Monday, 25 January 2016

On an official visit to Italy in May 2015 Australian Attorney-General George Brandis secretly met with Royal Commission witness Cardinal George Pell in Rome and still refuses to explain himself

No wonder Labor’s Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC MP decided to take Attorney-General Senator George Brandis QC to court in order to see his official diary containing the weekly agenda between 18 September 2013 and 12 May 2014 – appears it’s not just about an alleged lack of consultation over environmental legal agency and arts funding cuts.

The following also suggests more than one motive may lie behind the Attorney-General currently using taxpayer funds to appeal the Administrative Appeals Tribunal decision in the Federal Court, in order to continue to block Dreyfus from seeing his ministerial diary.

This is a snapshot of a 4 May 2015 media release by the Attorney-General’s Department:

This is Ten News breaking the secret meeting story on 20 July 2015:

Brandis' secret meeting with Pell

Victims of child sexual abuse, being examined by the Royal Commission, have slammed Federal Attorney-General George Brandis over a secret meeting in Rome he had with Cardinal George Pell, who's long been accused of protecting paedophile priests.

This meeting, between the Catholic Attorney-General and the Australian Cardinal-Prefect heading the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy, took place over a meal at the official residence of the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See John McCarthy QC. 

It is understood that it was in May 2015 that Cardinal Pell was privately informed that he was to be recalled to give evidence in late 2015 by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

On 25 May 2015 Pell responded by letter to the Royal Commission stating his intention to comply. As the cardinal well knows that anyone residing overseas cannot be summons to appear, the one quote from his letter found in the relevant media statement is rather too 'cute' for words

So it probably came as no surprise to avid followers of these hearings that, on 11 December, five days before he was to attend the Royal Commission, Cardinal Pell plead illness and refused to travel to Australia. 

His appearance in person has been rescheduled for February 2016 during a further Case Study 28 hearing.

Anyone holding their breath as they wait for George Pell to appear in person at the Royal Commission again needs to exhale now, as ceasing to breathe until the Last Judgement Day is necessarily fatal.

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