SIX sexual-abuse survivor groups are demanding that a former Australian Governor-General, the Rt Revd Dr Peter Hollingworth, be stripped of his taxpayer-funded pension and entitlements. The groups have written an open letter to the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, saying that his continued receipt of the funds was “shameful”.
Dr Hollingworth resigned as Governor-General in 2003 after two years in the post, after criticism of his handling of sexual-abuse allegations against clergy and school staff when he was Archbishop of Brisbane from 1990 to 2001. He receives an annual pension of $AU357,732, besides funding for travel and office requirements.
The letter comes after recent demands that he be stripped of permission-to-officiate in the diocese of Melbourne, where he lives in retirement.
Dr Hollingworth’s lawyer has responded that Dr Hollingworth had, on many occasions, conceded “that his handling of allegations of child abuse was not optimal”. He had “apologised on multiple occasions”.
On Monday, the Prime Minister delivered a national apology to victims of child sex abuse. He said in an emotional address to parliament: “Today, we finally acknowledge and confront the lost screams of our children. We must be so humble to fall before those who were forsaken and beg to them our apology.”
A national inquiry into child sex abuse, which concluded in December, has gathered more than 8000 testimonies from survivors concerning abuse in organisations including churches, schools, and sports clubs.