Friday, 12 July 2013

Another perspective on the Reverend Hon Pat Comben - former Clarence Valley councillor (2008-2010)

“Of the nearly 3.6 million Australians who call themselves Anglican, statistically one in four women and one in eight men are victims of abuse, so it is something that affects our church on many levels”
Dr. Phillip Aspinall, Archbishop of Brisbane and Primate of the Anglican Church in Australia, 2012


In February 1995 Pat Comben resigns as Minister for the Environment and, as the Member for Kedron does not re-contest his seat at the Queensland general election on 15 July 1995.


Understood to be training to become a deacon of the Anglican Church.


Mr Comben testified that he did not know why he asserted that ‘we’ know something. He said only he knew things and he erred in asserting that Cabinet had knowledge of what he knew….
He said that he had no specific knowledge about any matters involving child abuse.  Over some period of time he had received complaints at his electoral office about things that had allegedly occurred at the Sir Leslie Wilson Youth Centre, he had received complaints from homeless youths who had were detained at the John Oxley Youth Centre and had received ‘low grade scuttlebutt’ from some staff about children being inappropriately treated or inappropriately punished. He said that it was information of this nature which he had in mind when he referred to ‘child abuse’ in the statement broadcast in 1999. [3(e) Report: Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry June 2013]


However, earlier this year, Tommy had raised the matter privately with the Anglican Church which ran the home.
In the letter to the church, dated August 29, he catalogued a horrific series of abuses visited upon him and others at the home, including being preyed upon by a paedophile.
The six-page letter detailed example after example of children being regularly beaten senseless, starved and taunted.
On September 2, he received a reply from the Diocese of Grafton's registrar Pat Comben that the Church's Professional Standards Committee was investigating the matter.
Mr Comben said: "I am unable to adequately express my personal feelings of revulsion, sorrow and helplessness which the letter raises inside me.
"I have no hesitation in speaking on behalf of the Diocese in saying that we will do all that we can to assist you." [The Northern Star 12 November 2005]


The Anglican Diocese of Grafton general manager, the Reverend Pat Comben, said he was stunned by the extent of the brief being prepared by lawyers acting for former orphans. [The Sunday Mail, NSW State Library archives, 5 March 2006]

MORE than 40 former wards of the North Coast Children's Home have joined Richard 'Tommy' Campion's campaign for compensation from the Anglican Church. Brisbane lawyer Simon Harrison said his firm Nicol Robinson Halletts was preparing its case and would write to the church in mid-July to outline its position. "We'll proceed with legal action in September if negotiations don't pan out," he said.
Mr Campion last year claimed he was sexually, physically and mentally abused during his time at the home between 1949 and 1962 while Matron Ada Martin was in charge…..
Reverend Pat Comben, Diocese of Grafton registrar, said because the matter had gone to lawyers the church was constrained in what it could say…
Any claims of abuse had to be considered in the light of different views on corporal punishment in previous eras, he said, and the church was 'not sure' that it ever owned the home. [The Northern Star 7 June 2006]


Late 2007: Mr Campion and his sister Suzanne refuse compensation after Reverend Pat Comben argues the church had no duty of care and the payments were an act of compassion. [The Gold Coast Bulletin, NSW State Library archives, 25 May 2013]


Pat Comben was elected as one of nine councillors at the Clarence Valley local government election on 13 September 2008. He did not stand for re-election at the end of this four year term in 2010.


A letter where an orphan describes a gang rape, violent sexual assaults and regular beatings at the North Coast Children's Home at Lismore was buried by the Anglican Church.
The Bulletin has obtained both the letter and an official complaint which explain why Grafton Bishop Keith Slater late last week became the first church leader, since the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Abuse was announced, to offer his resignation for failing to address complaints…….
Before he left in August 2010, Rev Comben wrote a "sincere and humble apology" for treating both Mr Campion and his sister "with contempt in respect to the aftermath of abuse they suffered as children while living in an Anglican place".
"As I am a member of the Anglican Clergy and you a victim of abuse I should not have made the many accusations of deceit that I did. For that I am truly sorry," Rev Comben wrote.
Neither Rev Comben nor Bishop Slater wish to make further comment.
[Gold Coast News 27 May 2013]


Understood to be the Manager at Koala Villas & Caravan Park at Boambee NSW.

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