bravepat

See these 2 blokes above?

They are the patrons of Bravehearts, the predominantly publicly funded fiefdom of an irregularly but often aspiring – and so far unsuccessful – politician named Hetty Johnson.

Bravehearts were awarded a 3 year, $5.1 million government contract –  funded with Australian taxpayers money – to provide services to victims during the Child Abuse Royal Commission. It will be interesting to learn how it was spent once this information becomes available, but that is not the issue here.

The issue is that the two talisman of Bravehearts, the Patron and Vice Patron, have unacceptably close links to the two largest and, until recently (perhaps), most belligerent institutional abusers other than the State.

I speak of course of the Anglican and Catholic churches, the institutions that for more than a century have covered up child sex in the church, protected the perpetrators, and bashed the victims with a combination of God, guilt and great big law firms, f*cking the abused around for years, sometimes decades, while all the while rewarding the terrible men who covered up these crimes by promoting them to positions for which they are demonstrably unsuitable but in which they continue to have access, power and influence over the children of the church that they have so badly let down by their actions.

The former Chief Justice and current Governor of the State of Queensland Paul De Jersey is the charity’s Patron-in-Chief, the big banana of the bunches of Bravehearts supporters.

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De Jersey is also the Chancellor Emeritus of the Anglican Church, a title bestowed on him in 2014 after his ascension to the role of big bed warmer at Government House forced the Guv’nor to retire from the role of Chancellor of the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane (honorary legal adviser to the Archbishop) that he had held for 23 years from 1991 until his involuntary retirement.

In that period between 1991 and 2014 the Anglican Church refused to accept liability for the abuse that had occurred in its churches and institutions, adopting the simple but brutal legal strategy of simply throwing up the then unfair 3 year statute of limitations bar to any claim for compensation brought by a child victim of the posse of abusers protected by the church during that time.

A posse that included among many others:

  • Kevin ‘Skippy’ Lynch, the second most prolific known pedophile in Queensland’s history, who was protected by principals, politicians and police during his near 2-decade reign of terror against children;
  • Greg Knight, a serial child abuser and rapist who was known to have abused or attempted to abuse children in at least 2 states when employed at St Paul’s School by Gilbert Case, the long-time best friend of Kevin Lynch and later both he and Knight’s protectors;
  • Kevin Guy, a boarding master at an Anglican owned and run girls school and a complete coward, who abused at least 20 young girls but committed suicide before he could be tried and convicted, thus stealing justice away from his victims to match the suite of other things he had stolen from them, including their innocence, their youth and themselves;
  • Former Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie) bursar turned priest John Elliot, whose protection by Governor-General Peter Hollingworth during his time leading the church led to the latter losing the highest position in the land after it was revealed that Elliot was a serial predator and that an eminent Brisbane psychologist’s advice to remove him from the church was ignored by Hollingworth, who instead sent the lifetime pedophile to run a rural parish; and
  • A host of Churchie staff and teachers, including jailed, convicted or suicide before trial pedophiles of the ilk of Freddie ‘Doc’ Whitehouse, Harry Wippell, Frederick Roy Hoskins, William Hamilton Nation Leslie, William Whitelock, Robert Sharwood and Christopher Klemm.

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The church bashed the children abused by this role call of criminals one and all, either by disputing the victims claims and effectively calling them liars, or – in cases where the abuse was so open and demonstrable that it had to be accepted  – by forcing the victims to agree to accept in final settlement of their claims small sums less than a 50th of what they may be awarded by a court that the Anglican’s blindingly blasphemous and utterly immoral legal strategy ensured they would never enter.

Bravehearts patron Mr Governor De Jersey was the Chancellor of the Church and the principal legal adviser to the Archbishop throughout this entire period. He was also one of Queensland’s sharpest legal minds, or one of the sharpest seemingly well-bred ones anyway: it was impossible that De Jersey was not aware of the abuse and the church’s legal policy of its denial, and highly likely that he was in fact involved in the strategy’s development and perhaps even execution.

And did I mention that De Jersey was also a member of the School Council – the governing body – of Churchie during a fair slice of this period too? Well he was, from 1990 to 1997, and De Jersey continues to have a strong association with the school even from Government House, being a regular guest speaker at school events and hosting members of the school to soirees at the Bardon mansion that we own but where he sleeps.

If that clear conflict of interests and previous agendas is not enough to immediately disqualify De Jersey from eligibility to become or continue to hold the role of patron of a child protection charity in receipt of Royal Commission then I don’t know what is.

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But throw into the mix the following organisations appearing at the Royal Commission to explain abuse of kids in their care, and become aware that De Jersey is closely associated with them all, and his role at Bravehearts becomes totally untenable:

  • Church of England Boys Society (CEBS)
  • Scouts
  • Surf Life Saving Australia
  • Australian Defence Force
  • Brisbane Boys Grammar School
  • St Paul’s School

Hetty Johnston knows it too.

She couldn’t help but be aware of these conflicts given that she is in charge of Australia’s highest profile child protection charity. Why she hasn’t acted to have De Jersey step down as patron or be removed is a question begging an answer from the Bravehearts supremo.

Why she hasn’t acted to have the Vice-Patron removed is another, for Karl Morris is awfully close to another major institutional abused the Catholic Church, and a man simply cannot serve two masters, at least not without questions of a serious conflict of interest being raised anyway.

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Morris (above, seated next to the ultra-orthodox Catholic, family friend of George Pell, and influential lobbyist the Branch Stacker) is variously:

  • A board member of the Sydney Catholic Development Fund;
  • A member of the Sydney (Catholic) Archdiocesan Investment and Finance Committees;
  • Governor of the Catholic owned and operated Notre Dame University;
  • A member of the Brisbane Catholic Archdiocesan Investment Committee

Of course as anyone who follows the news knows the Catholic Church is beyond doubt the flagbearer for the child abuse cover-up brigade, and that the alleged sins and crimes committed by church members go all the way to the top and even over the seas to Rome in the form of George Pell, the inventor of the “f*ck off victim your action is barred by the statute of limitations so eat dirt” legal strategy that became infamous as the church’s widely-reviled Melbourne Response.

So why then exactly is Morris, one of the church’s staunchest supporters, the vice-patron of an organisation funded in part to assist victims of Catholic institutional abuse as they continue their long quest to have the crimes committed against them acknowledged by the church and addressed by the payment of fair and just compensation for all that they and their families have lost as a result of their abuse at the church’s hands?

Why indeed?

Perhaps one day Hetty Johnston may even drop the ‘attack as the best form of defence’ reasonable and rational questions about the operations of Bravehearts and tell us. Until then though a whole host of victims will continue to shun the services of Bravehearts and wonder out loud to themselves ‘If these are the guards keeping the barbarians from our gates, then who the hell will save us from the guards?’

That’s a bloody good question too.

Just don’t hold your breath waiting for an answer.