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  • Writer's picturePete Jonson

Saturday Sanity Break, 2 March 2019 - Was it a fair trial?….

Tremendous contributions in today’s Australian. In one of his all time best articles, Paul Kelly questions Cardinal Pell’s conviction. He asks: ‘Was George Pell a scapegoat for wider concern about the Catholic Church?’ Kelly’s answer to the specific charges Pell was tried for is plain and simple: ‘The implausibility of the evidence raises serious doubts.’

I must agree. And I also agree with Kelly that: ‘Pell cannot escape responsibility for the failures of the church but the sustained visceral hostility towards Pell transcends institutional accountability. The vile hatred towards him is worse than displayed towards a serial killer. Veteran lawyers said privately they had never seen anything like it in their careers. …

And: ‘In this cathartic moment there are two principles to be remembered. Pell was not on trial for the evils of the church; he was not on trial for the betrayal of young children by priests; he was not on trial for any defects in his own ­response to child sexual abuse. He could not be on trial for any of these things. He was on trial only for the specific charges he faced and the accusation he was a sexual predator. The question for justice is obvious: Did Pell get a fair trial? The implausibility of the evidence raises serious doubts.’

Read on here. As well as Paul Kelly’s well argued words, there are quotes from Frank Brennan, a catholic priest not of George Pell’s part of the church. And from John Silvester from The Age, a suprising place for such a clear-headed set of opinions.

The second great contribution this weekend is from Greg Sheridan, on Australia’s ability to defend itself from military attack, or even mere harassment. In summary: ‘As threats mount, we must start taking defence seriously.’

Sheridan’s summary of our national defence effort is as follows: ‘We know what to do if we want to defend ourselves. We could ­easily afford it. We have decided not to do it. We are a land of lotus eaters, loitering in paradise, unaware of everything that is happening around us.’

Read Sheridan’s full article here.

In my view, a similar judgment applies to our national economic policy. More on this in a week or two

The latest political news is the retirement of Steve Chiobo, Minister for defence equipment and Christopher Pyne, Minister for Defence. Brigadier Linda Reynolds will be a fine replacement, but she has a lot to do to catch Australia up to an effective defence force for regional warfare, if necessary without US assistance.


What a double act! Fiona Prior visits Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I in Sydney Theatre Company’s ‘Mary Stuart’. More here.

Ita Buttrose is new ABC Chair, and we wish her well.

Sporting life

Boy, oh, boy, Caaaarlton! beats Essendon in a practice match. Six or so recruits play starring or merely good roles. New rules speed up the game and the Blues players seem to like them.

Soon the former Cricket captain and vice captain will be eligible to play and apparently will be hurried into the team. Obviously correct, but it is a bit of a disappointment for several new test players who have gradually built confidence and performance. If Glen Maxwell is not in the red ball squad, I shall lose all interest in Aussie cricket.

Australian gals keep on doing well. AFLW matches have been well conducted, with North Melbourne looking the likely premiers. Please AFL power brokers, extend their season and put AFLW games on before the men’s games. (Will women agree only if the men’s game is on first?)

New coach of women’s soccer has a new captain, the wonderful Sam Kerr, and first game 2-0 win. Women’s Rugby seems to be flourishing. AFLW look better (referring only to skill levels, please understand) as each week unfolds.

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