I am writing to bring to your attention a matter regarding the awarding of OAMs. Given the recent controversy regarding Bettina Arndt, I am sure that people would be horrified to learn that a convicted paedophile serving an 8-year sentence, still holds an OAM.
Graeme Russell Lawrence, former Anglican Dean of Newcastle, was defrocked by the Anglican Church in 2012 for sexual misconduct with a child. Further, he was convicted and sentenced to 8 years in prison in 2019 for the rape of a 15 year old boy.
I have written to the Awards Secretariat, The Governor General and the Prime Minister on at least 8 occasions since 2010 in relation to this and am yet to receive any reply other than generic responses.
I have been amazed that the Governor General’ s office has responded so quickly to calls to rescind the OAM of Arndt, yet steadfastly refuses to even consider revoking the OAM of a convicted paedophile.
After Lawrence’s conviction, Newcastle Council immediately revoked Freeman of the City and Citizen of the Year Awards that Lawrence held, yet the Governor General’s office refuses to act on this.
My name is Steven Smith. I was raped hundreds of times by an Anglican Priest while I was aged 10-14. I have fought for decades to bring offenders to justice.
I appeared as a survivor witness in Case Study 42 of the Child Abuse Royal Commission and was invited to appear to address the Commissioners as the final witness at the final hearing (CS57).
I feel that I speak for survivors from all over the country when I express my disgust at the inaction of the Governor General’s Office, the Prime Minister’s Office and The Awards Secretarial in allowing a convicted child rapist, serving a lengthy prison term, to retain an honour that should only be held by persons of the highest character.
For Lawrence to continue to hold that honour is an insult to all survivors of child sexual abuse, and an insult to all deserving holders of honours.
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