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For all his many failures, Ted Baillieu was a hero for being the leader prepared to take on George Pell by launching an inquiry into church sexual abuse, writes contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence.

IF CARDINAL GEORGE PELL HAS WET DREAMS, his arousal surely stems from a self-preservatory love that has publicly exposed him as little more than a corporate psychopath.

His repugnant display of arrogant onanism at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, confirmed his indecent tamperings with the truth and was an affront to the notion of the judicial swearing of the biblical Oath.

No doubt intimate with the entire of the Decalogue, in particular the ninth of the Ten Commandments, 'Thou shalt not bear false witness', Pell's disingenuous testimony and lame excuses were unconvincing that he did otherwise.

When he lays himself down to sleep and prays the Lord his privileged soul to keep, the septuagenerian Ballarat-born Cardinal must rue 17 April 2011.

It was the day that Ted Baillieu, then the 46th Premier of Victoria, ignored the moral cowards and political expedients lurking within his already decaying Coalition and flaccid Opposition to announce a parliamentary Inquiry into the handling of child abuse by the state's religious and other organisations. 

That Inquiry was to prove an incendiary device whose shrapnel was to rain upon every state and territory in the country.

BAILLIEU'S INQUIRY AN HISTORICAL ACT OF POLITICAL HEROISM

It was an historical act of personal and political heroism by Baillieu. 

Although it was not the Royal Commission originally hoped for and had a number of birthing problems, it contributed to one being called a year later by then Prime Minister Julia  Gillard.

In a flagrant act of political impropriety, Gillard phoned Cardinal Pell to alert him.

Given Pell's earlier shocking admissions (Victoria Inquiry) of the Church's falsification of  documents and cover-up, the Church's dismissive and unchristian if not uncatholic amoral attitude towards sex abuse victims was indisputably (and remains) under question. As does Pell's leadership.

The tenet of the Separation of Powers was severely compromised, even by Australia's dismal standards.

Whilst Independent Australia makes no imputation whatsoever in relation to allegations of sex abuse claims made against Cardinal Pell, it is a matter of public record that in 2002 a church-appointed report of an inquiry disclosed that the Commissioner, was not

"… satisfied that the complaint has been established..."

Broken Rites Australia has published extensive details about this in-house inquiry, including:

In October 2002, the Catholic Church in Australia posted on its official website a document entitled Report of an inquiry into an allegation of sexual abuse against Archbishop George Pell.

The report was compiled by a retired Victorian Supreme Court judge, Mr A.J. Southwell Q.C., who had been engaged by the Catholic Church to conduct an inquiry into the allegation.

The inquiry was held in Melbourne in September-October 2002. Mr M. Tovey Q.C. appeared for the complainant and Mr J. Sher Q.C. appeared for George Pell.

This too, from the Southwell Report on the Broken Rites website:

CONCLUSION

In the end, and notwithstanding that impression of the complainant, bearing in mind the forensic difficulties of the defence occasioned by the very long delay, some valid criticism of the complainant's credibility, the lack of corroborative evidence and the sworn denial of the respondent, I find I am not "satisfied that the complaint has been established", to quote the words of the principal term of reference.

I so advise the appointors.

Hon. A.J. Southwell Q.C.

Broken Rites confirms that:

‘The above extracts from Mr Southwell’s report were downloaded in October 2002 from the website of the Catholic Church at: http://www.catholic.org.au/statements/pell_judgement.htm

That link is now dead – at least it was at the time of this article being published and Southwell's report deleted from the website; important church history redacted to little more than gospels of revisionism.

Gillard also quite properly notified the two (then) Premiers who had already initiated inquiries; New South Wales' Barry O' Farrell – who announced the Special Commission into Child Sex Abuse Allegations in the Hunter Valley on November 9, 2012, twenty months after Victoria – and Ted Baillieu.

The NSW's Government acknowledged that the Special Commission was called because of

'… matters raised by Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox in an ABC Lateline interview regarding the handling of certain child sexual abuse allegations.'

Salute must be made to Joanne McCarthy of the Newcastle Herald, whose work with Peter Fox in exposing these misdeeds earned her the 2013 Gold Walkley Award.

BAILLIEU INQUIRY: TOOK BOLTCUTTERS TO CATHOLIC CHURCH WAR CHEST

AND VINDICATED VICTIMS AND SUPPORTERS

Victoria's earlier Inquiry took bolt-cutters to the chains securing the Catholic Church's bloating war chest and its centuries-old insinuating presence and spheres of influence within the media, the judiciary, the establishment, police and parliament itself.

It shifted the very tectonic plates upon which the Mother Church was 'lovingly' founded in Victoria and the rest of Australia.

Most of all, the Inquiry vindicated the many thousands of spurned child victims of sexual abuse and violence, and their champions, like parish priest Father Kevin Dillon and other individual supporters and support groups, who for decades have been betrayed by a powerful and toxic system and who have in vain been clawing upon the fortified doors of Justice, pleading to be heard; pleading to be believed and desperate for help. 

Here, I must acknowledge those who died without even touching the frayed hem of justice.

And those who have suicided, despite being taught that the Catholic Church deems suicide a mortal sin.

We can but embrace their ghosts. For them, the option of living was too unbearable.

Baillieu's Inquiry was a defiant act that would not and could not have been enforced by a lesser politician; or a man or woman of lesser moral fibre.

Indeed, for decades, lesser Premiers did shirk from calling an inquiry.

SOME CATHOLIC SCHOOLS CHILD SEX ABUSE FACTORY FARMS

GOD'S PLAYGROUND 'CLUB PED' RESORT FOR PAEDOPHILES

In the name of the paedophilic fathers, brothers, sons and the unholy ghosts, the industrial-strength endemic and systematic sexual abuse of vulnerable children and adults, carefully incubated and nurtured within the Catholic Church for decades, rendered some Catholic schools as little more than factory farms, where caged little ones were groomed and terrorised for sexploitation, sexual battery and most certainly, sexual and mental slavery.

The schoolyard was not the Devil's playground. No, that belongs to the more insidious debt collectors of an absentee landlord.

It was god's exclusive playground — a resort, a 'Club Ped', in which anal rape, sodomy, torture, masturbation, oral sex; giving head to the godhead all took place alongside teaching the incidentals of mathematics, literature, history, physics, woodwork, farming, fencing and suchlike and children doing the dirty laundry for the clergy and hospitals, and other commercial institutions invariably working under illegal and dangerous workhouse, and poorhouse Dickensian-type conditions.

The three 'Rs' stood for rape, rape, rape. 

Not only are victims physically raped — victims often remain psychologically raped. Their lives are raped. Their past and future raped.

If you doubt any of this, you have only to read some of the harrowing testimony of victims.

Despite repeated calls from various legal and other groups for the Catholic Church to be honest about the number of victims, any numbers cited fall far short of those reported to support groups.

SEXUAL ATROCITIES INVOKE NAME OF GOD IN SAME WAY AS JIHADISTS

These sexual atrocities are committed by paedophiles and perpetrators who often invoke the name of their god in the same way that jihadists invoke the name of their god in acts of barbaric calumny.

Baillieu put an end to the infiltrating political and judicial headlock, the decades of omerta that the corrupt once all-powerful and intimidating Catholic mafia imposed upon the nation entire – Catholic and non-Catholic alike – to varying degree.

The legacy of Baillieu's time as premier might arguably have been an inglorious one with few triumphs — except for the Inquiry.

When Baillieu, the Member for Hawthorn first led his Party to that other political grand final – the premiership – on December 2, 2010, it was as if Victoria breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Mired in scandal and controversy, broken promises, debt and endless dodgy contract doings, the previous Labor Government had caused the State to haemorrhage from every orifice — infrastructure, planning, transport, productivity, health, law and order, essential services, tourism, aged care, community morale.

The battalions of media advisers and consultants on the Labor payroll had proved utterly ineffectual and unworthy of their outrageous drain on the public purse.

BAILLIEU THE PREMIER OF BROKEN PROMISES

Baillieu promised to change all that. He didn't.

He promised to keep his promises. He didn't.

He promised to be transparent.  He wasn't.

He promised to show us contracts the government signed in our name. He did not.

He promised his would not be a secretive government. It was. 

Baillieu promised media minders and spin doctors would not stand between him and the people.

They did.

When the Frankstonstein Monster, Geoff Shaw resigned from the parliamentary party, absconding to the cross benches, taking his inflated ego and single majority vote with him, Baillieu's detractors started calling for his blue blood.

TED BAILLIEU NO CAGE FIGHTER

Baillieu is no cage fighter. 

The one-time architect, nicknamed 'Ted the Toff' in affection by some, often in unfair derision by Labor Party members close to tears, stood down as Premier.

He nominated in his stead Denis Napthine, former veterinarian and champion of Victoria's annual wild duck shooting slaughter and the horse-killer 'sport' of jumps racing.

Napthine has more than a few hurdles of his government's making to overcome. Just when we thought Victoria's mismanagement couldn't be worse, it is. As I write, Napthine is galloping towards next Tuesday's Melbourne Cup and threatening defeat on 29 November's State Election — a mere 31 sleeps away.

I would call it certain defeat were the Labor Flopposition any better.

The unknown known is that Labor leader Daniel Andrews has an identity problem. He hasn't got one.

Or if he had one, he has misplaced it.

In fact, according to this Swinburne University straw poll conducted by journalism students, both Andrews and Napthine are strawmen, experiencing identity crises with voters.

Never mind about whether he's Arthur or Mt Martha, Andrews doesn't know if he's Daniel or Dan.

We don't either.

You do have to wonder at the inanity of 're-branding' Daniel Andrews as ' Dan' Andrews, to make him more memorable to the electorate. Fair dinkum. They must think we are all fools.

'FLOPPOSITION' LEADER 'DAN' THE NOWHERE MAN

'Dan' the Nowhere Man was unleashed to the disinterested Victorian electorate in August in a Labor Party advertisement. For gawd's sake.

So the election is between Dan and Den. Both surely rate only a 'D' as preferred candidates. There are no A-lister pollies to see here.

Despite the mess that Victoria is in and despite the fact that he has contributed to it, there was a great sadness by many when, with tears in his eyes, 'Bails' on August 22, announced his retirement, confirming that despite earlier protestations, he would not recontest the seat of Hawthorn that he has held since 1999.

At 4.48pm that same Friday, in response to Baillieu's resignation, a listener called Nat Carr left this comment on the Fairfax Radio 3AW website:

'This bloke was hopeless. First he does not know how to speak and he has a personality of a [sic] indoor plant. He should ask for all the money he spent on private school education back.'

* Please do not hesitate to reach out if you need support – for yourself – or anyone else. Here are some helplines and support groups that may be of help.

  • Lifeline: 13 11 14
  • Broken Rites Australia national hotline: (03) 9457 4999
  • Bravehearts: (Information and support line available nationally via free call number 1800 BRAVE 1 (1800 272 831) between the hours of 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday (AEST).
  • Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse: Support services.

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