On the Child Abuse Inquiry

Julia Gillard has announced a Royal Commission into child abuse. On the one hand we all can say ‘amen’ and wish it well. All child abuse is horrific and appalling, and anyone guilty of committing such crimes should be punished with the full weight of the law.

Now that could be the end of my article. However, many questions arise here, and one needs to look at things much more closely. Sadly, many things done by politicians tend to be done for political advantage, and only secondarily because they are right.

One could ask therefore about the timing of all this. Child abuse – and our knowledge of it – has been around for ages. Why did the Labor government pick this time to finally decide to look into it? Why not sooner? Could part of the reason for the delay be the fact that another Labor scandal was just erupting, this time in NSW with the Eddie Obeid affair?

How convenient of her to announce an inquiry at the same time another potentially damaging Labor scandal had just broken out: a great way to minimise any fallout from what is happening with the former Labor powerbroker. But I guess we should not be surprised here.

Dennis Shanahan points out some inconvenient truths here. Last Friday both Gillard and Bill Shorten had announced there would be no such inquiry, yet 48 hours later they did a complete flip-flop. Moreover, there are many other worthy subjects for such inquiries:

“Calls for royal commissions – from union leaders mostly – into the alleged misuse of Health Services Union funds and alleged fraudulent misappropriation of more than $600,000 from an Australian Workers Union slush fund have fallen on deaf ears.”

And one has to also wonder just how much politics is involved with this anyway. The focus has of course been on the Catholic Church, but the inquiry will look at other abuse. Given that Julia has a tough enough time to keep going, and somehow manage to win the next election, it may seem fitting to try to smear Catholic Tony Abbott with some of this mud along the way.

Piers Akerman puts it this way: “It is about another Labor Party effort to smear the Opposition leader Tony Abbott, a practising Catholic, and to paint him as a member of an organisation which turned a blind eye, at the least, to child abuse. The ALP knows a lot about child abuse, a number of its former MPs are in prison. But it knows more about the dark tricks needed to smear opponents and it is now playing one of those with its media mates.

“For weeks now there has been a concerted effort to link Abbott with scandals associated with Catholic organisations. Labor’s strategists – the same people who attempted to catch Abbott in a race riot of their own construct in Canberra last Australia Day – hope that the media will pummel Abbott over his Catholicism in coming months and that voters will believe that he has somehow been engaged in the most disgraceful behaviour the commission uncovers. That’s what the timing of this is all about. That’s why it has no framework, no commissioner, nothing but the ABC trying to point a bone at a particular church.”

Even a non-Catholic and non-religious writer like Andrew Bolt can see this, warning it can become “an anti-Catholic crusade. Many in the largely anti-clerical media want to use this excuse to smash a church which lectures on modesty, duty, faithfulness and other fun-killers.

“On ABC TV, columnist Joe Asten put the main lines of the media attack: ‘It’s quite clear that almost exclusively this is an issue within the Catholic church. A lot of this goes down to outdated practices in the Catholic church, the celibacy of priests.’ And already we have journalists and politicians demanding priests betray the confessional if they hear someone admit to child abuse.

“It would be a tragedy if the Catholic Church was to be broken by this inquiry. There are few, if any, organisations that have inspired so many Australians to build and run schools, hospitals, hospices and services for the homeless. Destroy this church, the one that has best survived the decay of faith, and I doubt the Greens will pick up the slack and tend to the sick or minister to the poor.”

Child abuse of course can occur anywhere: in schools, in homes, in the Boy Scouts, in sporting groups, and so on. The idea that one church is especially to blame here is quite ludicrous. And the data shows that the great majority of priests have not been involved in this:

“According to a survey by the Washington Post, over the last four decades, less than 1.5 percent of the estimated 60,000 or more men who have served in the Catholic clergy have been accused of child sexual abuse. According to a survey by the New York Times, 1.8 percent of all priests ordained from 1950 to 2001 have been accused of child sexual abuse.”

Sure, any abuse is too much, but the way the MSM is running with this, you would think the only abuse is taking place in churches (abuse also takes place amongst some Protestants of course). But it is always so much easier to pick on the churches than to focus on other more politically correct areas.

Indeed, when will we talk about something the MSM will almost certainly refuse to discuss, along with the inquiry? We know that given how few homosexuals there are, the amount of abuse children experience at their hands is rather high. But chances are we will hear nothing about this at all.

I have documented all this in my book, Strained Relations. There, with complete references, I offered research such as the following: “Homosexual pedophiles victimise far more children than do heterosexual pedophiles (150 to 20). One research project discussed the ‘high prevalence of homosexuality in pedophiles (25% in this study)’. The researchers went on to say that ‘the prevalence of homosexuality is about 10 times higher in pedophiles than in teleiophiles [those attracted to adults]’.

There is plenty more such data which could be examined. I wonder if this inquiry will even go there however. And consider the high amount of abuse children experience in Aboriginal communities. As Bolt remarks: “Churches no longer are – if they ever were – where the worst child sex abuse occurs. Aboriginal communities are. The Australian Institute of Family Studies in June noted: ‘Inquiries into child sexual abuse in Western Australia, New South Wales and the Northern Territory have concluded that the sexual abuse of Aboriginal children was common, widespread and grossly under-reported’.”

Will this be looked into as well? It remains to be seen. At the end of the day, if this inquiry can actually result in there being less child abuse, that will be a very good thing. But such possible good results should not blind us to the fact that there seem to be a lot of political games being played here.


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