Why the Delay? (Or: We’ll Let You Know – Sometime)


The next hearings of the Australian royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, focusing on four Salvation Army Boys’ Homes (Riverview, Bexley,  Gill Memorial Boys’ Home and Alkira), is due to start in a week. In fact there are only 3 more working days left, due to the Australia Day holiday (Australia’s National Day) long week-end. Two of those days will be taken up anyway.

The Wednesday hearing is being held to give the YMCA another chance to argue against the royal commission’s recommendation that it consider firing its CEO, and referring another employee for prosecution for giving misleading evidence to the commission.

The Thursday hearing will revisit the previous “Towards Healing” session on the Catholic Church’s handling of victims complaints. The Catholic Church gets another bite at the cherry on the findings relating to it.

For the past four hearings, or “case studies” as the royal commission calls them, there has been about two weeks given for people to scrutinize the formal submissions to it from the relevant organizations, and interested parties.

It has also, previously, released the witness list, and order of appearance, about 10-11 days before hearings commence. This is necessary for people to analyse submissions. In the past, this blog has done this. It also gives the media some time to research the witnesses, and make appropriate comments about who is appearing and who is not appearing.

For reasons known only to Mr. McClellan and Counsel Assisting, Gail “Snow White” Furness, this is not being done this time. One can validly ask why, but the media has not picked up on it so far, and there has been no, public, comment from any of the lawyers involved.

While the author has been formally refused permission to appear or enter a submission by Mr. McClellan, it does not become really official until the formal witness list is published by the royal commission on its web-site.

From comments on Salvation Army web-sites, they seem to know who from that organisation will be appearing. What else do they know? Is the Salvation Army gaining some privileged position in this hearing?

This question is necessary because it is to their great advantage for the public not to have much warning of who is to appear, and more importantly, who is not to appear. It is not known if other prominent activists and victims (e.g., Wally McLeod and Barry Maslen, who were also both at Alkira with the author) have been granted leave to appear.

Finally, Mr. McClellan, why are you keeping the details of this hearing so close to your chest, and when will you finally deign to let us in on the secret of who is appearing, and what submission the Salvation Army has presented?

(Note: The author has decided to forego a planned protest until the Salvation Army hearing is completed so as not to detract from the coverage of the accounts of any victims who have been given leave to appear.)

[Postscript: The Chief Commissioner of the Royal Commission, Peter McClellan, continues to refuse permission for the author to give evidence, or present a submission, at the up-coming hearings on abuses at the Salvation Army’s Indooroopilly Boys’ Home (“Alkira”) where the author once lived. The Salvation Army has been given such permission.]

TOMORROW: The YMCA gets another chance

That’s all I can say

Lewis Blayse (né Lewin Blazevich)


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