The topic is firstly about the sexual abuse of our children and in particular the sexual abuse of our children by segments of religious entities.
It is enough that the head of the Roman Catholic Church has traveled here and has made it a point of his journey to address the issue of the sexual abuse of children by priests within his church. Surely that is enough for the Prime Minister of our country to take note and to hold with the issue of the sexual abuse of children by clergy.
With the Catholic Church in Australia believed to own assets worth more than $100 billion, with our Government providing billions per annum to Catholic and other church enterprises plus tax relief, plus company tax relief, plus no requirement to file income tax returns, plus receive exemptions on GST, fringe benefits tax (of more than $15,000 per employee), stamp duty on property transfers, payroll tax on non-commercial activities, land tax and rates, and do not have to pay tax on commercial businesses or pay capital gains tax on the sale of assets. This is all on a non-accountable income. In addition the Catholic and other Churches are provided with a wide range of legal and other benefits and exemptions such as exemptions from banking regulations which would permit religions to operate as an unregulated online bank.
When the extent of the sexual abuse of children by paedophile Catholic priests in Australia is known universally and it is recognised internationally that Australia is one of the hardest hit countries, when it is universally acknowledged that the continuation of sexual abuse of children is an ongoing aspect of the largest single identifiable instance of institutionalised pedophilia in Australia.
When all this is seemingly swept under the radar by our Governments there is more than enough to say that there is an abject failure on the part of our Government to uphold the basic human rights of its citizens and in particular its children and the parents of children in their endeavour to protect their children from sexual abuse.
There are no legal requirement for the Catholic and other Churches to disclose documents or to provide information detailing the sexual abuse of children and accusations of sexual abuse of children by members of the Catholic and other Churches; there is no legal requirement for these religious groups to release the urgently needed documentation and the results of their own research into the numbers of abusive priests and other religious and the number of victims and the impact on their lives.
With the benefit of Government funding, legal and financial exemptions as well as an apparent blindness by authorities towards this issue together with the use of Church funds to finance the legal defence of pedophile priests, to provide for their well-being, accommodation, travel and other expenses whilst at the same time mounting major legal defences against victims attempts to obtain justice, to remove statute of limitations laws and to press charges of sexual abuse by clergy it is little wonder that so many have so little faith in either governmental or religious bodies and begs the question "Are taxpayers funds assisting the Catholic and other churches to coverup and defend the indefensible act of child sexual assault"?
The Australian Government is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and as such has a responsibility under Article 19 of the Convention which states:
1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
2. Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures for the establishment of social programmes to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement.
When our own Government funds and protects in this way without any demands or requirements for the Catholic and other Churches to function within the laws of this country and within those Human Rights treaties Australia is signatory to or to seek the provision of social justice or to ensure that the Catholic and other Churches makes restitution for past abuses; when our Government maintains obsolete statute of limitation laws in place and permits them to be used by the Catholic and other Churches to avoid their social and legal responsibilities and continues to fund the Catholic and other Churches at these rates while it fails to place any requirements for those Churches to identify all religious with credible accusations of pedophilia and other sexual crimes against them, to obtain documentation held by the Catholic and other churches identifying sexual abusers of children without co-ordinated intervention or Government control then at least the Government should acknowledge its failures and undertake the largest possible education program to publicly warn every parent that the Government of their country is incapable of bringing about a halt to the sexual abuse of their children by unaccountable predatory priests and enabling Bishops and that they are incapable of provide the basis of restorative justice for those affected.
Kevin, throughout the entire campaign process and in the days since your election there have been many victims of clergy abuse and their supporters expecting any day to hear of your position regarding the clergy abuse crisis, there has been no clear statement of this from you as yet on this issue.
With the upcoming visit of the Pope it is time for all Australians to clearly hear of your position on this matter and to hear of how you intend to address this issue else an apology from you and from all politicians regardless or party or religion will simply not be enough.
Kevin Rudd "Some say only that which they see wrong in Christianity and in the Church, I say let us speak also about what is right in Christianity and the Church."
John Brown "Are you saying that the Pope should not speak of the sexual abuse of children by priests?What is right in the sexual abuse of the children of Christianity and the Church?"
Kevin Rudd "And I say this, that Christianity has been an overwhelming force for good in the world."
John Brown "And I say this, that the sexual abuse of children by Christian priests can never be described as "an an overwhelming force for good in the world"".
"There is no excuse for sexual abuse."
"What you have offered is an overwhelmingly obscene excuse".
"Does this mean that any sexual abuser is acceptable providing they belong to a Christian religion or that they also do good in the community?".
Kevin Rudd "Australia is a land of great freedom, a land of many cultures, a land of many faiths," "But also a land deeply shaped by and proud of this nation's Christian heritage and future. And within that great Christian heritage, we honor deeply the great Catholic heritage of Australia as well."
John Brown "Like the Pope I too am deeply ashamed, deeply ashamed that you have not taken seriously the gravest issue on his agenda here, and like the Pope I too want to see the filth rooted out of his Church". "Your failure to acknowledge the clergy abuse of thousands of Australian can only be seen to mock the words of the Pope and to fly in the face of all reason and at the same time to make a mockery of fatherhood".
The heritage of the Catholic Church can be summed up in the universal truth of the universally known jokes which are a part of our Australian culture and literature.
"What do you give a pedophile who has everything?" is a classical example of that.
It is indeed a shame that Australia is beginning to be seen on a global scale as a joke in regards the issue of clergy abuse!!
I understand what you are talking about and I have to take a moment to remind you that what is being talked about here is not religion it is the topic of the sexual abuse of children, it is not about who commits those atrocities it is simply about the sexual abuse of our children and how do we put a stop to that - for the sake of those who have been abused and for the sake of those yet to be abused can we stay on that topic?