On the Occasion of theUnveiling of the Statue of Dally Messengerat the Sydney Football Stadium.
March 29, 2008
Master of Ceremony and leading Celebrant, Mr Rodney Cavalier,
Benefactor and Sponsor, Mr Basil Sellers,
Talented Sculptor and Artist, Ms Cathy Weiszmann,
Wise and Honorable Members of the Sydney Football Stadium Trust
Address by Dally Messenger III
Ladies and Gentlemen
There is an axiom which has come down to us from ages past. It was popularised by its inscription on the tomb of the Naval Commander Horatio Nelson – palmam qui meruit, ferat. Loosely translated it means – “let he who deserves honour be given it.”
Today my grandfather – Dally Messenger – has been honoured. On behalf of my brother Ken Messenger and my cousins and family gathered here today – I have to tell you we feel most gratified. The Messengers are proud of their place in the sporting history of this nation – in the history of Australia.
But it was not always thus.
My grandfather, a humble and unassuming man off the battlefield of play, was fully celebrated by this city in his time of achievement, but towards the end of his life suffered some cruel indignities at the hands of Rugby League officials.
In this “down” period in the history of Rugby League, when you, the followers, were taken for granted, when clubs and their traditions became playthings on a chessboard, and good and deep feelings were trodden underfoot, this too was the time when the heroes of Rugby League, Dally Messenger and others, were dishonoured. One such dishonouring occurred in the 1950’s. It was a malevolent behind-the-scenes derailing and subverting of the proposal to erect a statue of Dally Messenger in Double Bay Park.
But today is a good a day. And a symbolic day. We honour our past. We honour our beginnings. We celebrate our sport. We affirm our identity. We unveil a statue with story. A good statue in a good place.
And as we have left the short dark period of our past behind, the game of Rugby League has emerged as better to play and better to watch. It calls forth marvellous skills from the players, it demands strength, endurance, resilience, versatility, quick thinking, the will to win, and the finest forms of trickery.
The rules are refined, the rules are good. To paraphrase the original Dally Messenger, the game of Rugby League tolerates no slackers – It is on, and it stays on – from start to finish. The game we will see today from the Storm and the Roosters will be absorbing and exciting from start to finish.
What does it do for us? To quote Dr Paul Komesaroff –
. . . sport plays an important symbolic role in social life. It is the repository of the classical virtues of courage, determination, loyalty, selflessness, and the willingness to suffer pain in the quest for a higher goal. It offers an escape from the crushing burden of everyday life . . .
Dally Messenger will turn 125 on his birthday this coming April 12, 2008. As he is too old to be here and speak for himself he has delegated me to thank, first of all, everyone who has contributed to this great game in the last hundred years First of all he would like to thank team mate and best friends, Dan Frawley, Sandy Pearce, Alby Rosenfeld and salutes their dependents.
He would like send his best regards to the families of Victor Trumper, JJ. Giltinan , Harry Hoyle and their families. He would like to thank all the unsung players, youngsters’ coaches. and officials at all levels – and -, all the loyal fans who, for the last hundred years, have given to the game of Rugby League for the love of it. He would like to thank the chroniclers of history, – men like Ian Heads, David Middleton, Geoff Armstrong Sean Fagan and others. He is even a little bit proud of me but he is not overstating it. He would like to thank young Rodney Cavalier and young Basil Sellers and their collaborators for their honouring of his name and his achievements. He would like to thank his fellow artist, Cathy Weizmann for her beautiful statue.
He also sends his love and regards to all the members of the Messenger family here today.He wishes Craig Fitzgibbon especially, but also Cameron Smith all the best for tonight’s match and advises Craig to keep his eye on young Billy Slater from Melbourne who reminds him a bit of himself.
Finally he invites all of you, anytime you feel like it, to visit this statue, as often as you like. If you look up at him he will be sending you a message.
Video about Dally and the other statue – password is ESMP
Those of us who have studied the criminal convictions of Bill D’Arcy at a fairly deep level are convinced he is innocent. Those who have gone into it into it at a less demanding level soon conclude that he is certainly not guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
Despite media reports and official correspondence only one woman ever accused Bill D’Arcy of rape. This accusation has been medically certified as physically impossible. In addition, evidence from the complainant demonstrates that D’Arcy was not even at the school at the time of the alleged offence. This rape conviction accounted for 10 years of his original 14 year sentence.
D’Arcy was first of all publicised in the media as guilty especially by the Courier Mail, the one newspaper of Queensland. Former executive Chris Mitchell admits this in his book “Making Headlines” (p.220). For identifying Bill D’Arcy before his trial, the Courier Mail was upbraided in strong terms by her sister publication, the Murdoch owned Australian in an editorial of 1 September 1998.
Augmenting this unbalanced coverage was a two year positive effort by a police task force whose mission was to dig dirt on Bill D’Arcy (Who authorised this bizarrely uncustomary use of police resources and why?) In this police “trawling” operation, the people police targeted were mostly of low socio-economic status. The police persuaded whoever they could to “remember” unsavoury actions by D’Arcy.
Thirdly, the fervour of the child protection enthusiasts to find a guilty high-flyer which who would be great publicity for their laudable cause must be added to the mix. Given these three factors D’Arcy didn’t stand a chance.
Eventually Bill D’Arcy was charged and brought into a court room (November 2000). In any other jurisdiction the accusations would have been immediately dismissed. As it turns out the judge, the newly-appointed Bob Douglas, until a few weeks previously enjoyed dubious political connections, decided to proceed. The evidence in this main trial is chockers with contradictory evidence and anomalies. But with the scandalously effective trial by the media, the Queensland population, including judge, jury, and related personnel, convinced prior to the trial, decided D’Arcy was guilty.
The appeal to the Supreme Court only decided to deal with the sentencing. (Why did they do that? ) In any case, they reduced D’Arcy’s sentence by four years, amidst fierce criticism from the media and the general populace.
Immediately, the one rape victim and one other applied for compensation in the civil court. Judge H.W.T. Botting ruled that the charges could not be proved and gave them no compensation. He also awarded costs to D’Arcy. Two questions: who financed the two applicants to issue proceedings? Why was D’Arcy never paid his costs as awarded?
I agree with the former senior police officer/investigator who described the other trials as “carpet bombing”. In a one page summary, it is next to impossible to comment on them. Suffice to say, that in these trials proven perjury has been documented, charges were dismissed because the complainants couldn’t remember what they said in police-assisted statements, powerful evidence by a supportive colleague of D’Arcy was ignored, and police abetted an important accuser to seriously change their original statement in the light of serious perjury.
The Bill D’Arcy case demands a thorough independent investigation wherein witnesses may speak freely without being sued. Some more information on the supporters website http://www.apersonalhistory.com/Bill_D%27Arcy/. Other statements by former senior police officers Warren Smithers, Peter Slatter, Jim Coughlin and Bob Munt will agree with the above.
Launch of the book, A Safe Distance: Surviving Religious Trauma by Steve Hyndes.
Held at the Function Room of the Glenroy RSL, 184 Glenroy Rd, Glenroy, on 26 February, 2023.
In February 1956, at 17 years of age, Steve Hyndes entered the seminary at St Columba’s College, Springwood, to study for the priesthood.
26 years later Steve called it quits. In the first part of the book Steve describes his state of mind on the day he left the ministry. And I quote:-
I was in turmoil. I was flooded by feelings of relief at being free of all the culture, demands, conflicts and being imprisoned by ideas that had driven me steadily to the point of madness. Equally I felt the crushing weight of failure. I was turning my back on all the paradigms and thinking that had been central to my life and decision making for 26 years. The constant anxiety that living within such a system injects into day-to-day life had been replaced by a feeling of almost robotic numbness.
End of quote
When I read this I said to myself. Is Steve writing about me or himself? On a certain day you leave. It is big. I think that most of us who left in this manner had the same tumultuous feelings on that day. I would reckon that part of the story would be the same for almost every priest who packed his car and drove out of the clerical world.
Steve has written a good book. It tells his story. It is an easy read. You are going to read it so I do not think this launch should just repeat his narrative. So I have decided to make some general comments about the history, the times and the issues.
I find it difficult to describe to others why I became a priest. I think some think it is kind of a cult madness phase I went through before coming to my senses. Let me examine whether this was the case. So why did Steve and I take this on and why did we stay in it so long?
THE VALUES AND IDEALS
To be fair it should be noted that part of the belief package of the catholic church contained some superbly good values.
The historic leader and “founder” of the tribe was a man who believed in compassion, non-judgmentalism, forgiveness of offences, non-violent change, respect and love for others, assisting the needy, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, and supporting those in grief.
It advocated that individuals live an upright, responsible, honest, and principled life.
Embedded in the very notion of the tribe were the admirable dynamics of friendship and mutual support. I am calling it a tribe because that’s how it started – with a tribe who escaped autocratic rule in Egypt and formed itself into a cohesive unity trudging across the desert of Sinai.
The later breakaway tribe drew on the developed culture of the past with wonderful stories, such as the good samaritan, songs, inspiring music like Gregorian chant and poetic polished words in their holy books. Francis of Assisi, after whom our no.1 son and MC, and the Pope is named, created a prayer containing the words “where there is hatred, let me sow love.”
The leader’s name of the breakaway christian tribe was Jesus. His followers talked of the dignity of the human person, the concept of human rights, and the duty to follow one’s conscience. Many of his followers became distinguished advocates of social justice.
That was the understood plus side.
But as Steve and I both learned later, it became a source of wonderment to us how little of these values figured in our “training”.
IMMINENT THREAT OF NUCLEAR WAR
Some of us had other motives for signing on for the priesthood. Another powerfully subconscious influence was ceaselessly present in the 50’s and 60s. It was the imminent threat of nuclear war. Russia and the West had acquired the capability of destroying the world. I remember a read-out paper by a fellow student in the seminary, Mick Kelly, who began his lecturette with the sentence, “ … it has been calculated, by men in a position to so calculate, that both Russia and the United States have the capacity to destroy the world, and every living thing in it, eight times over. “
So – don’t waste your life, become a priest, and do your bit to make the world a more loving, peaceful and safer place.
We are much less aware these days but it is alarming to note that asa physical threat, nothing has changed.
INSPIRATIONAL BROTHERS, PRIESTS – CATHOLIC MEN AND WOMEN
Most of us don’t think of it much but there were some really good men who inspired Steve and me and others. Steve talks about the people who influenced him. His catholic aunt, the psychiatrist, for example, gets a good and worthy mention.
When I reflect about it, I acknowledge I have been helped through life by some very good institutional catholic people. At the same time as experiencing the sadism of Bro Malachi and indirectly the paedophilia of Brother Silverius, I recognise with gratitude the key intervention of Brother Dermott, of St Canice’s, Katoomba, who made sure with my parents that I did not leave to work at the end of primary school, which I easily could have done.
I recall with gratitude too the wonderful dedicated teaching of Bro Anthony (English, Latin, maths) and that of Brother Mark (Physics) of St Bernard’s College, Katoomba. What I learned from them still stays with me every day. Another key intervention was by Brother Lawrence of the Marist Brothers, Parramatta, who changed my life for the better in another way.
As we are talking about the male priesthood there were a number of priests too, with whom I crossed paths. I observed them organising youth clubs, visiting old people’s homes, helping poverty stricken families through the St Vincent de Paul, listening to people when there was no one else who would.
COMMUNITY AND IDENTITY
Subconsciously, we both acknowledged that the church gave us a broader family. It was here we gathered, here we made friends, here we had rituals which gave us a sense of stability.
It was here we gained a sense of identity and a reassurance that we belonged.( And when we chucked it in, this is what disturbed us the most.)
So I don’t think Steve and I and the other former priests here were empty headed victims of a humungous cult which sucked us in. We were not a group of really stupid people.
THE DOWNSIDE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
When we studied and lived our way through the seminary, as Steve relates, and when we became ordained priests and when we were put out into a parish, we couldn’t help digging deeper.
We realised we were not achieving our admirable ideals. Society had changed enough to render us less effective than our predecessors. It became clear to us that the catholic church organisational set-up did not work any more. Steve talks about having to live with the lost and twisted personalities of a string of parish priests. My experience too. Don’t get me wrong – they were, and they started off, really good men. But we observed many who sought solace in alcohol, golf, greyhound racing and girlfriends. The organisational church was trying to operate through a system designed for the world of the Council of Trent back in 1545. We were living in the thought-bubble of the sixteenth century. We were clinging to a world view which wasn’t ever supposed to change.
But the world did change and was changing. In 1962 Pope John XXIII inaugurated the second Vatican Council which we seminarians and young priests observed drew fierce under-the-radar resistance.
The world in general radically changed in all sorts of ways in the 1960s and the 1970s.
Most people to whom I converse on this have lost, or have never had an awareness of, the gianormous change in Western society that was the advent of birth control. When we were young, families of 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12 children were quite common. And I am not talking just of catholics – for most couples children just kept on coming, for the simple reason that there was no way of stopping them except abstinence.
Following this came a really big mistake. The catholic church shot itself in the foot on birth control. On the 25th July 1968, Pope Paul VI overode the delegates to the Vatican Council, issued an encyclical named Humanae Vitae, and, by that instrument, forbad birth control. The church lost a huge amount of credibility. It kept losing credibility because of its stance on same sex relationships, monogamous marriage and the refusal to countenance divorce, an outright ban on abortion, held fast against women taking hold orders, and, silliest mistake of all, the insisted on maintaining celibacy of the clergy.
Who could measure the harm of not coming to terms with the relatively small percentage of priests who were paedophiles, the consequent cover ups, and the mistreatment of victims and their families.
THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS
Some of us faced a deeper and more confronting issue. Did God actually exist? If there was a God, was he the one described in the old and new testaments and in the christian story of salvation history?
A disturbing personal revelation in my seminary studies is that I became aware that the New Testament only came together in its start-up stage about four hundred years after Jesus had died. (The Council of Hippo in 393 AD)
The New Testament took shape by choosing documents from a whole range of stuff, and it has became smoothed out and edited in the seventeen centuries which followed. What?
GOING TO MASS
One looks at the billions of stars in the sky and one says to oneself — is the being that created all this, if he/she did create it, listening to me when I take some bread and wine and dress up in fancy robes and starting asking him for things?
And then there is the seemingly meaningless nature of it all. All the planets that the new super telescopes and cameras have picked up are just balls of dust and rock and gas – for what purpose? Are human being capable of working his out?
I am a cultural catholic, most of my best friends are practising, lapsed or almost-lapsed catholics, but I find it very difficult attending mass, which I sometimes have to do, such as when a catholic friend dies. The presumption that the priest and the people are actually talking to the Someone who created all these billions of stars, is so strong, and such a stretch, that I find it totally surreal.
I’ve read Steve’s book and you should buy your own copy, get it autographed, and read it!
Many men left the priesthood during these disillusioning years. We suffered turmoil, angst, worry and a loss of identity. We had no money. We had no qualifications which got us jobs. We had a fierce struggle to catch up financially – it drained us of energy and time for enjoyment. Steve’s financial struggle, one which I too experienced, moved me greatly.
One choice Steve did make was spot on. From the beginning, he latched on to this beautiful woman named Paula. They brought forth three sons from our mysterious universe. We aren’t all so smart Steve. Congratulations on that one.
Friends, as human beings we live by stories. This is a good one. I hereby launch this book.
A Safe Distance: Surviving Religious Trauma by Steve Hyndes Book Review and personal commentary by Dally Messenger (Christmas 2022)
(see below for reviews by Graeme Ryan, Kieran Tapsell and Carla van Raay)
No matter what your circumstances, it is a truism that happiness and equilibrium depend on what goes on in one’s own mind. While on a trip to Sydney some years ago, I took my then-wife over to Saint Patricks College, Manly. St Patrick’s is an impressive nineteenth century college on a beautiful hill above the suburb. It overlooks the ocean and it has the beaches on one side and the famous Sydney Harbour on the other. Both the author and myself spent four years of our lives in that place studying for the Catholic priesthood.
My wife asked the question – “How could anyone be unhappy here?”
The remark took me totally by surprise. Yes, it is an outstandingly beautiful location, but I only remember it as a source of inner conflict, angst, anxiety and agonising. Years later it remains a source of puzzled amusement to my daughters that I put myself in this position voluntarily, and a further kind of mystery why I didn’t walk out of the place when I was always free to do so.
In an attempt to sort himself out and explain his life to his own three sons and their successors, Steve Hyndes has written this revealing book on his own story. He is about the same age as I am and his book is a straight out chronological story.
In 1976 at 38 years of age he left the priesthood, troubled and in turmoil. He had decided to turn his life around and reject almost everything that he believed in, and had deeply committed himself to, for so many years. Difficult is such an understatement.
The beginnings of his life run their course in post World War II country Queensland. His father was the local GP in a number of country towns. Steve came from a large family of seven children, 3 girls and 4 boys.
He has an unbridled admiration for his mother. Their father had died before Steve had turned twelve. After his father’s death in 1950 she struggled against great odds to raise a family with very little money or resources. Fortunately, his father had a sister, Auntie Kit – a fervent Catholic – a single woman – a psychiatrist with a good income — who chose to help the family and was clearly a life saving support.
Young men sign up to study for the priesthood for various reasons. Steve Hyndes recalls his times. In Australia in the 1950s, religion was a powerful force in the lives of almost everyone. The vast majority of the population were believing Christians and most were members of the Catholic Church or the Church of England. The White Australia policy was not abolished until 1973 so there were few other faith groups.
Sectarianism was rife, or to put it another way, catholics felt hostile to non-catholics and vice versa. You belonged to a “tribe”. You were part of it, you believed in it, you absorbed the almost primal instinct to do your part in it. You were called on from above to make sure the tribe survived and was successful.
Human beings tend to believe what those around them believe.So you followed everyone else. You did not like the other tribe, and you were taught that they were on the wrong track. Becoming a dedicated worker, a priest, in the catholic tribe drew almost universal approval and respect. The god of the tribe only called special people to play this important role, a mysterious personal calling dubbed “a vocation”. Says Hyndes: “ I was a sponge in this environment, absorbing all that was taught and placing absolute trust in those who were the leaders.”
So in February 1956, at 17 years of age, Hyndes entered the seminary at St Columba’s College, Springwood, to study for the priesthood. To be fair it should be noted that part of the belief package contained some superbly good values. The historic leader and “founder” of the tribe was a man who believed in compassion, non judgmentalism, forgiveness of offences, non-violent change, respect and love for others, assisting the needy, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, and supporting those in grief. It advocated that individuals live an upright, responsible, honest, principled life. Embedded in the very notion of the tribe were the admirable dynamics of friendship and community. The tribe drew on the the developed culture of the past with wonderful stories, songs and poetic polished words. The leader’s name was Jesus. His followers talked of the dignity of the human person, the concept of human rights, the duty to follow one’s conscience and an awareness of social justice. That was the understood plus side. But as Steve and I both learned later, it became a source of wonderment to us how little of these values figured in our “training”.
There was another powerfully subconscious influence ceaselessly present in the 50’s and 60s. It was the imminent threat of nuclear war. Russia and the West had acquired the capability of destroying the world. I remember a read out paper by a fellow student in the seminary, Mick Kelly, who began his lecturette with the sentence, “it has been calculated, by men in a position to so calculate, that both Russia and United States have the capacity to destroy the world and every living thing in it, eight times over. “
Don’t waste your life, become a priest, and do your bit to make the world a more loving, peaceful and safer place.
St Columba’s seminary, Steve found, was a cold, unnecessarily spartan place with an agenda of destroying individuality and initiative, and brainwashing the inmates to be functionaries who unquestionably do what is necessary to keep church authority supported and in power. Part of the package was a God who guided and supported seminary authorities, and demanded as much unthinking obedience as they required.
The notion of fear was driven home relentlessly. Fear of offending God, fear of committing sin, fear of trouble with the authorities, fear of not becoming the docile functionary God wanted, fear of “impure” thoughts, fear of purgatory, fear of hell, fear of the world, fear of predatory women, fear of disappointing proud parents, fear of not saying enough prayers, fear of disloyalty to the system, fear of failure to stay the course.
As he tried to sort out the serious issues, Steve Hyndes was particularly haunted by the Church’s preached “mantra” – There is nothing wrong with the system; what we are dealing with is the failure of individuals – . Somehow, his problems must come back to his failure as an individual. Not a bad formula for creating a giant inferiority complex and a loss of personal esteem. He spends Chapter 4 describing the seminary and its routines, its meal times, its prayer times, its study times and how he subconsciously accepted these strange but psychologically harmful routines. (don’t forget he was only seventeen.)
His acceptance of seminary life continued in the years he left St Columba’s and continued his studies at St Patrick’s Manly. One only has to read his description of college life to draw quite a few conclusions.
Omnibus periculis superatis, (all perils overcome) Hyndes became a priest in July 1962. Now aged 24 he was cast into that strange world of living in a succession of parishes. His first parish priest was Barney, a blustery but pleasant Irishman whose lifestyle was dominated by the Housie-Housie (Bingo), golf, pigeons in the belfry, and the greyhound races.
At the same time, in this vineyard of the Lord, the young priest kept on falling in love with the beautiful young girls in the CYO (Catholic Youth Organisation). He became shocked and aware that his fellow priests were not all celibate, and at big meetings of priests under Cardinal Gilroy, he experienced a disillusioning “meanness of spirit”, an atmosphere of judgmentalism, and a kind of anger at the world.
Hyndes next appointment was not so pleasant. His parish priest of Bankstown was Phil the angry. Phil was always seething and ranting about something. He was a denouncer of his many disapprovals from the pulpit. A “kiss-up kick-down bully”, he was a user of sleeping tablets, a drinker of alcohol, and a chain-smoker of cigarettes. “He was a fine example of how the destructive training regime and the clergy culture can isolate and destroy individuals.” Hyndes experience at this parish, he believed, destroyed any semblance of self-esteem or personal autonomy he had left.
Hyndes worked in several more Sydney diocesan parishes especially Caringbah and The Entrance. By this time he had gained a grasp of the larger Catholic Church scene and how abnormal and mentally sick it all was. His fellow priests were basically good men but there were so many whose personalities had become distorted. He felt frustrated by the conservatism of the older priests but much more by the celibate lifestyle and the idiosyncratic, eccentric and warped effects which resulted.
The system was flawed, and this compromised the individuals within it. He observed that, in this bent and buckled social milieu, his fellow members of clergy were not drawing the spiritual inspiration with could result in a happy and fulfilled life. Quite a few of his priest contemporaries were leaving the ministry.
In the midst of his personal deliberations, he had a brief conversation with the famous Bishop “Bull” Muldoon. Muldoon told Steve that at 36 he was too old to start a new life, so it was better for him to stay in the priesthood. Nothing like a bit of high end motivation!
At a retreat to sort himself out, Steve met Paula. She was a young, enchanting, personable and beautiful woman who had left the convent a couple of years previously. The writing started appearing on the wall. It was a shocked relief to both of them when they became pregnant. The die was cast. Decisions finalised by nature itself. Steve drove out of Sydney towards Melbourne. As he did so, his soul was flooded with relief – the same exhilarating feeling I had experienced some seven years before.
Here I intrude the personal. There are now a number of Australian books written about leaving the seminary and / or the priesthood. All the ones which I have read describe similar dehumanising experiences. I was appointed to a parish called Lochinvar. The parish priest, Father Flatley, opened my bedroom door at 2am one morning and as I awoke let out a frenzied verbal diatribe attack on me for desecrating the Mass as a sacrifice and trying to turn it into a cheap meal among friends.
Another memory was at the parish of Muswellbrook where the parish priest, a bedridden alcoholic, begged me to buy him a bottle of Dewars Scotch Whisky. For acceding to his wish (near dying wish as at turned out), the senior curate, one Roderick O’Neill, who lived in an abandoned convent down the road, vitriolically excoriated me for encouraging his alcoholism. I’ve been insulted a few times since but never as lucidly as I was on those two occasions.
If I wrote a book like Steve’s I would have mentioned the issues which caused almost unbearable inner conflict. Birth control dominated my scene in 1968. Priests were excommunicated and suspended for voicing their opposition. Divorce then was an absolute no-no. Who would have believed that years later annulments would become the catholic form of divorce? Celibacy, of course was a big issue, women clergy not too far behind. Add some angst about Bob Santamaria’s “The Movement”, the Vietnam war, and the notion and psychological grip of church authority. (This is not to ignore the questions of the existence of God, life after death, the purpose of existence if it has one, the rotation of useless barren planets, the beginning of time and the end of space and the whole unknowable kit and catastrophe.)
Sorry Steve, back to you. So Steve and Paula with number one son, Francis, set about putting food on the table. It is so painful to recall that we ex-priests had no recognised qualifications and certainly no money. Steve, at 36, was a at least 18 years behind his regular contemporaries financially. He had to start from scratch. What could he do? This part I found so so painful. Sending out job application after job application. Working your wits. Taking whatever was going. Low money, hard work. One saving feature. Steve had a loving wife. She also had tickets. She was a trained nurse and an operating theatre manager, as well as a qualified social worker. She kept the family surviving sometimes when he had no employment. He took challenging work managing difficult businesses, taking on jobs in outfits full of human problems — and travelling all over Australia to get the work. But he did it. His three sons grew up. Well done Steve and Paula. He retired.
When you are desperately paying the bills you do not have any time to dig into the deep recesses of your own psyche. A time came for Steve to examine his unconscious self, to get therapy, to gain enlightenment, to free his mind of the pervasive mental wounds which had been inflicted by his church past. He read a series of books by writers who shared his experiences and how they coped. This is a good section of the book and the note it ends on.
The book itself is an easy read. It simply tells the story. A record of social history of a certain era, of the unique past through which we lived. Steve has no pretensions of producing a masterpiece of literature. We learn through stories. I learned more of myself through this one. Thank you Steve Hyndes.
——————————————————————————————————- “A Safe Distance: Surviving Religious Trauma” by Steve Hyndes. A short review from Professor Graeme B. Ryan AC of the University of Melbourne
This is a brave and engaging book, intensely personal and frank, recording first how Steve Hyndes was “groomed” into the Catholic Church, entering the seminary in 1956 at the age of 17, followed by his ordination as a priest in Sydney in 1962. He had “swallowed the whole toxic package” resulting sadly in his feeling of entrapment as a priest into a life of significant turmoil, disillusionment and unhappiness from which he was not able to escape until 1976 when he “left that strange world”.
Steve was fortunate then to be able to reinvent himself, against the odds, and get on with a life of “new adventures” filled with family and fulfilment in partnership with Paula, a former nun, over the next 40 years and beyond.
This is an inspirational story interlaced with interesting anecdote and self-deprecating humour, sometimes bleak in the earlier years, but always an entertaining, uplifting and worthwhile read throughout the book.
——————————————————————————————————- “A Safe Distance: Surviving Religious Trauma” by Steve Hyndes. A short review from Kieran Tapsell, author, lawyer , academic
At the beginning of his book, A Safe Distance: Surviving Religious Trauma, Steve Hyndes describes how his maternal grandfather, Thomas Robertson Thompson, who died in 1922, left an account to inform his family of his life and times, which “was different to theirs”.
One of the realities of human existence is that all of us slip into the past and will be forgotten within a couple of generations, unless somewhere along the line, pen is put to paper in some form of biography. I have always thought it a shame that some of my more interesting ancestors did not put pen to paper.
Much of the book will be of interest to his family, but there is another group of people who would also find it interesting because they have travelled along the same path of a reverse St. Paul or St. Augustine. These two giants of the Christian religion were famously struck by such strong religious experiences that they devoted their whole lives to propagating their beliefs and in trying to convince others that it was the only right way to live. Their experiences have been so intriguing that their lives and writings have become an important part of Western literature.
There is another spiritual journey, just as intriguing, of those who were born into that same religion and who devoted a great part of their lives to its practice and propagation but then slowly and painfully saw the scales fall from their eyes to see that they had been operating under a delusion, with just as much conviction as St Paul and St Augustine had viewed their former lives. The only difference is that most of these survivors don’t feel the need to convince others of their non-belief and are happy to put it down to experience and move on.
It is not surprising that neuroscientists have discovered that the centres of the brain that deal with religious experience are the same as those dealing with the experience of falling in love. And indeed, much spiritual literature in religions of all persuasions describe the religious experience in similar terms. It leads to a kind of blindness where one can only see the good qualities of the beloved, and the bad qualities slip into the drawer of non-importance. George Pell once described how he started reading the Koran to try and understand Islam, which at that time was plagued by various forms of violent extremism. He said he couldn’t finish it because he was turned off by the violence in this holy book. George must have read his Old Testament with the rose-tinted spectacles of the besotted. It is also interesting that dignitaries of mainstream Christianity are quick to brand splinter groups as “cults” without seeing the beam in the eye of their own.
Steve Hyndes writes about his difficult journey from belief to unbelief: “There was no flash of lightning. It was like waking up one day after a bout of flu’ and realising that I was alive and well. I had reached a stage where I regarded the Catholic Church with the same interest as a plate of cold day-old fish and chips.” He does not see his experience as something special, saying it is a bit like ex-soldiers adjusting to civilian life, athletes at the end of their sporting life, adults and children involved in divorce or people facing up to the reality of their different sexual orientation. This transition may be relatively easy for some, but for others it can be traumatic. The subtitle and contents of the book suggest that for Steve, it was the latter.
Art became a source of therapy for him and the book contains copies of his interesting paintings. Some of them are mournfully surreal, particularly those dealing with his clerical past.
The book is a very easy read. Some outside his family may find his descriptions of different jobs and constant house moving as worth skimming over, but his journey of the mind in and out of the Catholic Church is interesting even if it is a familiar painful story.
A Safe Distance – by Steve Hyndes A Review by Carla van Raay, author of God’s Call Girl
As an ex-nun who left her order at about the same time as the author of this fascinating account left his priestly life, I was enthralled to read and compare the details of the restrictive life of a male within the Catholic clerical structure with my own experiences.
I had expected something more human or humane than my own experiences of convent life, but I found that the religious indoctrinations accompanied by years of destructive criticisms and dehumanisations Steve Hyndes endured, were far more severe. Of course, it is easy for me now to look back and wonder how we could have allowed such manipulation for more than a week! That we both did for years, and in Steve’s case for 26 years, is testimony to the power of inducing guilt and in the systematically reducing of confidence in one’s own innocence and validity from early childhood.
The first part of the book, which deals with the author’s clerical life in full cinematic colour and a bland sense of humour, I found the most engrossing. I smiled a lot in spite of the grim content, and also laughed out loud. His ruminations about sex and the shocking revelation of how celibacy of his fellow priests was simply a ‘face’ or ‘farce’ and not always a fact, were particularly interesting to me, since sexual freedom can be equated (at least by me) with the freedom to think for oneself. In the case of vowed celibacy, however, this freedom is marred by a harmful duplicity. That Steve finally connected with Paula, who was to become his wife and mother of three sons, felt like a relief at last to me.
After leaving the priesthood, I looked for accounts of his spiritual development along truer lines, but had to wait for a long time for that as I read the accounts of many movements through many towns and places as they made their lives together, often looking for work. At twenty pages from the end, we get a first good idea of how the clerical mask, preserved internally in spite of so much disillusionment, is faced full on and beginning to get dismantled. Without a clear new belief system to replace the old, the process proved to be extremely difficult, accompanied with physical symptoms reflecting severe emotional stresses.
I laud Steve Hyndes for writing so openly about these very personal experiences, offered to the reader with the hope that understanding will dawn on those likewise brainwashed, whether as clerics or as church-goers. By reading this account, one cannot stay blind to the contradictions within a religion which preaches love and lives self-hatred. I wish him and his dear wife Paula the happiest of relaxed years to come.
Carla van Raay, author of God’s Callgirl and Carla’s News and Views
Underpinning the failure to contain the coronavirus is the ill-advised decision of those who, early this century, moved vital education into the world of capitalist competition. At the heart of capitalism there is an ethical void. The capitalist system never had any chance of producing genuine education or adequate training. (The AGE: Pandemic Pay Win as Aged Care Alarm Grows. 28/7)
When Nationally Registered Training (NRT) was made mandatory for celebrants in 2003, at least 48 “providers” – most of them non-celebrants — were approved by the Federal Attorney-General to certify celebrants. I, and my fellow educationists, went into screech mode as we tried to expose their irresponsibility. I witnessed and still witness skilled exploiters working out how to undercut the competition. Inter alia, they abbreviate training content, cut time in the assessment of students, and subtly discourage persons from continuing the paid-for course, so they can charge less and beat the competition.
The Federal Attorney General’s Department and many others, skilled in agnotology, accepted everyone’s certificate as equal. No one ever failed. You paid your money and you got your certificate.
So why I am not surprised that security guards enjoyed “rolls in the hay” with isolated single women in quarantine? Why am I not surprised when some aged care workers contribute unwittingly to spreading the virus?
My friend, Dr Val Noone, has just published a book entitled Dorothy Day in Australia to coincide with the 50th anniversary of her once only visit in 1970. To mark this occasion I am, on his behalf, releasing an audio recording of Dorothy’s speech at the Public Lecture Theatre, University of Melbourne, on 16 August , 1970
Dorothy Day (1897-1980) was the co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. She led a wild and bohemian lifestyle in her younger years. A journalist and a Labour radical, she converted to Catholicism in her thirties, opening a House of Hospitality on the lower east side of Manhattan, New York. Dorothy founded a newspaper called the Catholic Worker which combined traditional Catholicism with advanced social ideals. Fuller information available on the web e.g. her Wikipedia entry under “Dorothy Day”.
Dorothy was one of the most interesting and puzzling figures in the history of 20th Century Catholicism, and of American dissent. She has had a small but definite effect on Australian Catholic culture to this day.
The following recording gives a rare and precious insight into her personality and mission. (There are some difficulties in the early minutes of the tape.)
Back to the ALP self-examination on why we lost the election. Am I nuts or something? The ALP is giving into Joel Fitzgibbon and the burn coal group.
What beat the ALP is the $60 million dollar gift to the Liberal Party campaign by Clive Palmer. And the money was well spent on the fear of Shorten being “shifty”.In current discussions it is not even getting a mention. Clive’s advertisements landed on fear. Fear, the psychologists tell us, is the best motivator. The Fear of “Shifty Shorten” message was far more effective than, $60million saying, “Vote Liberal Party”.
The loss in the last election of May 2019 had little to do with “policies” – it was a $60 million dollar political donation to the Coaltion by Clive Palmer to save his coal mines. This was a huge amount even by USA Coke Brothers standard
If $60million would have been donated to the ALP we would have won the election easily.
Clive only had to sway 3% – but in my opinion his advertisementsswayed many more.
$60 million dollars, effectively spent, has a big effect.
And it was so cleverly donated.
So you pretend you are starting a new political party without policies and spend the guts of the advertising on attacking the person of “Shifty” Shorten. And this was not any kind of advertising. Clive let loose the full catastrophe — radio, television, print newspapers, robo calls – the works. All of it was in piercing McDonalds yellow Coca Cola repetition, and shades of “Crooked” Hillary – plus a really ugly photo of Bill Shorten.
We didn’t lose, comrades. We had wonderful policies. We were beaten by capitalist money.
Raoul de Crespigny Tunbridge’s death on August 1, 2019 closed the book on a celebrated and highly successful career in general medical practice lasting over sixty years. For forty of these years he was also a designated Aviation Medical Examiner, holding a commercial pilot’s licence in his own right since 1979.
A significant contributor to the improvement of national and state based medical services, Raoul Tunbridge held key appointments in the Commonwealth sphere, the Health Department of Victoria, the Metropolitan Ambulance Service and the Victorian Academy of General Practice. On Australia Day in 1990 he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to medicine and for the creation of the Victorian State Disaster Plan.
Raoul de Crespigny Tunbridge was born on 15 May 1927. This was two years before the crash of Wall Street and the beginning of the Great Depression. His father Walter had been a member of the famous Light Horse Regiment in World War 1, and later on a pilot with the Australian Flying Corp.
His mother Lorna was a vivacious woman and was involved in the publicity and administration of performances for the National Theatre in Melbourne. Raoul had fond memories of his young life, a life of great celebrity parties guested with opera singers and colourful theatre people.
He was a distinguished alumnus of Caulfield Grammar School, It was the only school he ever attended. At CGS he was a prefect, a dedicated cadet, and the founder of a very successful music club.
He graduated from Melbourne University as a medical practitioner i.e. Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, in December 1952. In late 1952 he was appointed Registrar of the Prince Henry Hospital in Melbourne – a position he held for two years.
He had a close relationship with his younger sister Barbara. William Grice, one of his best friends from school, married Barbara and so became his brother-in-law.
As a door stop GP, he firstpractisedin Traralgon (1955), then established and practised at the highly successful Langton Medical Centre in Dandenong (1965-1980), later relocating to Mt Eliza (1980-1990) and Towerhill at Frankston (1990-2000). In his semi-retirement he was part of the Collins St Medical Practice (2000-2014) and Southend Medical in Hampton (2014-2015). He ceased work at 88 years of age.
Raoul took it for granted that a professional in society should go over and above the call of duty and voluntarily donate a substantial amount of quality time to organisations, which contributed to the good of society as a whole. He was, for example, a foundation member of Rotary International in Dandenong East.
These were the days before Medibank and Medicare when general practitioners were known as “physicians and surgeons” and did most of the procedures now done by specialists. I recall that frequently he would leave his surgery at Langton to head for the operating theatre at the Dandenong Hospital.
He was a great supporter of the Dandenong Hospital where he was, inter alia, President of the Committee of Management, Medical Director, and Director of Emergency Services.
My other memory of Raoul Tunbridge were that those who did not have any money were not billed. In these days before Medibank (1974) and Medicare those in personal difficulties were looked after pro bono by the medical profession.
His leadership roles included Chairman of Obstetrics at Monash University (1965-1973), President of the Board of Management of the the Metropolitan Ambulance Service (1986-1993), and CEO of the Victorian Academy of General Practice (1984-1994). The last included flying his plane to hospitals all over Victoria supervising and mentoring medical post graduates.
He is best known for his work in establishing Displan – the Medical Disaster Plan for Victoria, for which he received the OAM. Throughout Victoria, Raoul organised over fifty medical response groups who would be prepared “first responders” in the event of an earthquake, a train, bus or plane crash, a terrorist bombing – you name it. He also wrote the Australian Emergency Manual for Disaster Medicine which was to be the handbook text for his successors.
Raoul’s favourite vocation was as an accredited medical assessor of health and fitness for pilots. By law all airmen have to front up for their prescribed regular medical checkups. As a pilot himself it was a work he loved. These clients loved him too.
Dr Nathan Koch, represented the airmen who formed a guard of honour at his funeral. Koch stated that they always felt they not only fronted a skilled and knowledgeable medico, but a supportive person and their advocate with, at times, a somewhat capricious and ignorant public service.
On his 90th birthday at the Sandringham Yacht Club the grateful pilots saluted and honoured him with an eight plane flypast.
Raoul Tunbridge had, by any standard, a laudable record as husband, father, grandfather, and loyal friend. As his son Nicholas said at his funeral.
I asked him once what he would pass on to anyone who respected his life experiences. His answer was persistence. – “Nick, it’s so important to just keep going, never stop – and if something goes wrong, fix the bloody thing, and if you can’t fix it, then forget it and move on.”
Raoul’s skills, ethics and dedication were a remarkable contribution to us all and to his society. He has passed on. The lives of us all, and those who knew loved and admired him must be diminished.
Raoul Tunbridge is survived by his wife of 38 years, Christine,her daughter Kate and children, andRaoul’s sons Anthony, Nicholas and Davidfrom his first marriage to Brenda, and their spouses and children.
By his close personal friend Dally Messenger assisted by Christine Tunbridge and Nicholas Tunbridge.
For those of you who might have forgotten, Bill D’Arcy was a Queensland Member of Parliament, sometime deputy leader of the ALP, who was convicted of raping an eight year old girl in front of a combined class of about 20 primary school children. The supposed year and month was May 1966. He was sentenced to fourteen years in the slammer.
On the grounds of an otherwise exemplary life, the appeals court later reduced this to ten years. For reducing his sentence the judges were mercilessly attacked in the media. Lot’s of grabs included remarks like “They should lock these people up and throw away the key”, and, “They should take these judges out of the courtroom and send them back to the classroom, and teach them what real life is about” etc. It was good stuff for TV ratings and newspaper sales.
At the time all this happened D’Arcy held the safest state Labor seat in Queensland. In the faction ridden ALP this was never a safe place to be. Having had heart surgery, he was in need of a second operation to replace a failing heart valve, and simply didn’t have the health and energy needed to properly fight the rumours, which had been spread , that he sexually molested children some thirty five years before.
Bill D’Arcy fathered a child to a fourteen year old? Really?
The first sensational story in the media alleged police had evidence that he had fathered a child to a 14 year old girl. This accusation later proved manifestly false, proved by DNA, but the counter evidence hardly got a mention.
Bill D’Arcy raped a child in front of 20 students? Really?
New accusations emerged, including from a woman who had a thirty seven year old “recovered memory” to the effect that Bill D’Arcy had raped her as an eight year old. He went to trial, no one with knowledge and intelligence, thought that he could be found guilty, but he was. In the light of the media frenzy, it is clear he never had any chance of a fair trial in the first place.
If you are reading this and you are over twenty you will know immediately how dicey the human memory is. You only have to revisit a scene in a film, which you “clearly” recall to find that it wasn’t like you remember it at all.“Play it again Sam” – was that what Humphrey Bogart really said?
Bill D’Arcy convicted because of a “recovered memory”? Really?
In the courts in every place in the world except Queensland, Australia, “recovered memory” is a style of evidence, which has been so often discredited, that it has no credence. In the UK and the USA there have been numerous recantations of “recovered memory” by accusers. so often have people been influenced by “suggestion”, and so often has the human memory proved unreliable, that it never gets past first base before the lowest ranked junior magistrate anywhere, except in Queensland.
Bill D’Arcy convicted without any corroborative evidence? Really?
The rape accusation against D’Arcy was patently absurd in itself. How a jury could find him guilty beggars belief. He was found “guilty” of raping an eight year-old girl in front of a class of approximately twenty children of varying ages. None of those children present saw the rape, or anything like it. The eight-year-old (eleven year old?) didn’t scream in pain, or run out of the classroom, or make any sound, or even tell her parents. She told no-one until over thirty-seven years later, and then only when a police person went to her and persuaded her that her current mental troubles must have been caused by sexual abuse when a child – a memory she had suppressed.
Bill D’Arcy was convicted of a crime at a place where he wasn’t and at a time where he wasn’t? You’re joking!
Her evidence, if examined with care, reveals that she is speaking of a time when Bill D’Arcy was not at the school in question, but had in fact left ten months earlier! She describes the school in May 1966 but D’Arcy in fact had left in June 1965. She appears to be describing another male teacher who now lives in Canada and is not available for questioning. (No innuendo of innocence or guilt is made regarding this teacher.) But this should have been evident at the trial? Surely? no these records were “lost” at the time.
About Bill D’Arcy for the record
Oh, and just for the record, Bill D’Arcy, then, in the years since, and up to the present day, (December 2018), absolutely and vehemently denies any and all of it.
Oh and just for the record, his beautiful wife, his lovely children, his circle of friends, his neighbours and everyone who really knows him, doesn’t believe a word of it.
Oh, and just for the record, his fellow prisoners, who usually are merciless towards paedophiles, didn’t believe a word of it, not did the screws, nor did the jail staff.
Oh, and just for the record, he refused to undertake the sexual offenders course which requires inmates to admit guilt, and therefore had his jail time extended.
Bill D’Arcy received an excessive sentence.
The sentence on Bill D’Arcy was excessive, given the comparative sentences given to others found guilty at the time. The original sentence was fourteen years. Even sexual assailants of children who have been filmed on video and the internet doing so, to the horror of the world, received only a third of this sentence. Bill D’Arcy served over seven years in jail, a humiliating parole period, and, to put in mildly, a lost of reputation.
There were so many who accused Bill D’Arcy of lesser offences, he must have done something? Really?
sub-heading: carpet bombing: what it means, and why it is done: Emma Husar.
Here I must diverge and give a recent example. A federal Labor Party member from Sydney, one Emma Husar, who was “carpet bombed” by persons who wanted to force her to leave parliament. They spread so many rumours about her that she obviously found it extremely difficult to cope with them all. The rumour-mongers succeeded and she declared she would not stand again. The independent enquiry found that most of the accusations were groundless but a few were left hanging in the air. So some of the press and public concluded she must have done something . Right? Carpet bombed – very effective tactic if you want to get rid of somebody.
There have been a number of trials of Bill D’Arcy, most relatively minor, since the original one. No one can work out why. Having put a man away for fourteen years (later reduced) – why was public money continually spent on more trials? – to send the D’Arcys broke with legal fees? – knowing the contradictories in the main trial, to make sure he was put away well and truly? Who knows?
The original accuser i.e the woman who claimed to be raped as an eight year old, faced Judge Botting in the civil trial in the District Court. He disallowed this accuser’s attempt at gaining $250 000 in victim compensation. I read his findings. Though carefully worded, the Judge, in summing up, pointed to a large number of inconsistencies in her evidence. In plain layman’s terms he declaredBill D’Arcy “innocent” on the evidence; he refused her application for the lifting the statute of limitations, awarded costs to D’Arcy, stating in his opinion, that Bill D’Arcy could not get a fair trial. No headline for that one.
Bill D’Arcy was not, is not, and never has been a paedophile.
Another aspect disturbs me. Anyone who knows anything, or reads anything, about paedophiles, knows that they regularly re-offend. Bill D’Arcy was examined by a leading Queensland psychiatrist in the area of paedophilia. The psychiatrist told D’Arcy, that he exhibited no characteristics of paedophilia. This has never been clearly evidenced in court, or indeed anywhere else. Unfortunately in Queensland it is virtually impossible to have expert evidence admitted in this type of trial.
In fact in Queensland, the law does not require any evidence of corroboration in cases of alleged child sexual abuse and a person can be convicted solely on the word of the complainant. In the then current witch-hunt mentality (hysteria), this is a sure recipe for miscarriages of justice!
In jail he was again examined and tested by psychiatrists who stated he had no indications of paedophilia whatsoever.
Bill D’Arcy with his lovely wifeNot only is D’Arcy “no paedophile” but he has sustained an admirable 44 year marriage and has raised an admirable family. His wife, and his three grown children, totally love and esteem their father, totally believe in his innocence, are in daily contact with him, and have stuck together, though grievously harmed by his false conviction.
Sexually assaulted children are victims. So are men falsely accused.
There is another factor, which I think is totally central to the incarceration of D’Arcy. The Queensland political scene and the public life of Queensland at the time had been coloured by the campaign against sexual offenders of children. Though the stated objectives of this campaign are unquestionably laudable, the excessiveness and extremism of its methods, so ably criticised by the Journalist Christopher Pearson in the Weekend Australian(A Sad Case of Blind Justice Feb.19-20, 2005), has created its own list of the falsely accused. These are also victims and so are their families.
Bill D’Arcy and the Queensland Police
Let us now look at the role of the police. It is the job of the police to establish whether a crime has been committed and thence determine what action should be taken. It is not the job of the police to target a person, decide a priori that such a person is guilty, and then set out, by selecting evidence against, and ignoring evidence for, to secure a conviction.
Such a tactic is called trawling, i.e.ignoring any evidence in favour of the targeted person, and persuading those who may be persuaded, that they must strengthen their so called “evidence”, or worse, encouraging them to think about making a complaint of their own. They do this on the grounds that “we know this person is guilty but to nail him we need your help”.The Queensland police task force acted in this manner. Police can be influenced by media frenzy and let’s-find-these-pedophiles campaigns like anyone else! They followed this trawling process for two years. For example, I personally read the attempts to get witness statements from parents and others at Hendra a school were Bill D’Arcy taught. A whole page of failed attempts! Not one person had bad word to say about Bill D’Arcy, quite the contrary – so they went on to the next school
In November 2002, I personally attended the second trial and sat through it. I witnessed Judge O’Brien disallow Mr D’Arcy’s counsel from cross-examining the police on this tactic. I am still astounded by this and so I wrote to Judge O’Brien asking, as a citizen, for an explanation. I did not receive a reply.
I have many more misgivings and concerns about these series of trials – I know that much of the evidence is contradictory and faulty. I know the D’Arcy family still believe that within the law they will ultimately find justice. They are from Irish stock so they will keep fighting.
Why hasn’t Bill D’Arcy’s conviction, in the light of new evidence, not been re-examined?
My guesses are as follows:
The Crime and Corruption Commission of Queensland doesn’t want to re-examine it because “carpet-bombing” makes a case very complicated. A lot of work. It would not be popular because the press has caused public opinion to believe that the evidence is cut and dried.
The Police do not wish to be exposed as trawling and prejudiced as it would show them up in a bad light.
The Legal Profession does not wished to be exposed as being incompetent – as well as taking the D’Arcy’s life savings with their exorbitant fees.
The Labor Party does not wish to be exposed again for the ruthless and unethical way many of tis preselection battles are fought.
The conservative parties do not wish to be exposed as gleefully enjoying an opposition ALP member convicted of a crime.
The media have a lot to answer for their prejudicial coverage of Bill D’Arcy prior to his trial and their using of the rumours to temporarily but massively increase their circulation and viewers.
The protectors of children may not want Bill D’Arcy to be innocent either as the get so much publicity by the conviction of a high flyer.
So it just about suits everybody to keep Bill D’Arcy guilty, even though he is not.
SO WHAT AM I ASKING YOU TO DO?
I have been advised that even though many believe Bill D’Arcy is innocent of all charges, they say nothing because they fear the backlash of those who are convinced he is guilty. If by reading this and the website (link below) you are convinced that a fully independent enquiry is merited please let everyone know. Bring this case up in conversation –
mention the case on talk back radio,
write letters to the editor or MP,
mention and share this page
or a page from the website on facebook, Twitter and all social media.
Public support may begin the process of righting a grievous wrong.
The Funeral took place on July 7, 2009. Celebrant was Peter Phelan
Roger Pryke was a celebrated catholic priest, psychologist and social activist who left an indelible impression on the Australian catholic community. He is best remembered for applying the core values of christianity to the welfare of the individual person and the betterment of society. Many remember him for his peaceful organised mass protests against aparthied in Sth Africa as symbolised by the tours of the All white Springboks Rugby Union teams.
His Funeral was remarkable in that it was in two parts – the first– a concelebrated mass at St Josephs, Hunters Hill. My impression was that there were about twenty concelebrants and several hundred people. Most of these, I imagine, were those who were practising catholics who revered Roger Pryke who, during his priest period, inspired wthem with a brand of catholicism which they still retained. The Mass gave the impression that Roger had never left them – which, in a sense, was true.
The second part at the crematorium was a series of personal tributes by a representative group of his many admirers, who spoke – not only of his time in the church, but of the excellent fearless work he did as a married man and private employed citizen. It was much more of a secular gathering. After an hour and a half the long line of speakers had to be cut off as time had run out.
What was remarkable as far as I was concerned was that someone of his age (a) had so many people. As a funeral clebrant with at least 2000 funerals behind me, old people do not usually have much of an attendance at their funerals. Their friends have died off – usually they just have the widow and children and family.
But Roger’s wife, Meg, had died many years before, she bore him no children, he had had Alzheimers disease for several years and yet he had two remarkable funerals !
At his Funeral there were many excellent eulogies
Here is my Eulogy:
Dally Messenger on Roger Pryke
You remember the days. Catholic priests talked of Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, the authority of the Church, and the evils of mixed marriages.
Enter Roger Pryke — and his then unique Christian perspective – he spoke of how the sources of unhappiness, despair, low self-esteem, low self-confidence, and mental instability so often could be traced to acts of cruelty by one human being to another.
Happiness and mental balance depends, he said, on “the esteem of significant others in our lives”. That is why I surround myself with you lot.
Roger explained how the maintenance of sanity is to always face reality. Yes, people, I am 71, I am an old age pensioner, I have ordered a hearing aid, I have a history of successes and failures. That’s who I am, take it or leave it. I sleep sane. Thank you Roger.
He taught us to be ourselves — there is no peace in false fronts, airs and graces, or pretentiousness. It is not the Jesus way.
He spoke about good reactions to bad stimuli. We talked about the the blacks in America – how , after generations of slavery and of oppression, and being brainwashed to think of themselves as inferior, how they could then think of themselves as equal in dignity to whites. His answer has stayed with me. “They just made up their minds that they were equal, “ he said.
He held up a penny – if you love, the other side of the coin is that you will be vulnerable. If you love, you will likely get hurt. It is the other side of the coin. All things considered it is best to take the love pathway. This led to one of my first sermons on Simon and Garfunkels’s “I am a rock, I am an island.”
He introduced us to the counselling methodology of Carl Rogers. Counselling in those days meant you went to the priest, explained your problem, and you were told what to do. Rogers, Roger explained, meant you listen very carefully, you helped the person consider all the factors, so that they came to their own solution. So revolutionary.
Somehow, in 1965 or 1966 he got into St Patrick’s College, Manly, the seminary, where the tension, between the old guard thinking and the new philosophy of Vatican II, wreaked its own kind of misery. Roger confronted the then Dean, Pat Murphy, and told him that the atmosphere of oppression within the walls of his seminary was so bad, Jesus would never recognise the place. So courageous!
I so admired the guy — he made such sense to me. He is the only person I look back on as a guru in my life.
Permit me some brief personal memories. When still a seminarian I went walking with Roger at Araluen near Canberra. We were given the use of a country house there — I poured my sincere little heart out to him — his quiet reassurances validated me. I wrote a poem about it.
When, back at the Manly seminary, I used to get to frustration point, I would, after lights out, sneak across the oval, crawl under the fence, and go to visit him in his parish of Harbord. I needed to hear a sane voice. So patient.
Twenty years ago he rang me in Melbourne and said he was coming down south and intended staying with me and my then wife for a week, which he did. I recall feeling so privileged — it is as if Barack Obama rang me and asked me could he stay in my guest room. I recall that at the time he talked about the Progoff Intensive Journal method of gaining self awareness.
I visited him more recently at his apartment in Harbord. We spent the best part of a day together. We walked to Manly and back. It was one of those conversation reminiscent of the Walrus and the Carpenter.
“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”
And much secret men’s business – a occasion to live in the memory.
I thank Tony Newman, Paul Hartigan, especially Peter and Marian Phelan for looking after our mate in his last sad years and days. I thank Ed Campion for writing such an interesting and validating article in the Sydney Morning Herald.
The American Indians believe that no one is truly dead. while those who are still alive, hold them in memory. So Roger, you have a few years to live yet. I am not a believer in a sense most people would understand, but I cannot resist the words of our shared cultural tradition:
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Requiscat in pace.
Bill McMahon Letter
Bill McMahon showed me a letter he had received about Roger from Ken Buttrum which I found particularly interesting. An extract:
(I have) fond memories of Roger’s many great leadership skills, and it’s just a shame that his contribution to the development of new services for disadvantaged youth supported by the Department of Community Services in the mid 70s are not (acknowledged). He led a ministerial committee, of which | was a member, recommending major changes to young offender services throughout this state. It was my privilege to then implement these services. What an extraordinary individual of great vision and compassion! | will never forget his humility, great personal strength and personal encouragement as one of my supervisors. The private sector greatly benefitted from his vision, skill and invaluable leadership.
56 The Sanctuary Drive LEONAY NSW 2750 Wednesday 26 October 2011
Just writing a brief note to thank you for loaning me the book outlining the life of Roger Pryke during his years as a priest within the Catholic Church !What a prophet he was understanding the need for change in this authoritarian and male dominated organisation — a man well and truly before his time !
|have just finished reading the book and believe me itbrought back to me many fond memories of Roger’s many great leadership skills, and it’s just a shame that his contribution to the development of new services for disadvantaged youth supported by the Department of Community Services in the mid 70s are not outlined in this book !He led a ministerial committee, of which |was a member, recommending major changes to young offender services throughout this state. Itwas my privilege to then implement these services. What an extraordinary individual of great vision and compassion !| will never forget his humility, great personal strength and personal encouragement as one of my supervisors. The private sector greatly benefitted from his vision, skill and invaluable leadership and |feel this part of his story should have been told to show how his work in the community reflected his many Christ-like capabilities. In remembering his work for young offenders, |am reminded of the words of Isaiah who wrote,
Here is my servant whom |uphold, my chosen one in whom my soul delights. |have endowed him with my spirit, that he may bring true justice to the people He does not cry out or make a show of himself in the streets ! He does not break the crushed reed, nor quench the dimly burning flame.
He will encourage the fainthearted and those tempted to despair. He will see true justice is given to all who have been wronged. Isaiah 42:1-3
How amazing was itthat we bumped into each other on the streets of beautiful Lennox Head and how wonderful that we had both shared the blessings of working with Roger. Praise God ! Many thanks for lending Helen and me this wonderful story which has brought back some truly amazing memories.
John Murray to Frank Harvey (Author)
Dear Frank and Ed,
Thank you for last night’s splendid event. You both spoke beautifully and it was a worthy tribute to Roger Pryke, the priest.My partner Maureen and I found it intriguing that no opportunity was given for questions or comment from the audience, a usual feature of book launches in our experience.
You acknowledged, Frank, that some people had expressed disappointment that the book did not cover the rest of his life after the priesthood. He was a priest for 28 years. He was “in private life” after his departure from the priesthood for 37 years. Maureen did the maths.
As a “Traveller to Freedom” what he found was a freedom, not just from the priesthood, but from religion itself.
As believing Catholics, albeit progressive ones, it is hard for you to conceive, let alone acknowledge, that a leading figure of the renewal of the Catholic Church could come to realise that one is only truly free when not subjecting oneself to the external authority of a religion.
Perhaps your carefully constructed control of the evening was aimed at avoiding having this truth voiced?
Roger himself said, as you mention in the book, that he “took it off like an old suit”. I have always understood that this reference was not just to the priesthood, but to religion as a whole. I have often adopted that phrase from him in describing my own transition from religion to freedom. Like Roger, I left the whole thing, a few months before he did, as it happens.
The most important point, though, is that the human values Roger taught so many people, myself included, stand on their own without the support of religion. In terms of values, Roger was the most significant single influence on my life, and I still live by those values today. He lived out those values in the secular sphere for the rest of his life. His life did not lose its colour, but those within the church could no longer see it.
Roger, and many others, suffered at the hands of Norman Gilroy, such a limited man. But his greatest tragedy was not any of that. It was the untimely and sudden death of his beloved Meg with whom he had found true happiness.
I attach a little piece I penned recently which I think is relevant to the point I am making here. I intend to convey the substance of this letter to other friends who have an interest in these matters. With thanks again for a wonderful book and, as Roger would say,
John M. Murray BA, BSc (Arch), BArch, Grad Cert Housing Studies, Graduate Architect, 0409 039 495 , firstname.lastname@example.org
To Bill McMahon from John Murray (second letter)
Sent: Monday, November 21, 2011 10:31 AM
Subject: Re: Roger Pryke
Great to hear from you and much thanks for the beautiful letter about Roger. Perhaps Ken should write the book about Roger’s life free of the Church.
Frank Harvey admitted, at the book launch, that some had criticised the book for not dealing with the greater part of Roger’s life which was after he left the Church. His rather lame defence was that he was writing about Roger the priest and someone else could write about Roger’s later life. The reality is that there will probably be only one bite at the cherry. You ought to send him Ken’s letter.
Roger’s funeral service was in two parts. There was the full Catholic Mass led by Ed Campion at St Joseph’s College all, of course, about Roger the priest with no acknowledgement that Roger himself had rejected the Church’s teachings. Then there was a ceremony at the cremetorium, simply a series of speeches about Roger. Some were prearranged and then anyone was invited to speak. Pretty much all of the speeches were still about Roger the priest. This was getting on my goat so I got up, happened to be the last speaker, and pointed out that Roger had rejected religion and that the values he had taught me stood on their own two feet without any need for a reference to God or Jesus. Quite a few people came and thanked me for saying that at the wake. Needless to say, Ed Campion did not attend this function.
Ed, who had a lot to do with the book, and Frank, cannot cope with those of us, especially Roger, who have given it all away and see it for the sham that it is. Attached my letter to them. Ed sent me a curt thank you and Frank didn’t respond.
Yesterday, Maureen and I went to a talk at the Opera House by Daniel Dennett, one of the leaders of the atheist movement. They have been doing research in America on practising clergy who no longer believe in God. There are a great many of them and they feel terribly trapped. Being a biologist, he drew an analogy between social cells and biological cells. A very important part of the cell is the membrane which lets good stuff in and keeps bad stuff out. He spoke of the membrane between the clergy and their congregations, how the clergy do not share their real insights with the laity. I remember Jimmy making it pretty plain to us that the theology we were learning in the seminary, which was very different from what we were taught by the nuns at school, was beyond the comprehension of the laity and was not to be shared with them.
Dennett was not stridently against religion like Dawkins is. He had a gentler approach. He could acknowlege that religion can have a function for some people, but that it could still have that function while acknowledging that the religious stories are mythology not history, that they express the mystery of the human condition through mythic legend (like the Greek Myths) and don’t need to be reified into facts (this last bit is more me that Dennett, but he did imply it). He did point out the now well established fact that the need for religion subsidies as security, health and education advance in a society.
That’s enough of a rave for now. Back to reading DCP’s, another mythic form.
Love to Sue and to all the gang.
John M. Murray BA, BSc (Arch), BArch, Grad Cert Housing Studies, Graduate Architect, 0409 039 495
The fragile rule of law, the presumption of innocence, and Bill D’Arcy
By Dally Messenger III
Everyone is right and everyone is wrong when it comes to long term sexual misconduct accusations.
I am not talking here of serious misconduct which is cut and clear. Father Ridsdale, for example, had an army of former altar boys with serious accusations. The evidence was overwhelming. Ridsdaleadmitted his crimes. Open and shut.
In the history of sexual crimes, the genuine victims have frequently been ignored, disbelieved, even attacked. These wrongs must be redressed. But such redressing cannot mean that every man accused is guilty.
This is the kind of question which is emerging: was that pinch on the behind sexual assault? Was it a welcomed bit of fun and affection? Was it one of those misjudgments or mistaken signals which regularly occur in the interaction of the sexes? Could the accusations arise from the fury of a woman scorned? Could the accusation be based on pseudo-evidence –e.g. “recovered memory” – which only comes to light when others have suggested it?
There is a corollary question: could it be that occasionally victim compensation gives force and power to an already flowering and embellished victim narrative?
Yes – there are real victims of sexual assault and they must be listened to carefully and sympathetically. The #MeToo movement has opened up a valuable dialogue far too long suppressed. But, as Bret Stephens points out in his incisive New York Times article “The Smearing of Woody Allen”, it is a very serious matter for society to jettison the presumption of innocence and the burden of proof because you do not like someone. The presumption of innocence is a cornerstone of our justice system – and hundreds of years of legal experience tells us that we do not have a justice system without it.
My own personal knowledge of a real victim on the wrong swing of Hegel’s dialectic is the falsely accused Bill D’Arcy, one time former leader of the opposition in Queensland. Queensland has a long history of abuse of the legal system and the ignoring of the separation of powers. The Fitzgerald Inquiry, for example,exposed politicians and business leaders, who motivated by political ambition, or big profits, or media sales, decided to ditch due process.
D’Arcy had the safest Labor seat in Queensland, Woodbridge, and in the late 1990s he became ill with serious heart trouble. It was the time of the tumultuous and enthusiastic beginning of the nobly motivated campaign to find men who had sexually abused children. D’Arcy was accused on the basis of a rumour originating, as far as the subsidiary rumour has it, from his opponents in the Labor Party. As Stephens says of another, his case played perfectly “into existing biases”.
I have read the eighty eight page report on the Bill D’Arcy case which was written in 2003 by a former senior police inspector of unquestionable integrity. Though the language is careful and respectful it reveals a sorry mess of police “trawling”, a cesspool of contradictions and a swampland of serious anomalies. This former police officer, inter alia, details how D’Arcy was “carpet bombed” with hitherto never mentioned accusations in an atmosphere of “hysteria”.
Two years of pretrial publicity in the tabloid press ensured that Bill D’Arcy had not a snowflake’s chance in hell of a fair trial, but as he did, amazingly, go to trial, there was not even half a snowflake’s chance of a “not guilty” verdict.
This short reflection can only handle one specific instance of injustice of the many I could quote. Contrary to tabloid reports Bill D’Arcy was accused of rape by only one woman. This one accusation merited 10 years of his original 14 year sentence. At the time of the trial, the year 2000, the alleged event was 34 years prior to the trial.
For starters, Dr Daniel O’Connor asserts that raping an eleven year old girl in front of a whole class without anyone noticing what was going on, and without the girl screaming in pain, etc. was physically impossible. As O’Connor asserts – it “beggars belief”.
Fourteen items of evidence given by the accusing woman, place the alleged rape as occurring in May 1966. Evidence clarified since the trial makes it clear that Bill D’Arcy was transferred to another school on June 30, 1965. I have examined the documents and transcripts myself. It is cut and dried, open and shut. To add strength to my conclusion – the accusing woman gives a description of the teacher who followed BiIll D’Arcy. This man, by the way, left the country at the time the accusations started. Everyone I know who has looked closely at the facts of the Bill D’Arcy trial, has decided D’Arcy is innocent.
At the trial the woman herself uttered this extraordinary statement – “when the police identified me as a victim ..” Unnerving, isn’t it?
The year was 1967. Lawrie O’Malley and Tony Sheridan had decided to help a suave looking young man gain preselection for the seat of Robertson in NSW for the ALP.
My clearest recollection is when we went with Barry to the Wyong and then the The Entrance ALP Branch. There were about 30 members of each Branch where Barry presented his case. We then headed off to another branch – it could have been Gosford – to do the same thing.
Lawrie O’Malley was Cohen’s close friend. They were both in the retail rag trade together. Tony Sheridan, a Labor idealist, was his campaign manager.
Barry had been active in campaigning for the recognition of aborigines.
Barry was the person who invited Peter, Paul and Mary to perform in Sydney to support the aboriginal cause. The performance was held at the Sydney Boxing Stadium in Rushcutters Bay on May 16, 1967.
I clearly remember the advertisements emphasising the technological wonder of the rotating stage (1) which had replaced the boxing ring. Barry, being a promoter of the event, had as many free tickets as he wanted, so a few of our friends and ALP members, got to see these world top artists, which normally we would never been able to afford. I had a free trip as well from Gosford to Sydney in Barry’s car.
Peter Paul and Mary gave a wonderful concert – singing Bob Dylan songs (“The Times they are a Changin” “If I Had a Hammer” and others). They divided the audience of thousands into three sections to sing in harmony – “Rock my Soul in the Bosom of Abraham”. An unforgettable experience. Paul Stookey made short speech about respecting Australian Aborigines. Eleven days later the people passed the referendum on the recognition of the Aboriginal people as humans and citizens.
After the performance a few of us were invited backstage with Barry to meet the big three. Peter and Paul went elsewhere but Mary Travers invited us to walk with her up to Kings Cross for supper. Imagine my emotional excitement when Mary took my arm and said: “You are walking with me”. Barry, Lawrie, and Tony were lagging behind us. The only time I ever upstaged Barry Cohen.
The Whitlam government was elected in 1972. In the middle eighties when I was editor of Dance Australia, Barry Cohen, then Minister for the Arts, gave me a great deal of support. At the ADAMS (Awards by Dance Australia Magazine) he made a wonderful crafted speech, comparing the art of the dancer and the art of my Rugby League grandfather; he described them as kindred artists, and how top sportsmen were all part of the artistic phenomenon of “poetry in motion”. When I watched Billy Slater, years later, I reflected on how right he was.
Goodbye, Barry, Great contribution. (B.C. d. Dec 18, 2017 @82)
At one concert Peter got the audience to sing “Rock My Soul,” and the noise of stamping feet at the end of the song, a sign of high approval, woke up Mary’s husband Barry napping in the dressing room, who thought a riot had broken out.
3. The Aboriginal Referendum took place on 27 May 1967
Lionel Murphy was a man admired, even adored, by almost everyone who knew him. (The Age – “Murphy papers’ release gives controversy fresh legs” -15-9-2017) Talk to his personal staff, the public servants he won over, or any of his wide range of friends and acquaintances and what do you find? No one who didn’t think he was top of the pops. Lionel Murphy dripped concern for his fellow human beings, as much as today’s leading politicians drip opportunism and expediency.
But he did attract the anger of the upper classes. They loved the old divorce laws as much as they love dirty coal power stations today. (“The destruction of marriage”). He fought long and hard for no-fault divorce, he abolished capital punishment, he established legal aid, he made women and aborigines civil celebrants, and frequently dissented from Garfield Barwick and the other judges on the High Court.
You don’t do those sorts of things without experiencing a backlash from those born to rule.
But let me pick up one part of your story. Even the establishment Royal Commission rejected 21 of the 41 “allegations” on first reading. So these absurd allegations – that he was a soviet spy, that he had Swiss bank accounts full of money etc. were dismissed.
My question is – who made these patently false allegations? What are their names? Why have they escaped punishment? So only 14 of the 41 allegations made their way onto the final agenda – the worst of which seem to be the words – “What about my little mate?“. Why is Lionel Murphy held to this absurd standard? Donald Trump tweets worse several times a day.
Instead of this outrageous anonymous innuendo, why not read scholar and historian Dr Jennifer Hocking’s carefully researched and admirable book on Lionel Murphy – and drink in the true story of a truly great man.
Dally Messenger III
from MUNGO MacCALLUM. (courtesy John hill)
Murphy was a political giant, a man of voracious appetites on many levels.
Murphy may have been flawed, but he was a flawed colossus, a Labor hero. Whatever his peccadillos, history has already redeemed him.
Thirty years after his death, the archivists have exhumed Lionel Murphy, the incomparable Attorney-General from Gough Whitlam’s government.
Or rather they have not attempted to exhume the man, but only the raft of accusations that dogged him to his early grave.
Many of these were absurd, fanciful to the extent that even his toughest critics admit that they were obvious fabrications. But others have been given some credibility. This is unsurprising because Murphy was never the conventional figure his position, both as a cabinet minister and a high court judge, supposedly demanded.
Murphy was a political giant , a man of voracious appetites on many levels. He craved power and achieved it; but along with his ambition he also loved food, wine, and good company, especially that of attractive women. This infuriated many of his less successful colleagues, who could never understand what they saw in a man who was, let’s be frank, no oil painting; he was once slandered as a puce-nosed jackal.
But Murphy had charm, wit and a blazing intelligence: he considered himself Whitlam’s intellectual superior, partly on the grounds that while his leader had studied arts and law, Murphy had pursued the more arduous pairing of science and law. He was something of a polymath, a man of boundless curiosity and utterly fearless about where it might take him.
And this was the trouble. In his youth he had made some friendships that appeared harmless at the time but were regarded as dubious or worse when he achieved high office. But Murphy, being Murphy, refused to abandon them and at times, in open defiance of those who counseled discretion, even flaunted them.
There was, and is, no serious suggestion of corruption in the normal sense, but there was a feeling that he had crossed the line where cronyism became at the very least inappropriate. And so his enemies pounced, and there were plenty of them.
Whitlam, who had always regarded him as an unwelcome rival, hoped that he had disposed of him by agreeing to his appointment to the high court, to the fury of its then chief justice, the previous Liberal attorney-general Garfield Barwick. But when leaked illegal phone taps appeared in the Melbourne Age, one of which referred to Murphy talking about the overly colourful solicitor Morgan Ryan as “my little mate,” the shit hit the fan.
One trial convicted Murphy and an appeal cleared him, but then further stories emerged and a new inquiry was opened, only to close when it was revealed that Murphy had terminal cancer. And it was the subject of this second inquiry that had the voyeurs of the media salivating last week.
There were allegations but none of them were tested, let alone proved. But enough mud has stuck for some commentators to claim that Murphy would have been struck from the High Court for proven misbehaviour if the case had continued.
Personally, I doubt it: the Murphy I know was certainly indiscreet, even outrageous, but he was above all a lawyer and a bloody good one. I do not believe that he would risk his career and reputation, which remains that of one of the great reformers of Australian politics.
Murphy may have been flawed, but he was a flawed colossus, a Labor hero. Whatever his peccadillos, history has already redeemed him.
BIG LAW (Lawyer’s Weekly
|18 SEPTEMBER 2017
By: Melissa Coade
More than three decades after being sealed by Parliament, secret allegations levelled against the late Lionel Murphy QC have been described as a tawdry and repetitive exercise to cast doubt on the legacy of the former High Court judge.
New documents released by federal Parliament have returned the spotlight on one of the most controversial political and judicial scandals in Australian history. But the veracity of the archives and what they can add to our understanding of the truth remains contentious.
The Class A Records relate to a 1986 aborted parliamentary inquiry into improper misconduct allegations against the late Lionel Murphy QC (pictured). The former High Court judge and attorney-general, who served in two Whitlam governments, died from terminal cancer in October that same year.
In 1986, the Hawke government legislated to repeal the commission inquiring into various allegations of improper conduct and sealed the associated documents outlining the allegations against the judge for 30 years. That time period expired in 2016 and last week thousands of pages of declassified files were made public.
Lionel Murphy is the only High Court judge to have been subject to a parliamentary investigation that may have resulted in his removal from the bench under Section 72 of the Constitution for “proved misbehaviour or incapacity”.
Historians, academics, journalists and legal pundits have been poring over the declassified files to get a better sense of how these new details add to what is already known about the sensational controversy the High Court judge was embroiled in the three years leading up to his death. He passed away aged 64.
Professor Jenny Hocking, the author of Lionel Murphy – A Political Biography, told Lawyers Weekly that it was incorrect to describe the latest tranche of documents as some final chapter to the affair. She admonished recent media commentary which implied the details of the allegations put to the commission of inquiry offered any kind of “final chapter” to Lionel Murphy’s legacy.
“The documents are, in fact, just the beginning of another episode of what is now another tawdry, repetitive search for error on Murphy’s part. There is no truth in those documents on their own,” Professor Hocking said.
“It is impossible to draw the truth, certainly from these documents because they are only the beginning of a commission of inquiry,” she said.
Writing for The Conversation, legal academic Professor Andrew Lynch said that the release of the documents would “reopen old debates and inevitably lead to fresh appraisals of Lionel Murphy’s life and career”. His assessment of documents conclude that it would have been untenable for the judge to remain on the bench but underscores that the commission did not have an opportunity to complete its inquiry.
“The records bring vividly to life the controversy that by mid-1986 swirled ceaselessly around Murphy. There are 41 separate files of allegations against the judge, as well as a general file of ‘accusations and letters of support’,” Professor Lynch said.
The legal academic from the University of New South Wales explained that a number of the allegations in these achieved files canvassed similar ground to the issues that were probed in two separate Senate committee inquiries two years prior in 1984, and the subsequent criminal trials of which the judge was ultimately acquitted of any wrongdoing.
Professor Lynch added however that some of the Class A allegations did raise new claims of illegal or improper conduct. These included an allegation of attempted bribery of Commonwealth officers or urging them to breach duties of non-disclosure. He also noted an allegation that the judge had tried to get a senior AFP policeman to act as an inside informant to the Australian Labor Party (ALP).
Not only have the new public documents raised further questions about Lionel Murphy’s “complex” legacy, but the information has also gone some way to illustrating the scandalous nature of politics in 1980s Australia, Professor Lynch suggested.
Of those allegations which were set aside by the commissioners (comprising three retired judges who were appointed to the role) Professor Lynch listed a range of what he called “outlandish” claims, “reheated from years earlier and already known to be baseless”.
“These included allegations of tax avoidance, improper use of travel entitlements that Murphy accessed through his wife’s work as a travel consultant with Ethiopian Airlines, the provenance of a diamond owned by Mrs Murphy, and, an all-too predictable conspiracy theory given the times – that the judge was a Soviet spy and a member of an espionage ring operating in Canberra,” Professor Lynch said.
The question remains, to what extent can any of the 14 allegations against Lionel Murphy revealed in the past week better inform the historical record.
According to Professor Hocking, the fact that the commission’s work was never finalised is an important issue that must be considered. She noted that another thing to bear in mind was that the parliamentary commission terms of reference were remarkably broad and allowed for allegations against Lionel Murphy to be made in an open slather fashion.
“They were literally inviting people to come forward with any material from any time of Lionel Murphy’s life about any aspect of his life. There was a lot of criticism at the time that the terms of reference were not confined, that they were very broad and literally invitations to allege,” Professor Hocking said.
“You have to remember also that Murphy had already been through three such inquiries, two of them being the senate inquiries (in 1984), which both found the original material being inquired into, couldn’t be substantiated as verifiable material.”
The original material Professor Hocking describes is a series of telephone conversations, secretly recorded and transcribed by NSW Police and then leaked to journalists at The Age. The newspaper then used these transcripts to report that a judge and solicitor had discussed a range of potentially criminal matters, as well as raise the suggestion that the pair had ties to criminal groups.
One tape in The Age tapes supposedly identified Murphy under parliamentary privilege as the judge involved in the reported scandal. He was also accused of attempting to influence other judges who were presiding over a matter that involved forgery and conspiracy charges against solicitor Morgan Ryan, who later famously became referred to as Murphy’s “little mate”.
“There’s a real question mark over that very early material,” Professor Hocking said.
The Monash University academic said that she believed when a determination had been made to discredit The Age tapes, that is where the saga should have ended. But indeed, it continued and resulted in what she described was an unprecedented “reputational inquiry after inquiry”. She added that the shocking, targeted use of Parliament and courts to pursue the High Court judge cannot be removed from the political circumstances of the time.
“There were determined efforts to remove Lionel Murphy from the bench and you cannot separate out the politics from the legal aspects of this in any way, shape or form.
“I think he was treated absolutely appallingly. From the moment he went on the bench, it was very clear from the conservative side of politics that there would be moves made – and this was said publicly – to ensure that he would not remain long on the bench,” Professor Hocking said.
Justice Murphy took leave from the High Court when the second Senate commission of inquiry in 1984 found he had a case to answer. The Commonwealth DPP then laid charges against the judge before Parliament moved to make a decision about what it would do to address the judge’s position.
He was acquitted in July 1985 on one charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice but found guilty of another. Murphy successfully appealed the 18-month jail sentence imposed on him and was acquitted at the retrial for the second charge.
“The only truth of a person’s life can be gauged from an examination of their entire life and that’s the only way in which really to assess both the legacy of Murphy as a jurist and as a very successful reforming attorney-general,” Professor Hocking said.
“We also need to understand the context in which these documents have come from and why there was such determined efforts to remove him. Given that he’d been acquitted on the other grounds to come out at trial, the final commission of inquiry [in 1986] was extremely controversial.
“The bottom line is that he was acquitted of the charges he faced at trial and it’s an absolute tragedy and scandal that the matter was not allowed to rest there.”
Lionel Keith Murphy QC – Image courtesy of High Court of Australia
When the cast of Hamilton asked VP Pence to respect LGBTI people Trump called in a “third rate show”. In his abuse he is coarse, crude, vain, shallow and simplistic.
When Meryl Streep criticised him she was dubbed an “overrated” actress.
“Lock her up”. Hilary Clinton deserves to put on trial as a criminal (what for?)
Trump boasts and he lies:
This presidency has achieved more in the first 90 days than any other presidency.
More people attended his inauguration than for Barack Obama.
He is restoring “clean coal”.
Trump does things destructive to society:
Reversed environmental protections. Companies can now put waste into rivers (“reduced red tape”)
Denies climate change.
Reversed Dodd-Frank so that banks can take financial risks which threaten society.
Stopped funding birth control in countries that need it badly.
Proposed a budget which halves funding of Medicaid and decrease by 25% funding for food stamps.
tries to get rid of Obamacare such that 23 million would be without health coverage and older and ill people would be paying a lot more.
Positively supports the sale of armaments and encourages the war industry (e.g. $148 billion sales to Saudi Arabia – one of the most backward and punitive societies in the world.)
From Jason Bosseau on August 9, 2018
The EPA has issued a SNUR (Significant New Use Rule) that says it will no longer evaluate the toxic effect of substances that are present in the air, in the ground or in water. One of the substances that will benefit is asbestos since the hazard presented by asbestos occurs when it is entrained into the air. The president does not believe that asbestos is a health hazard and has been saying so for decades. Almost all of the asbestos imported into the United States (there is no domestic production) is used in the creation of chlorine. Most of it comes from Russia and is mined by a company named Uralasbest. Uralasbest can expect a very large benefit to its business from the new rule.
Trump breaks promises
Obamacare will not be repealed unless something better is in its place – the next day.. (Just repeal Obamacare and we will work out the rest later.)
He will build a border wall which Mexico will pay for.
Trump is unstable: Aug 1, 2017
I write this bit on Aug 1, 2017. Eleven days ago, Sean Spicer his communications director was sacked and replaced by the foul mouthed Anthony Scaramucci. Scaramucci immediately attacked Reince Priebus (white House chief of Staff). Priebus immediately resigned. Trump replaced him with General John Kelly who immediately requires the dismissal of Scaramucci (terrific name by the way). All this in eleven days!!
Donald Trump is a fear monger: Nov 9, 2018
Fear is the greatest motivator – so if a politician wants to win an election – he needs to whip up fear – and the image of himself as the strongman and saviour, who will save the people from what they fear. Don’t be surprised – but it is called “fear mongering”.
So Trump looks like he might do badly in the election of 6-11-2018. So he focuses on a group of derelict refugees, mostly from Honduras, who are escaping a basket case country. The Honduran country and economy is riddled with corruption, but worst still, is a country fractured and ruled by lawless criminal gangs. This group of about 5000 people are walking across Mexico, some barefoot, many walking in thongs, begging for food as they go, to seek asylum in the USA.
So Trump turns up to his mad campaign rallies and describes this ragtag group as an invasionery force descending on the United States Border, threatening the very integrity of the USA itself. At the pace they are going this group is still three weeks away from the aforesaid USA border. So, to underline the threat and to emphasise the terror, Trump sends 15,000 (You heard me – fifteen thousand) crack troops to the border to fight the “invasion”.
Republicans (how can anyone vote Republican?) beg him to talk about the economy but Trump is smart. Fear is what works. The election comes and goes, and Trump does very well everywhere he campaigned.
Two or three days after the election when this fake issue (Trump is the master of fakery), has served its purpose, it suddenly vanished from the scene. At the White House press conference a CNN reporter attempted to ask a question about the “invasion”. Trump rips into him, accuses him of faking news, attacks him and bans him from the White House press meetings, on the fake charge that he molested a young woman intern who tried to rip the microphone from his grasp (millions saw the opposite of this charge on video).
In true too-clever-by-half Trump style, he then sacks his Attorney-General, and thus takes attention off this fake issue onto another issue – a ploy he has been doing since elected President.
Obama and economic progress: Some inconvenient truths:
The unemployment dropped 0.66% each year under Obama, and 0.33% under Trump.
Wages went up 0.25% each year under Obama, and they have declined by 0.25% under Trump.
The stock market rose 25% per year under Obama, and and only 15% under Trump.
Obama inherited the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Trump inherited the Obama Recovery.
The Resistance as quoted in John James
I was 16. The year was 1954. The 1960s hadn’t even dreamed of starting.
If you put a gun to my head and asked me what activity I most enjoyed in my teenage years, I would have a say it was the CYO (Catholic Youth Organisation) Sunday night dance. It went from 7:30 PM to 10 PM.
It was held in a small church meeting hall or in the complex of property which was the St Columba’s Catholic parish of Wentworthville, a suburb outside Parramatta to the west of Sydney. We, the young CYO members, would get there early and rub kerosene soaked sawdust onto the floor to make it more slippery. There were not many rubber soles and heels in those days. A beautiful man, Jack Walsh, was the pianist. His co-musicians played the violin and the drums. They played the same songs every week. I remember they always played “Jealousy” for the La Bomba.
As for me I would walk home at 10 PM on a Sunday night and I was already was looking forward to the next Sunday night. An older woman of some 19 years, Elsie McMahon, took me under her wing and taught me how to dance. This was the great barrier we had to cross — “learning to dance”. The joy of the evening for an extrovert like me was the Progressive Barn Dance which gave every male a short time with every young female in the room. 25 years later when the CYO had a reunion I discovered to my amazement that each female danced in exactly the same style with eactly the same quirks. We also learned the Gypsy Tap, the Maxina, the Jazz Waltz and many others.
Names I remember were Elsie’s younger sister Maxine McMahon, Peter McMahon, Marie Giblin, Jeanette Smith, Dick Lynch, the Trad family, Portia Trad (teamed up with a Kelly) Verity Trad and John Trad who had heart trouble and who died at a very young age. It was my close friend Dennis Gaul (Jeanette Smith fell madly in love with him), my cousin Annette Dunstan, the fashionable Virginia Ligghezolo and the Maltese members– Charlie Zarb, Charlie Borg, Louis Camilleri, Esther and Melita Camilleri. There was June Spiteri. Tommy Howard became the President later on, when I was secretary. He married the beautiful Marie Docking. Jim Docking came to Melbourne and married Faye – they were my first and longest standing Melbourne friends. Johnny and Marlene Dobler, Angela Flamisch and Brian McBride, Alan Goode, Ray and Colleen Hunt, Anita Bourke , June Mortlock, Sonia Crowe – my memory isn’t as bad as I thought it was. Eric Valentine, Ray Weidesweiller, Wacka Beach, Billy and Barbara Ericson. Many more names.