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Nothing underlines white privilege more than the government’s reaction to child sex abuse

Nothing underlines white privilege more than the government’s reaction to child sex abuse.

When allegations of paedophilia rings and child sex abuse in Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory were made, the government sent in the army, stripped people of their rights, and made draconian rules affecting whole communities.

When allegations of child sex abuse were made about children in offshore detention, the government attacked those making the allegations.

When rampant child sex abuse in the Catholic Church was exposed, former Prime Ministers lined up to provide character references for the offenders.

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44 comments

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  1. Alcibiades

    White priviledge, or IPA priviledge ?

    Askin’ for a friend.

  2. Kaye Lee

    “At the IPA’s 70th birthday gala dinner in 2013, Rupert Murdoch gave the keynote. NewsCorp’s Andrew Bolt was MC and opposition leader Tony Abbott called the IPA “freedom’s discerning friend”. Gina Rinehart, George Pell, George Brandis and Alan Jones were guests.”

    I wish I could have written a longer article about this but the more I researched and read, the more distressed I became about the inequity and the faux concern. It doesn’t take a lot of words to realise how hypocritical this whole charade about caring for children is.

    I would recommend this article by Chris Graham to get a broader understanding of the Intervention.

    https://newmatilda.com/2017/06/23/bad-aunty-seven-years-how-abc-lateline-sparked-racist-nt-intervention/

    Considering recent events, the comparison is heartbreaking

  3. paul walter

    If you never write another thing, Kaye Lee, at least you wrote this thread starter and included Graham’s definitive article.

    I remember Jones arrogantly presenting Smith’s vile story and complaining on line. As the article points out, the ABC doubled down on the slanders, I thought under pressure from Howard perhaps looking for but not finding another Tampa/Kids overboard heading for defeat in 2007.

    I never forgave any of them, perhaps most all Labor for not repudiating the Intervention later.

    As for the ABC, its arrogance can be suffocating. It routinely misreports foreign affairs and the campaign against the Victoria (in peril, surely) LawyerX whistleblower defies contempt, the more so for so many other issues left ignored.

  4. Shaun Newman

    Surely the whole subject of religion must now come up for discussion, this bloke is the third most powerful man in the Catholic church, on Earth, and he doesn’t practice what he preaches so why should anyone else believes what they preach. Waving a smokey chalice about and wearing a silly hat whilst preaching fire and brimstone if one sinned might have gone down well in 1519, however many more people are educated these days and in 2019 I contend the time has arrived for humanity to take responsibility for their own actions and not seek to seek forgiveness from an invisible entity.

    If there were any justice in the world, our ‘old mate’ would receive just punishment for his crimes, ‘crucifixion’ sounds bloody good to me. These sexual predators ruin many lives, and get off very lightly indeed in my humble opinion.

  5. Kaye Lee

    I am devastated by Labor’s support for the Intervention and offshore processing and school chaplains in state schools. How do we give them the backbone to stand up?

  6. Michael Taylor

    The Northern Territory Intervention.

    One of the dark periods of my life as a public servant.

    I was to later be on the Steering Committee for the introduction of a “shopping card” (I can’t remember the actual name for it). It was to become the forerunner of the Welfare Card, of that I am sure.

  7. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, there’s a story behind Rudd’s support of the Intervention. It’s a long one.

    One day, perhaps I’ll write about it.

  8. Kaye Lee

    Michael,

    I am sure white people like Jenny Macklin had good intentions triggered by tragic stories. To think that sending in the army and taking people’s land and cutting off their income and splitting up families will fix the problem is the white privilege I am talking about. There was no consultation with or involvement of the people they were purportedly trying to help. How can that possibly work in any meaningful way?

    This is dated but….”Operation Outreach, the intervention’s main logistical operation, was conducted by a force of 600 soldiers and detachments from the ADF . In the seven years since the initiation of the Emergency Response there has not been one prosecution for child abuse come from the exercise.”

  9. Kaye Lee

    paul walter,

    I had actually written about 1,000 words giving details about all this and I decided no and binned it. You don’t need me to tell you what has gone on. The contrast could be made much more succinctly. We need to discuss it. We need to ask questions. So yes, I thought a thread starter more constructive than an in depth essay from me. Micaheal’s perspective as an active insider at the time would be interesting but I know he is bound by certain restrictions on what he can say.

  10. Leanne

    The lPA is the liberal party and many of its members are Catholics and are in my opinion some of the nastiest characters in power in the LNP, in mining, in the church, in journalism, in business. They protect their own and by doing so expose themselves to us as the most morally bankrupt, greedy mongrels and we’re expected to thank these pitiful cretins for having a hand in where we are now. Kaye Lee is right about the variety of white priveledge that they enjoy and to think that two of our ex prime minister’s support George Pell shows us exactly what they stand for and who they are. l’m just so disgusted by them all.
    As a child of 11 l was sexually assaulted by a family member who was grooming me ( l understand what that entails now) l was lucky that when l told my grandmother what he’d done she believed me and it stopped. I feel that what Pell did to young boys was grooming of the highest order and he had ample opportunities for a man in his position to terrify these kids and get away with it for years. He’s a two faced bastard and l hope the Catholic church and it’s followers die out along with all other religions.
    I’m an athiest and l can remember thinking in my childhood, when dreadful things happened to me that God couldn’t possibly be real because he’s allowed evil men who were predatory, to do things to children, who should be protected from the harm of sexual abuse and violence, psychologically, emotionally and physically and that child sexual abuse creates dreadful feelings of real fear within one’s self. Pedophiles know exactly what they’re doing and are so corrupt , bloated on entitlement and their power, that victims are powerless to stop it and if God existed he’s a cruel god for not stopping any of it.
    I’ve recently been diagnosed with PTSD from what l went through so l can totally understand what these boys went through and how it made them feel. I hope that they realise that they’re not alone and people are horrified and disgusted by the whole sordid affair.
    George Pell should rot in a hell of his own making.

  11. Kaye Lee

    The fact that so many people have stories of abuse is a tragic indictment on our unwillingness to speak up though I fully understand why that is. My husband went to a Catholic boarding school which has featured in child sex abuse convictions. He has told me many stories about what he and others endured that have never been reported and never will be, For mental health reasons, they did not want to relive it.

    You were brave to tell your Grandma Leanne and thankfully she believed you.

  12. paul walter

    I was never so ashamed of the ALP as in the period after the election win when Macklin was appointed minister and endorsed the Intervention. The whole story from go to woe still has my blood boiling.

    For more on Pells appeal, go to the Guardian.

    And Michael, don’t give them the satisfaction, mindful and prudent is the go.

    We know what they are.

    All of them.

  13. Adrianne Haddow

    The most striking memory I have of the hypocrisy of the intervention is the employment of a person ( the old’ friend of a friend’) charged with the policing of this ‘policy’. This person had huge issues with alcohol, and yet was tasked with intervening in indigenous communities during the day, tackling issues of substance and alcohol abuse, while the nights were spent in alcohol fuelled phone calls to far flung friends, the sort that were irritatingly long, rambling raves and could only be terminated by a frustrated hang up.

    The remuneration package was very handsome.

    An apt example of white privilege.

  14. Kyran

    “When allegations of child sex abuse were made about children in offshore detention, the government attacked those making the allegations.”
    From memory, there were two sides to that coin. When the allegation pertained to the children in custody and the alleged abusers were staff, officials or people from the ‘broader community’, the government did attack those making the allegations. Viciously and relentlessly.
    When the allegation was made against a group of asylum seekers on Manus, the government and their media lackeys attacked, viciously and relentlessly, the asylum seekers. When the claims were found to be not only incorrect, but demonstrative of the asylum seekers showing more compassion and generosity than their circumstance could possibly warrant, there was no retraction or apology. It was merely allowed to remain as a dog whistle that asylum seekers were bad.
    That it is the same media lackeys now defending a convicted paedophile is galling to the extreme.
    “Nothing underlines white privilege more than the government’s reaction to child sex abuse.”
    It shouldn’t be forgotten that the Australian Human Rights Commission, under the stewardship of Ms Triggs, attempted to include our off-shore gulags in the RC and was largely ignored.
    And it is not only relevant to ‘child sex abuse’. We have a white privileged patriarchal and patronising contempt of child abuse when it comes to our First Peoples. Do not forget the Don Dale RC, where it was recommended that the age of ‘youth in detention’ be raised from 10 to 12, let alone the obscenity of either bench mark.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-28/calls-to-raise-age-of-criminal-responsibility-nt-youth-detention/10173908

    “The Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children recommended raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12, and advised that children under the age of 14 should not be detained except in the most serious of cases.”

    “”We don’t want a child with a criminal record when they’re 14,” said Rodney Dillon, an Indigenous rights advisor to Amnesty International.”
    That a child of 10, let alone 12 or 14, should be subject to more stringent and strict interpretations of law than the politicians who formulate the laws is an indecency beyond definition.
    We have OPCAT being introduced as a ‘principal’ but ignored as a certainty for all youth.
    Whilst I understand these are specifics and your remit was, for most reasonable reason, general in nature, it should never be forgotten that this government has no regard for anything other than their privilege – white, poorly disguised as fifty shades of grey.
    Thank you Ms Lee and commenters. Take care

  15. lawrence winder

    Interesting, just how lousy the Liberal party has become since the Catholics and other religious nutters have taken it over…

  16. Kaye Lee

    Kyran,

    The specifics are important to remember. Your comments are always welcome and informative. I just couldn’t bring myself to put it all together. The more I wrote the more hopeless and angry I felt.

  17. Michael Taylor

    Leanne, very sorry to hear of your experience. You are a brave lady.

  18. Alcibiades

    :small

  19. RomeoCharlie29

    You are right Kaye Lee, a succinct thread starter, as yours was, is sometimes preferable to a lengthy article. Sadly so much that follows has been said before and falls into the realm of “preaching to the converted” though as Leanne’s contribution shows, new ground can be broken.

    Reading the litanies of shonkiness and poor behaviours detailed both in articles and the comments, can lead to a sort of head-in-the-hands despair, particularly knowing that a/ when we finally get to an election a large percentage of people will still support this disgusting government, and b/ that we have to hope a Labor party with demonstrable clay feet will do better.

    Head is in hands now

  20. Ill fares the land

    Unhappily, the apparent conundrum of Kaye’s very brief, but jam-packed “article” (it’s more a question than an article) is easily reconcilable or explicable. There are votes for governments in two things (amongst others):

    1) Attacking and enigrating the indigenous
    2) Pontificating over protectiung abused children and appearing to punish the abusers.

    The first occurs because many on the conservative side see the indigenous as the recipients of an unfair level of government aid and regard the indigenous as the worst kind of lazy, unworthy bludgers. In the eyes of the moronic, if not brain dead conservative, the indigenous could get jobs and they could stop sniffing petrol and they could stop drinking – they choose to keep doing all of those things and we support them – what a disgrace. And the media falls in behind this shiboleth.

    Then, there is the faux outrage when white, middle-aged men are found to have repeatedly sexually abused young children – overwhelmingly boys. Of course, the fact that the organisations of which those men were part engaged in the most shamefiul of cover ups, often with the assistance of police and probably the knowledge of middle-aged white men in government is cast aside – that can’t get any attention.

    See – easy. Two sides of the same white, male-dominated privilege. Apparently incongruous ideas fit easily together, because they are both part of the same problem – white men who crave power and will stop at nothing to get it and retain it. In my estimation though and I have seen this in my professional life over decades, those who crave power and connive, lie, backstab and cheat to obtain it are very rarely, if ever, the people to whom power should be entrusted. Such people gain power but are never “leaders” and thus never gain the genuine respect they also crave – but having power satisfies their lust for the control that enables them to humiliate and suppress their opponents – a clear and ever present goal of conservatives.

    Other respondents have cited other examples that seem to involve actions that don’t seem to have a common genesis – but sadly do.

    Unfortunately, we see little “formal corruption” in politics (although I have no doubt it occurs routinely). What we do see, or at least get the occasional gflimpse of is the systemic “informal corruption”, where outrageous acts are orchestrated by a network of slimy bedfellows out of the public gaze and rarely in the public interest.

    Thanks for the link to the matilda article – that is both readable and painful at the same time. But then, I have long thought Tony Jones (and his wife) are examples of disgraceful, gutter journalism at its worst, despite that they work for the ABC.

  21. Kyran

    “The more I wrote the more hopeless and angry I felt.”
    Completely off topic, I went to a meeting in Kensington hosted by GetUp a while ago, to see what, if anything, I may be able to contribute. Prior to the meeting commencing, volunteers canvassed attendees and asked what word you would use to describe your feelings. Unthinkingly, and uncharacteristically, I answered ‘Anger’. It is an emotion I loathe as it is a harbinger of little good (in my experience). The enquirer simply answered ‘You are not alone’.
    The affront of their effrontery is a daily struggle, particularly when their inadequacy is amplified by the media’s complacent complicity. Where the anger morphs into despair is another trap to be avoided. It can be no more obscene or insidious than the way our children’s future has been mortgaged to the sins of our past. My intemperate disposition wasn’t improved this morning on reading an article off SBS.

    “The departure of the children and their families brings the number of refugees to have been resettled in the US under a deal with Australia to 493.
    Another 265 refugees have been assessed but rejected by the US under its extreme vetting policy.
    As the final two refugee families being held on Nauru were scheduled to be transferred to the US on Wednesday, it was revealed once they land they’ll have a big financial hurdle to jump.
    Under a little known US law, the refugees must pay back to the US government the costs of their and their family’s one-way flights there.”

    https://www.sbs.com.au/news/final-refugee-families-to-leave-nauru-charged-16k-for-flights-to-us

    The specifics are important, but they cannot be allowed as an excuse to ignore the bigger picture. They, all too often, provide a distraction with the minutiae whilst ignoring what it is we really could, should or would, strive for.
    As a further distraction and completely irrelevant to your writing, ‘Desiderata’ was a document I first came across in my teens and is one I re-read infrequently as an exercise in temperance.

    http://www.thoughtfortheday.com.au/images/Desiderata%20-%20Thank%20You.pdf

    “But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.”
    Looking around every day for the good is essential to keep anger in check and to avoid despair. Oddly, given the currency of the Pell pall, the significance of the last paragraph has become greater over the years, rather than lesser.
    “Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.”
    Having found Eric Metaxas’s book, ‘Martin Luther’, a revelation in its interpretation of god being a component of yourself, rather than a construct of society or a deity in its own right, was interesting in the context of Desiderata. This proposition was reinforced with Fynn’s ‘Mr God. This is Anna’. Only to be further reinforced by Oscar Wilde in ‘The Soul of Man’ and ‘De Profundis’. There are instances older than what we call time itself of this ‘humanitarianism’ being far more prevalent and basic than what we call Christianity. It is evidenced in our First People’s culture in their reverence and respect for country as the mother of all things, not mankind per se. Even though the Irish ‘culture’ is far younger than our First People’s culture, it espouses much the same belief, as do most indigenous cultures. Our English born culture is best confined to a petri dish by comparison.
    Now that I have completely derailed the thread, I can but “Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.”
    As always, take care. And thank you.

  22. Kaye Lee

    Kyran,

    You only ever add to the conversation. You never derail. I truly appreciate your thoughts.

    My father used quotes a lot as we were growing up. Many of them have stuck with me.

    “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”

    ― Mahatma Gandhi

  23. Kerry

    Ill fares the land
    I can’t find the reference in the article in New Matilda to Tony Jones could you point it out please?
    I also have been very suspicious of his secret political involvement over the years that does not match his almost bumbling leftie TV persona.
    Thanks

  24. New England Cocky

    @Kaye Lee: Perhaps the optimal solution is to protect the Federal government from complicity in pederasty by stopping all government funding to those dioceses of any religious persuasion that has had a pederasty conviction.

    These allegedly celibate clerics only answer to one God and that is personal comfort purchased with the alms of their poor parishioners and extensive government fund to buy the clerical influence and votes of their congregations.

    It’s time ….. again!!

  25. andy56

    i learned a long time ago that you dont get in the way of a good dog or cat story if something serious happens. I learned that 44 years ago when i lived in a ” slum reclamation area” in Nth Fitzroy. Foolish me trying to educate a reporter on a mystery fire. Hope the dipstick has a conscience.
    It just amazes me how duplicitous the media is. That Lateline fiasco is pretty bad behaviour. But I would suggest its not the only one, maybe far more extensive than you imagine. Balanced reporting is the euphemism you use when you cant discern facts from politics. I warn you people, the ABC is not totally immune from this disease.
    Loudly proclaiming what the PM’s political message is without a clear questioning of the shout smells like taking sides to me, an unpaid political add. I just dont know how my TVs have survived, lol.

  26. andy56

    how did the catholic church ever get to make Pell a priest. With his obvious lack of empathy, you would have thought they would give him the flick. I mean, a religion based on the obvious high levels of empathy portrayed by JC letting anyone in. I would say there are lots of people showing obvious signs of incompetence just there. They got Abbott right but Pell very very wrong.
    Then living with a pedophile and knowing nothing is pure sargent shultz. I would say it was deliberate ignorance.
    So he gets judged by a jury and found guilty. It doesnt affect me one way or the other but when Mr Richter talked about vanilla sex —– fucking guilty as hell, just there !!
    Me , I’m a lapsed catholic who doesnt believe in the supernatural. Some of its teachings can be quite usefull but paradoxically most is self serving crap, from its language all the way up to the top man. Its just a manufactured , vertically integrated scam.
    If the catholic church had any, and i mean any moral credence, they would be calling out Abbott for his stance on refugees in Nauru. The Silence is deafening.

  27. COLIN JONES

    Why isn’t this ” Main stream media” instead of the garbage in the Un Australian, et al?
    Why is it so hard to print the truth in this joint.
    I know it has ever been so, but surely now the worm is turning.
    Keep up the good work.

  28. Kaye Lee

    Perhaps if, instead of the government paying for religious chaplains in state schools, they should insist that all religious schools had secular counsellors trained in adolescent mental health issues. Someone the kids could go to when someone touches them inappropriately. Someone they could go to if they had questions about their sexuality. Someone who could help them get mental health treatment if they needed it. Someone they could trust.

  29. Matters Not

    One wonders if there’s ever a good time to bring a broader historical/cultural perspective to bear. You know like:

    Though nowadays pedophilia is considered illegal, terrible, and vehemently frowned upon in most societies, there was once a time when it was seen as acceptable and even encouraged. … Ancient civilizations such as the Romans, the Greeks, and the Samurai warriors all embraced pedophilia, viewing it as a way to enlighten young children in the ways of love, and teach them how to be a better, more respectful lover later in life.

    But before throwing verbal spears – have a read. And to the end if you want to gain some understanding as to what we regard as natural, right, normal etc is/was not universally shared – and I am talking about beliefs et al that go way beyond the paedophilia issue.. Just sayin …

    https://allthatsinteresting.com/pederasty

  30. Kaye Lee

    I admit I haven’t read it MN and I don’t think I want to. There have been too many excuses and justifications for the imposition of power on children and I am currently a bit sensitive having been reminded of too much in recent days. (Perhaps I will feel more up to reading it later)

    But one doesn’t need to look to other cultures – the marriageable age in Australian states and territories was the same as the age of consent – 14 for men and 12 for women – only decades ago.

  31. Matters Not

    KL re:

    and I don’t think I want to

    Most people won’t read the article. They will see it through the cultural lens of – the imposition of power on children – but other cultures constructed a different reality – using different concepts. Strange as that might be.

    Education, for me, is about the opportunity to escape the limitations of one’s own culture – common sense and all that. Should stress I am not justifying paedophilia, just pointing out that other cultures did just that – but there definition of paedophilia was different.

  32. Kaye Lee

    MN,

    I will try to read it later but I am seriously beyond academic conversations about cultural concepts right now. I am actually surprised at the emotions I am feeling. And I am sure there are many others with far more justification for feeling bruised right now. The #metoo movement and the child sex abuse RC and the seemingly never-ending examples of sexual harassment or assault are taking a toll. I doubt there is a woman reading this who doesn’t have memories she would rather forget let alone the children who were abused. It is distressing. Perhaps I will feel more resilient again in the morning….but it has actually been a difficult time and I am stronger than most. Too many memories flooding in that had been consigned to a box.

  33. Peter F

    @LS thank you for this link, it sums what I have always claimed: Corruption starts at the top in any organisation. If the top is corrupt, corruption flourishes lower down because everyone higher up is afraid of being exposed.

    I now understand that this exists in the Church organisations as it has in many places. The current Pope is showing what can be done when the leader is not part of the corruption, but will he be allowed to continue?

    For example : Joh brought Lewis back from Charleville where Lewis had been sent in disgrace by Queensland Police Commissioner Ray Whitrod. Lewis was made Whitrod’s deputy by Joh. Whitrod resigned, and Joh had a police commissioner under his thumb. This, (and the result) is history.

  34. andy56

    MN, have you heard of the stockholme syndrome? Maybe, just maybe those cultures had it in spades. Enlightenment and education have rid us of these evils. Living a lot in asia, you learn that the western moral compass isnt the only way in life, but some things just dont stand up to intelligent scrutiny. If the doctors are telling us abused children generally grow up with all sorts of neurotic issues. i just cant imagine how a whole society of these can be a paradise.
    The catholic church is one such culture that supported pedophiles with the cover of secrecy. Just look how that unravels.
    And we havent even started with the Muslims or Buddhists yet. Going on what we know of human behaviour, they cant be totally pure either. The only reason they havent been exposed is FEAR. Thats one of few benefits of the west, our reluctant ability to call it out. Our fear levels are somewhat lower. But thats not a deliberate insertion into our daily lives. Dont believe me? The sky is falling because of medivac. i rest my case.

  35. andy56

    Peter F, i have no such reason to believe the current pope is any different to his predecessors. I remember in primary school, with great fanfare the reforms to bring the church up to date. I couldnt tell the difference then and i still cant. He has no power or reason to rock the boat. Its like our liberals, if they are all elected with the same “image”, why are surprised when they all sing from the same book? They are now saying Pyne is a moderate. WTF? What ever the policy is today, i will defend it to the death. You dont think they chose him because he is not one of them?
    The vertically integrated scam that is the catholic church will do everything in its power to minimise the damage. Getting on the front foot was left at the dr 2000 odd years ago , just ask JC

  36. Kerry

    Hi MN,
    The way some ancient cultures treated children is hardly relevant in this day and age. Those empires are long gone and undoubtedly for the best.

    The fact that the Samuri and the Greeks concocted a more sophisticated excuse for having sex with children and the Romans were just too bloated on their own power to even bother, is more a reflection of the differences in the way countries lie to justify anything they want to do.

    If we could have asked the parents of the day whose children were bought or stolen to be said “companions” I am sure we would get a completely different story.

    The fact that an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima does not justify doing it again. Same for raping children.

    I rest my argument against using historical atrocities to justify anything.

  37. Kerry

    Kaye lee thanks for the link 🙂

  38. Peter F

    Andy yes, I have often been called an unreal optimist.

  39. Stephen Fitzgerald

    I’m with Paul Walters, Kaye Lee. What you have written conveys our own shock and dismay at the arrogance and insensitivity of the right-wing. It leaves us numb and speechless. Any feeling persons’ heart goes out to the innocent victims of these horrendous crimes and then the betrayal.

    It paints a picture of a government that is concerned only about their support base and cares nothing for the rest of us. How much did the LNP spend to buy the religious vote? And what length will they go to, to protect it?

  40. Thomas Brookes

    Google George Carlin’s presentation on Religion and the absolute bullshit and hypocrisy that comes with it.

  41. Michael Taylor

    Thomas, if that’s the video I’m thinking of, it is awesome.

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