Last Thursday the publisher was kind enough to approve one of my stories and whacked it up on this website the same day.
The story was an exclusive revealing that the charity Bravehearts had for years been paying $27 000 p.a. to rent a home converted to offices/rooms at Springwood that they use as an office, and that the rental property was in fact owned by the organisation’s head honcho Hetty Johnston, who had struck a contract with the organisation that she heads for Bravehearts to rent the joint.
It was a fair and balanced article I thought, with the only thing missing being a quote from Hetty Johnston. I did try, but was told that Hetty was out of the country, which of course is true because she herself tells us now that she’s holidaying abroad, and presumably lazing on the warm sand of some beautiful beach or another. I can’t tell you whether she’s drinking Pina Colada’s out of a coconut shell simply because I don’t know, but I hope so because PC’s a great drop, even if the coconut’s not. PC that is.
Anyway, the very next day an article appeared in The Australian and by some miraculous coincidence it contained the exact same facts as I had uncovered in my research.-, namely that Hetty was copping $27 large a year from Bravehearts for the rent on her Springwood house cum office and treatment rooms.
While it seems unusual that 2 fellas from opposite ends of the free press spectrum would be working on such an obscure topic at the same time, I’m quite certain that it was simply an act of god. Rupert’s very particular about breaches of copyright you see – he’s been giving me all sorts of grief about using a murderer’s mug shot Murdoch reckons he owns – and as such in the hostile and litigious environment in which the pair of us presently find ourselves sparring he wouldn’t dare let one of his kids shoplift. The old bastard may well be the most miserable c*nt on the planet, but Murdoch ain’t dumb.
I’m not so sure about Hetty Johnston though, because my uncovering of the questionable inter-party transactions and the subsequent unattributed story in The Australian the next day seem to have pushed the steam button on Hetty’s iron, and she’s fired back by publicly issuing and printing a hugely defamatory and immensely distressing statement that, while it doesn’t name me or this website directly, is clearly about both as anyone who has read our series of stories about Bravehearts would immediately be aware.
I’m going to respond to the public notice presently and in depth, but let me just say right here and now that the vitriolic, fact-free, malicious attack launched at me by Hetty Johnson under the guise of a response to the article in The Australian is scandalous conduct by one who holds her position of trust, and renders her unfit to continue in a role representing survivors of child sex abuse.
There’s an old saying in Rugby League that a footy player is only as good as his last game. Hetty Johnston’s was a shocker. There is no place in public life for a child protection leader who openly imputes that a child sex abuse victim is no better than a member of the pedophile fraternity and belongs in the same category. It is simply vile and appalling behavior on the Bravehearts leaders part.
Johnston should stand down from her role or be sacked immediately.
The full text of Hetty Johnston’s public statement is contained below:
My name is Hetty Johnston AM, Bravehearts’ Founder and Chair and I write this while on holiday in Fiji. I am more than a little perplexed as to why, every time Bravehearts starts a campaign to crack down on those who sexually assault our kids, as we are doing now, these faceless trolls and disenfranchised get to work at trying to undermine the good work, reputation and credibility of the Bravehearts Foundation and me personally.
Bravehearts are calling for a Federal Royal Commission into the Family Law Systems of Australia and we will not stop until we get it. Clearly we are rattling some cages – good.
Again we are being targeted by vindictive, baseless and ignorant allegations and assertions about me and my family on social media. Those rants have now been heard and reported by print media who, while acknowledging no wrong-doing by me or Bravehearts, must know that this type of press plants seeds of doubt against our integrity. That is exactly what the faceless trolls, the disenfranchised and the paedophile fraternity want and that is why I am responding.
My husband and I started the charity in 1996, after a disclosure by our daughter that she had been sexually harmed. We purchased the Springwood property in 1999 when we were unable to find space for the organisation because nobody would rent to us. The (then) mayor told us nobody wanted us. So my husband and I purchased the property with 100+% borrowed money.
Ian is a floor-sander and it is his self-employed income and hard work that paid for the Interest only repayments on the Springwood premises for some years until Bravehearts took them over. I worked without pay for some 9 years along with others, some of whom are still with the organisation today. During this time, my husband sweated his heart out, working long hours week after week, year after year until we began to receive some donations to help us meet the financial needs of the organisation, things like stationery, fuel, equipment, IT and phone bills.
During this same time, Bravehearts work exposed the Foster Care crisis facing Qld kids which would lead to the closure of the Qld Dept of Families, we called for, and won, the resignation of Australia’s then Governor General Peter Hollingsworth (former Anglican Archbishop) and we lobbied for and won the introduction of Blue Cards, the Indefinite detention of dangerous sex offenders legislation, the Sexual Assault Disclosure Scheme and so much more. We started White Balloon Day and finally began to break the silence on child sexual assault.
In or around 2009 I started to draw a meagre wage and over time that wage has incrementally gone from zero to $158,000 currently (to answer yet another ‘anonymous’ critic on the net). I work 24/7 as anyone who knows anything about Bravehearts or me will attest.
The Head Office moved from the Springwood address in 2008 to the Gold Coast when a purpose-built premises was donated to the charity. Vital counselling and support services continue to run from Springwood however the space is now too small and we are actively looking for a new premises in Logan. If anyone will rent us their commercial space for @$27,000 pa – must be easy walking distance to public transport, have four or more counselling rooms, office space and facilities for 10 people etc please do let me know – we will be there like a shot!
As reported in The Australian, it cost my husband and I over $1milion dollars in time and money to start and grow the charity – money we deliberately invested in the safety of all children. Our integrity and ethical foundations are without compromise and I take offence to any suggestion otherwise. We have always declared any and all perceived or actual conflicts of interest and have exceeded all reporting and auditing requirements.
In closing I repeat my comment reported in The Australian today – for those who are trying to distract us and/or damage our ability to stay on our mission of protecting kids ….. “long walk, short pier”.
Bravehearts remain happy to respond to genuine questions and concerns but we will not be held ransom to those whose only motive is to stop us from our mission of preventing child sexual assault and further their own agendas.