An­thony Fisher. Gla­dys Bere­jik­lian, Quinn Grundy and Mark Wolf. Peter O’Cal­laghan. Eric Abetz, Mar­tyn God­dard and Christo­pher Pear­son.

The Saturday Paper - - Contents | The Week - Richard Ackland

In­vi­ta­tions are pour­ing in to Gad­fly

HQ. Our old com­rade in arms, the Most Rev­erend An­thony Fisher, OP, the Ro­man Catholic Arch­bishop of Syd­ney, has in­vited us to a spe­cial event to “com­mem­o­rate the 500th an­niver­sary of the Re­for­ma­tion”.

The cel­e­bra­tion will take place on Oc­to­ber 11 at St Mary’s Cathe­dral, and if ever an event needs cel­e­brat­ing, it’s the Re­for­ma­tion, or as it’s some­times known, the “Protes­tant Re­for­ma­tion”.

Some may have thought that Ro­man Catholics are not en­tirely keen on the Re­for­ma­tion af­ter large chunks of the old church fell off into the arms of Martin Luther. Fur­ther, at the

Diet of Worms, Martin failed to re­cant works that were deemed by Rome to be hereti­cal.

Af­ter a bit of prayer and re­flec­tion next Wed­nes­day, all will be clear. None­the­less, it prom­ises to be one of the weird­est events on Gad­fly’s cal­en­dar.

Gla­dys’s night

Then there’s next month’s Aus­tralian Pub­lic Sec­tor Anti-Cor­rup­tion Con­fer­ence in Syd­ney, where the Westin ho­tel will be packed to the glass ceil­ing with law en­force­ment nabobs, om­buds­men, au­di­tors, crit­i­cal in­fras­truc­ture gu­rus, risk ex­perts and so on.

The whole show will be opened by New South Wales Premier Gla­dys Bere­jik­lian, whose party plot­ted the de­mo­bil­i­sa­tion of ICAC’s ef­fec­tive com­mis­sioner, Jus­tice Me­gan Latham, af­ter she in­ves­ti­gated Lib­eral fundrais­ing rorts. In fact, Latham is nowhere to be seen on the two-day pro­gram, groan­ing with 60 speak­ers.

It’s ex­pected that one of the pop­u­lar pre­sen­ta­tions will be de­liv­ered by Dr Quinn Grundy of the Charles Perkins Cen­tre at the Univer­sity of Syd­ney: “Sushi and fruit, tea, din­ner three cour­ses – the in­flu­ence of gifts and pay­ments from in­dus­try in health­care”.

Among the key­note speak­ers is United States District Court judge Mark Wolf, who is press­ing the case for an in­ter­na­tional anti-cor­rup­tion court. Never mind the go-slow from Can­berra on a fed­eral ICAC; the new-new thing is to go global.

Pic­ture pre­fect

What’s the point of hav­ing an art gallery named af­ter your­self if there’s no por­trait of you on its walls?

For years the Peter O’Cal­laghan QC Gallery at the Vic­to­rian Bar lan­guished with­out a pic­ture of Peter O’Cal­laghan, QC. Last week, the de­fi­ciency was reme­died when O’Cal­laghan’s por­trait by artist Rick Amor was un­veiled.

For­mer High Court judge Su­san Cren­nan did the hon­ours, and re­ferred to the bar­ris­ter’s role as in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sioner for the Catholic Church, aka Ge­orge Pell’s Mel­bourne Re­sponse.

The idea was to have com­plaints against pae­dophile priests dealt with in­ter­nally rather than through the courts. Abuse al­le­ga­tions could be set­tled for as lit­tle as $50,000 and later up to $75,000 – peanuts for someone whose life had been de­stroyed.

The Royal Com­mis­sion into

In­sti­tu­tional Re­sponses to Child Sex­ual Abuse re­ported that in some in­stances the in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sioner dis­cour­aged com­plainants from go­ing to the po­lice. O’Cal­laghan dis­agreed that was the case.

At last week’s cer­e­mony at the gallery, Cren­nan said she came across many peo­ple who had told their sto­ries to the bar­ris­ter in his role as in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sioner.

“So many of them vol­un­teered that they felt at peace with them­selves af­ter be­ing lis­tened to by Peter O’Cal­laghan.”

With a quote from Vá­clav Havel, she added: “He helped count­less peo­ple ‘ori­ent their spirit’ and gave them the cer­tainty that their lives made sense.”

Abetz goes postal

Otto Abetz’s great big “No” mail­box drop across the is­land ter­ri­tory of Van Diemen’s Land is go­ing gang­busters, even though it is lit­tered with ter­mi­no­log­i­cal in­ex­ac­ti­tudes.

The main fea­ture of the flyer is a pic­ture of the Tas­ma­nian se­na­tor try­ing to smile, the ef­fect of which is to scare the day­lights out of de­cent peo­ple.

Otto warns that the equal­ity cam­paign is try­ing to “trick us” with their slo­gans, but the truth can be found from the “very few” coun­tries with legally recog­nised same-sex mar­riage. Ac­tu­ally it’s 24 coun­tries with mar­riage equal­ity, but ac­cord­ing to the se­na­tor they are the very places that have seen se­ri­ous con­se­quences, such as: com­pul­sory rad­i­cal gay sex ed­u­ca­tion in schools, re­jec­tion of par­ents’ rights, re­stric­tions on free­dom of speech, and bad im­pacts for free­dom of re­li­gion.

The de­tails of these dread­ful things are not spelt out, prob­a­bly be­cause he’s still try­ing to find the ev­i­dence. Never mind, Otto’s go­ing down fight­ing.

He’s even had “No” peo­ple door­knock­ing Tas­ma­ni­ans, in­con­ve­niently in­ter­rupt­ing their fa­mous in­tra-fam­ily sex­ual cer­e­monies.

Otto mated re­sponse

Gad­fly hears fur­ther glad tid­ings about Otto from Tas­ma­nian health pol­icy man and baroque mu­sic buff Mar­tyn God­dard. He knows his way around the block in Ho­bart, Ade­laide and other ex­tra­or­di­nary places.

He tells Gad­fly Abetz was big­otcu­ri­ous even early in his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer, so much so that colum­nist and Ade­laide news­pa­per pub­lisher Christo­pher Pear­son sought him out and in­vited him to din­ner.

Pear­son was once a slim Maoist, but later zoomed across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum and in the process put on an enor­mous amount of weight as he found God and the Ro­man Catholic Church. He grad­u­ated to edit­ing Ten Flags Tony’s book Bat­tle­lines.

He also be­came very open about his gay­ness even dur­ing his time as the lover of John Bray, a poet and chief jus­tice of South Aus­tralia.

God­dard also knew Pear­son, who told him that he sought out the newish se­na­tor Abetz to ex­plore the ba­sis of his loud ho­mo­pho­bia. Over din­ner Otto ex­plained that he thought it was all about na­ture.

Gay sex, he said, was un­nat­u­ral – we just aren’t de­signed that way.

Pear­son is re­puted to have replied: “If we aren’t de­signed that way, how come it feels so good?”

Otto had no ready re­sponse and there’s no fur­ther in­for­ma­tion on his leaflet about this de­sign prob­lem.

Si­lent part­ners

Be­cause of their fame and po­si­tion, there is a cat­e­gory of vot­ers who are on a “si­lent elec­toral roll”. There are about 100,000 of them.

It’s de­signed to pro­tect prom­i­nent ci­ti­zens hav­ing their houses egged by rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies and other un­de­sir­ables. In fact, it is an of­fence for someone other than the elec­toral com­mis­sion to use these names and ad­dresses.

So how do they get a sur­vey pa­per from the Bureau of Sta­tis­tics, which has car­riage of the postal pro­ceed­ings?

Sur­vey forms have been go­ing to peo­ple on the si­lent roll, but they are be­ing posted out by the Aus­tralian Elec­toral Com­mis­sion, not the Bureau of Stats.

Other than hand­ing the pub­lic elec­toral roll to the bureau, the com­mis­sion is not per­mit­ted to par­tic­i­pate in the sur­vey. To get around the prob­lem of si­lent vot­ers it looks as though the com­mis­sion has be­come an agent of the bureau.

It can only be won­dered how the sur­vey might be af­fected by a bunch of politi­cians, judges, cop­pers, peo­ple hid­ing from vi­o­lent spouses and celebri­ties.

Trum­pette #42

The im­por­tant work of ex­plor­ing the 15 hours of in­ter­views that Bark­ing Dog Trump did with US ra­dio talk show host Howard Stern con­tin­ues apace.

We had some snip­pets from the archive last week, about his ger­mo­pho­bia and how he would deal with ter­ror­ists on air­craft, but now there’s more. In 2008 the Do­tard re­vealed that he hates blood. Take it away Mr Pres­i­dent:

“I was at Mar-a-Lago and we had this in­cred­i­ble ball, the Red Cross Ball, in Palm Beach, Florida. And we had the marines. And the marines were there, and it was terrible be­cause all these rich peo­ple, they’re there to sup­port the marines, but they’re re­ally there to get their pic­ture in The Palm Beach Post.

“So, you have all these re­ally rich peo­ple, and a man, about 80 years old – very wealthy man, a lot of peo­ple didn’t like him – he fell off the stage ...

“So what hap­pens is, this guy falls off right on his face, hits his head, and I thought he died. And you know what I did? I said, ‘Oh my God, that’s dis­gust­ing’, and I turned away. I couldn’t, you know— he was right in front of me and I turned away. I didn’t want to touch him. He’s bleed­ing all over the place, I felt terrible.

“You know, beau­ti­ful mar­ble floor, didn’t look like it. It changed colour. Be­came very red. And you have this poor guy, 80 years old, lay­ing on the floor un­con­scious, and all the rich peo­ple are turn­ing away. For­tu­nately for the in­jured man, the marines were on hand to help ...

“I was say­ing, ‘Get that blood cleaned up! It’s dis­gust­ing!’ The next day, I for­got to call to say he’s okay. It’s just not

• my thing.”

RICHARD ACKLAND is the pub­lisher of Jus­tinian. He is The Satur­day Pa­per’s di­ari­s­tat-large and le­gal af­fairs edi­tor.

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