Poor John Howard is copping a lot of flak this week for his decision to write a character reference for convicted pedophile George Pell. Like a number of Pell’s referees, Howard suggested that Pell was a completely different man in private compared with his public Image. Actually, I thought that’s exactly what the trial had just decided.
Scamming your money to promote herself? (ODT)
Downer was rightly universally condemned for her actions, but think about what her action suggests. Firstly, she considered taxpayers’ funds her own to claim and present (the novelty cheque clearly said the Liberal Party on it and had her image printed on it as well). This betrays how the Liberals think about taxpayers’ funds — the funds belong to them, not the public. Which is why the Libs loathe welfare. Any welfare payment made is effectively less money in the pool for them to rort.
Secondly, under the media cover of wall-to-wall coverage of Cardinal Pell’s conviction of paedophilia charges, the Liberals quietly changed the rules around how sitting MPs can use their taxpayer-funded office expenses for political advertising in the lead-up to the election. Again, this rule change takes taxpayers’ funds and allows them to be used by the Liberal Party for political advertising, something in the past they’d have to pay for themselves. Given that in the Victoria State Election the Liberals ran much of their campaign claiming that the Victoria Labor Government was corrupt for accidentally using taxpayer-paid office staff for campaigning (the red shirts scandal), this is hypocritical in the extreme.
Pell, the Vatican’s treasurer, has previously dismissed the science linking greenhouse gas emissions with climate change, calling it “hysteric and extreme claims” and “a symptom of pagan emptiness”.
His presence at the dinner is likely to raise eyebrows in the Vatican following Pope Francis’ declaration in 2015 that the science is “clear” and climate change is a “moral issue that must be addressed in order to protect the Earth”.
Australia’s best-known Catholic politician, Tony Abbott, has defended the character of his long-standing friend, Cardinal George Pell.
Cardinal George Pell’s testimony to a child abuse royal commission has been delayed until next year because he is too unwell to travel to Australia.