The CEO of the Catholic PR Unit (Or: Fishing for Political Souls)

Mr Francis John Sullivan, 56, is the CEO of the Catholic PR unit for the royal commission, the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, reporting to Mr Barry O’Keefe, the chairman. He is a seasoned Canberra lobbyist. He was, according to the Canberra Times (13/12/12), sought out for the role by the Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, who is President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

After graduating from the Curtin University of Technology in Western Australia, with a Liberal Arts degree, majoring in politics, he taught in Catholic high schools for 11 years. He was then sent to the US, where he obtained a Master of Arts from the Loyola University Chicago.

Soon after returning to Australia, he took an overtly political position as chief of staff for the then Western Australian Labor health minister, Keith Wilson, for 3 years until 1990. He then moved into his first direct lobbying position in Canberra as CEO of the Australian health lobbyist group, Catholic Health Australia. He remained there for nearly 14 years.

Continuing in his Canberra health lobbyist role, he moved to the position of Secretary General of the Australian Medical Association (AMA). That takes him to his new role with the Catholic Church’s organisation, formed to “manage” the current royal commission.

Mr Sullivan’s CV speaks for itself. He is the Catholic Church’s government relations specialist with over 20 years’ experience under his belt, relating to federal politicians and public servants. Like Mr O’Keefe, the choice of Mr Sullivan shows how seriously the Catholic Church sees the threat of the royal commission fallout, including possible post-enquiry legislative changes.

TOMORROW: The Attorneys-General

That’s all I can say

Lewis Blayse (né Lewin Blazevich)

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