woensdag, oktober 21, 2015

Abuse inquiry ‘should investigate former PM for pedophilia’

Sarah Martin
A Liberal senator has told a parliamentary inquiry that a list of 28 “prominent” pedophiles, which allegedly includes a former Australian prime minister and members of the judiciary, should be investigated by the royal commission into child sexual abuse.
NSW senator Bill Heffernan said he had been advised that the list of names, which he claims was uncovered during the Wood Royal Commission into the NSW Police Force and given to him by a police officer, was outside the scope of the commission’s inquiry.
Speaking under the protection of parliamentary privilege in a Senate estimates hearing this afternoon, Senator Heffernan asked Attorney General George Brandis to consider pursuing the “institution of the law” through the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
He said “disturbing” documents he had given to the commission chief executive Phillip Reed included a list of 28 alleged paedophiles, which he claimed had not been investigated by the Wood Royal Commission because of concern it may tarnish the reputation of the judiciary.
“We have in Australia sadly a compromise at the highest of levels. There is a former prime minister on this list and it is a police document.
“I think it is time, like our churches and our other institutions who are now facing up to the truth, I think it is time the institution of the law faced reality,” he said.
Senator Heffernan said the 28 people had determined to “keep each other’s secrets” and this had compromised the institution of the judiciary.
He said the current inquiry into institutional child abuse — which he praised for its “attitude and aptitude” — had determined that the material he had provided for their consideration was outside the terms of reference of the royal commission, and asked Senator Brandis for an explanation.
Senator Heffernan said he had another piece of evidence which listed people who had visited a “boy brothel” in Kings Cross, which included some people who were still practising lawyers.
“The judge of the day of the royal commission decided it was a no-go zone,” he said.
The Attorney General said the “grave matters” raised by Senator Heffernan should be investigated by the police and defended the royal commission for not including the allegations in its inquiry.
“It is for the royal commission to judge whether by reference to its terms of reference, which of course define its jurisdiction, (whether) that information is something that it should, or indeed is capable, of inquiring further into,” Senator Brandis said.
He also cautioned Senator Heffernan, saying “just because somebody’s name appears on a list, doesn’t make them guilty.”
“I don’t comment on your general allegations, but of course, nobody is above the law, nobody,” Senator Brandis said.
Last month, Senator Heffernan called for the judiciary to be investigated after the NSW Judicial Commission barred a judge from sex trials for comments that he made from the bench.
The senator and then-NSW attorney-general Brad Hazzard complained to the Judicial Commission when NSW District Court judge Garry Neilson compared incest and paedophilia to homosexuality and suggested juries might no longer think sexual relations with a child were unnatural or “taboo”.

Senator Heffernan has campaigned for decades against child sexual abuse and has used the Senate previously to make sensational claims about the judiciary. In 2002 Senator Heffernan claimed then High Court Justice Michael Kirby had used a Comcar to pick up underage male prostitutes but his claims were false, and based on a forged document and he resigned as Cabinet secretary to John Howard.

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