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Thursday, 28 February 2019

A question of character: John Howard on Michael Kirby & George Pell - compare and contrast

Fellow citizens,

Character: The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual - noun, Oxford English Dictionary.

Yesterday, after knowing of the conviction of Cardinal George Pell for child sexual abuse, John Howard wrote a 'character reference' for Pell because, for Howard, the fact that Pell was found to be a paedophile did not "alter my opinion of the Cardinal".



In March 2002, Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan, under parliamentary privilege, accused the then High Court Justice Michael Kirby of hiring underage prostitutes and illegally using a commonwealth car to "trawl for rough trade at the Darlinghurst Wall" and that Kirby "played out his fantasies in a fee for service arrangement."




Far from condemning Heffernan, Howard said in parliament that Heffernan was "justified in using parliamentary privilege to air the matters which he did" and that "he holds very strongly to the views he expressed in the speech and he does not resile from them one iota."

Howard then said "the Senator in question enjoys both my affection and my friendship, and I know that he holds the views he has expressed on matters very deeply and very conscientiously."

He didn't leave it there.

Howard then went on the John Laws program to say that "your listeners will know that any kind of misbehaviour involving people under age would disqualify people from a whole lot of positions, not just being a High Court judge."

Heffernan's scurrilous and baseless accusations were proven to be a fabrication. Howard's role in the disgraceful affair will never be known.

What we do know is this:

In 2002, unsubstantiated allegations made under parliamentary privilege "involving people under age" were levelled at a High Court judge and Howard was all too keen to lend support to those allegations, bringing Kirby's character into question.

In 2019, a conviction of sexual abuse "involving people under age" has been recorded against Pell and Howard says this fact did not "alter my opinion of the Cardinal", in effect, saying that Pell's character is not in question.

Character?

Based on these facts, what can anyone say about Howard's character? 



Character: The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual - noun, Oxford English Dictionary.

3 comments:

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