Governor General (it was the Governor General who was manoeuvred into resigning, not the Prime Minister); I don’t expect the Ministry Of Truth to publish any interviews with former Governor General Hollingsworth any time soon.

    (2) There is a suggestion that it was the Catholic Church that was on trial and that George Pell was convicted simply because he was the boss of that organization in Australia. That may well be so – and if it is so, it would make very little difference at all to the eventual social outcomes of this whole sordid affair. Wonder if the Australian Orthodox Church (yes, there is one) will expand rapidly enough to absorb a lot of disaffected followers of the Latin tradition in Australia? Wonder how the Anglican and the Lutheran churches would cope with a sudden influx of ex-Catholics? Of course, miracles do occur from time to time in Christianity – so 2019 may well become The Year Of Miracles if the Catholic Church in Australia manages to save itself despite the seemingly determined efforts by tired and bewildered men to do otherwise.

    Anyway, whether you are a Believer or a Non-Believer, Catholic or Non-Catholic: God bless all of you.

    Good night.

  42. Just quickly on a much less weighty matter: Ms Bishop (non-Church) claims she could have beaten Mr Shorten, but he opportunity was cruelled by the outgoing Chrissie Pyne.

    Fanciful speculation. From “The Oz”, paywalled.

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