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How serious are we about protecting children?

In Liberal MP Stuart Robert’s maiden speech he said “Children are 100 per cent of the future of every nation. We have a responsibility to protect our children and provide them with the best of education and care to preserve our nation’s future.”

A noble sentiment – one that is repeated in most conservatives’ maiden speeches as they wax lyrical about the importance of their very narrow definition of “family”.

But their actions belie their words.

How often do you hear conservatives like George Christensen lash out at Muslim leaders for not condemning acts of terror, despite their many published statements doing just that, but have you ever heard him express similar outrage at the endemic sexual abuse perpetrated by Christian clergy against children entrusted to their care?

Not only have our politicians been largely silent, they actively praise clergy like George Pell and Brian Houston who were complicit in covering up the abuse. NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione even attended child molester Frank Houston’s funeral and Tony Abbott wrote a reference for defrocked priest John Nestor describing him as “An extremely upright and virtuous man…. a beacon of humanity”.

This wasn’t one or two bad apples – it was systemic. It was covered up, and hence facilitated, by churches who would rather see children suffer continued abuse than for the church’s reputation to be tarnished. Thousands of lives were, and continue to be, ruined and far too many lives were cut short as victims suicided in despair at the injustice of being unheard.

We have all reeled in shock as more and more people come forward with horrific tales of childhoods sacrificed to the perverted sexual desires of many of the Christian clergy and teachers. Perhaps had the Safe Schools Program been in place in those days, children would have known how to recognise what was happening, how better to protect themselves and where to find help. But Christensen would rather children be kept in the dark, pretending that by ignoring sex entirely, our children will be safer.

When George Brandis took $7 million from the child sexual abuse inquiry’s budget to fund his Royal Commission into Pink Batts when there had already been 8 inquires, it showed this government is more interested in smearing their opponents than helping our children.

This constant refrain from far right politicians defining what a family should look like is also terribly damaging to children. I am sure they would like to get rid of no fault divorce laws if they could, sending us all off for counselling with Kevin Andrews instead.

After all, our last PM once advised “If we’re honest, most of us would accept that a bad boss is a little bit like a bad father or a bad husband. Not withstanding all his or her faults, you find that he tends to do more good than harm.”

The reality is that many of those sitting in parliament, just like so many in our population, were raised by a single parent or are themselves divorced or step parents or have adopted children. Many of them are gay or have gay relatives.

This notion that children are necessarily disadvantaged if they are not brought up by their two biological parents is rubbish. What the government should be focusing on is emergency refuges, affordable housing, community support groups, and adequate assistance for those most in need.

The best way to lift children out of poverty is to educate them. To say we can’t afford it, as we spend hundreds of billions on war toys that will never be used beyond war games, makes a mockery of any claim that we truly care about our children.

13 comments

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  1. Peter Mccarthy

    Outstanding, Kaye Lee.

    I was frankly astounded when Tony still managed to get to be PM after his support for Nestor. Apparently both his party and enough of the population were not outraged by the hypocrisy.

    Hopefully folk are more aware these days but as a Voting population, we tend to be lazy and forgetful.

    Should Abbott get a second chance at the leadership it will mean the Conservatives have no real concern for the well being of children, certainly not their claimed high priority.

  2. townsvilleblog

    Superb as usual Kaye, the phot’s of two scary monsters at the top of the page was frightening, even more so is what the extremist ultra right wing faction of the Liberal & National parties are likely to do to the “people” of this country if they are allowed to run their elected 3 years.

  3. townsvilleblog

    The high priority is for ‘their’ children, the children attending private school businesses, not for ‘our’ children.

  4. helvityni

    High priority for children…? A teenage daughter is a carer for her mother who is ill, she gets EIGHT dollars a day for doing that whilst she is also going to school and has a responsibility for her younger sister…

    A foster parent murders a twelve year old girl trusted in his care…

    And our men of God behave most un-godly towards our children….

    Sometimes I think we are stuck in the harsh Dickensian times; we should know and act better in 2016.

  5. stephengb2014

    I have lived, worked and played; in the north, south and centre of England, in Cyprus and the middle East, in almost every city in Australia; I have never come accross the hypocratic, xenhobic and violance expressed in the language used by the Ultra Right and their follows it is as extreme as I have ever heard in my 69 years alive on this planet, but yes there have been some.

    I was born in Nottingham England, I heard xenaphobia there, mostly from the uneducated and marginalised, but interestingly enough less from the genuine poor. Nothing like the bile that we are experiencing right now.

    The bit that gets to me most is the obvious fact that the current level of xenaphpbia and bile did not become so openly expressed untill Tony Abbot and the current government got into power. I am actually gobsmacked that so many of the current mp’s feel free to express their extremism and their bile so openly (never mind that they were actually voted into parliament). It has gotten steadily worse over the last 3 plus years. We have another of 3 more years of this, where will it end, are we going to see apathied as a govrnment policy, are we going to see bully boy gangs ruling the streets assaulting and maiming none white people or even to those whites that they just take a dislike.

    As a small boy I wore glasses and I spoke without an accent, l, and many other smaller children who were a little different were bullied mercilessly by the bigger kids who went around in gangs picking on those that were smaller or found alone. Consequently it seeded an insecurity in me (whoch fortunately I experienced less and less as I got older). That insecurity has an unmistakable taste – I have it again!

    I cannot for the life of me understand how an MP could condone, by not condeming, the language of hate expressed by the public let alone encouraged by those right wing mp’s currently elected?

    end of rant!

  6. helvityni

    Howard sowed the seeds of xenophobia, but it took its roots ,grew and started blossoming during the hate-filed Abbott years.

    As for Turnbull, he seems to second Abbott’s policies. Now Australia is divided in more ways than one…

  7. kerri

    And it could well be argued many in parliament are G.I.D. Gay In Denial.

  8. Jaq

    I can only think that among their own ranks, they must have people who have some very unsavoury skeletons in their closets. I have heard mention of Cosgrove for one. The ALP don’t seem to be any better- considering Shorten is a Catholic it’s probably understandable- I mean once a Catholic always a Catholic? Right?
    I cannot for the life of me understand just what would possess a grown person to have sex with a child as young as three. Is there magic? Does it make you younger? Power?
    What a sickening society we live in.

  9. Luke

    I believe some of these so called Christians long for the return of the Inquisition days. I can see them fighting for front row seats in the torcher chambers, Abbott, Bernardi and Christenson pushing each other out of the way to light the fires underneath the unbelievers. Can someone list all the mad men in parliament so that we can pass it around.

  10. 1petermcc

    Jaq, I think you will find some of the most hostile reactions to Abbott and Co come from ex-Catholics, and if you think folk like me are ever going back you are dead wrong.

    As far as I can tell, most dump religion completely rather than go looking for a different set of rules under another invisible friend, and who can blame them? I’m pretty sure I will never be invited to sit in judgement on any Catholics so don’t go dismissing ex-Micks out of hand. We stand as an invaluable resource that will eventually bring down the Vatican.

    As we watch the collapse of Secret Men’s Business, exfollowers will be the key to exposing the corruption. Just 2 weeks ago we saw the start of serious fractures within and now the whistle blowers are coming in to play.

  11. Gangey1959

    I watched QnA with the 90 yr young for whom I am currently caring/keeping company last night, and we too were both amazed at the composure of the young lady to whom Helvityni refers ,and appalled at the complete lack of anything coming from the current muppet for Social Insecurity, christimaposthole. What an effing dickhead on absolutely every question.
    When are ”they” going to let mortals be part of the panels that ask questions on royal commissions ? Maybe one needs to have a brain the size of a planet to negotiate the maze of bullshit answers to arrive at a ”legal” truth and verdict, but any normal person can ask christimaposthole why it is that centerlink recipients who supplement their payments with the occasional bit of work when we can get it have our payments reduced by up to 60c in the dollar, even after some of us have worked for over 40 years and paid tax as we went along, but EX politicians continue to get their parliamentary pensions for life after just one full term regardless of what else might fall into their laps post political life of luxury? (Just look at one p costello, seller of Australia’s gold at rock bottom prices)
    Are the powers that be scared that we might ask something hard?
    As for freedom of speech and hate speech, maybe those of us who think that the LGBTIQ community should have the right to make their own decisions about marriage, same as the god botherers, should turn some angry words towards those who promote paedophilia and protect its practitioners as a start, and work Heavenwards from there. Surely the mad monk, even as a dropout from paedophile school himself, wouldn’t stand beside a child molester and still expect morally upright Australians to vote for him. He would expect us to drag the offender into the street and publicly flog him, except that the aforementioned offender is now a cardinal in Rome somewhere, and donated bucket loads to pommy tony’s campaign fund. I wonder if old georgie is still committing cardinal sins? The last photo I saw of him was taken in some vatican pub, with a pint in one hand and a ciggy (I would have said fag but I have gay friends I don’t want to offend) in the other. No wonder he was too sick to come back to Aus to answer questions.

  12. Blue wren

    I have made this exact point about the clergy to Muslim critics on a number of occasions. Silence is the reply. Bernadi et al are in it for the power and couldn’t care less about the country let alone our children. They disgust me.

  13. Deanna Jones

    kerri, that statement is steeped in homophobia. You might want to reflect on that.

    Kaye, I have been saying this for years; we give no real stuff about children in this society. We do not listen to them or take them seriously. We actively exclude them from civic life despite being a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states in Article 12 that children have the right speak on all matters that affect them. Adults actively oppress children, relegate them to low status citizens and then say it is for their own good because they are so vulnerable. In reality their main vulnerability IS our oppression of them. Research with perpetrators of child sexual abuse makes it very clear that children’s low social status is what makes it easy to prey on them.

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