CS 52 Anglican Systemic: “So why is it that culture, factionalism and politics is overriding the needs of children and survivors?”

The Commission starts asking the hard questions.

Rev Dr Kaye Anglican Church Australia under examination.

CS 52 Cross Examination Panel Day One CS 52.

COMMISSIONER FITZGERALD: Can I just ask a question: it
11 would seem to the outside world – outside of your church
12 and Catholic churches – that an impetus is still needed,
13 notwithstanding the acceptance by the church of its failure
14 in relation to child protection. The numbers of victims,
15 the numbers of perpetrators, the story of cover-up is
16 compelling.
17
18 The Australian people surely would be rather concerned
19 or frustrated that such an august institution requires
20 further impetus to actually deal with something that it
21 itself recognises as a profound failure. So why is it that
22 the culture is winning out over the needs of children and
23 victims? How could it possibly be that a church that
24 acknowledges the damage that has been done is resistant to
25 achieving the most modest of requirements and standards?
26 That would be a very hard thing for Australians to accept,
27 given the evidence that has been available to this
28 Commission. So why is it that culture, factionalism and
29 politics is overriding the needs of children and survivors?
30
31 REVEREND DR KAYE: Thank you. I agree entirely with the
32 point that you are making, but I suppose I am trying to
33 address in my mind the question how practically can we make
34 some kinds of changes and begin to shift the thing. It
35 seems to me pushing the whole cart, I agree that it ought
36 to be possible to do it and it is a great failure on the
37 part of the church, but, quite frankly, at this level the
38 constitution is non-functional, and chipping away and
39 making beachheads into that culture is more likely to shift
40 it than otherwise. I’m entirely sympathetic to your
41 comment, I’m just trying to be practical.
42
43 COMMISSIONER MURRAY: That implies that the external
44 impulse would have to be the state saying, “You either get
45 your act together or we’re going to make you”, doesn’t it?
46
47 REVEREND DR KAYE: Well, if I may speak as an Australian
1 citizen, I don’t think there is anything wrong with it.
2
3 THE CHAIR: The state could intervene by changing the
4 money regime in relation to the church, couldn’t it? The
5 church is the beneficiary in a variety of ways of financial
6 concessions. The state could intervene by saying, “You
7 don’t get those unless you get your house in order”. Would
8 that work?
9
10 REVEREND DR KAYE: I think I said I’m not a lawyer.
11
12 THE CHAIR: I didn’t ask for a legal opinion, but would it
13 have the effect of moving people’s minds?
14
15 REVEREND DR KAYE: I would hope so, but I’m not – I mean,
16 I think that is one thing which ought to be considered.
17 I do. I think this is a serious problem which the church
18 has not been able to properly grapple with.
19
20 THE CHAIR: As you know, we have described what we have
21 now seen as a whole-of-community failure, not just the
22 Anglican Church, it’s many other institutions as well, to
23 which maybe there needs to be a whole-of-community
24 response, and maybe one needs to think that unless
25 institutions do perform and put their house in order, then
26 the community needs to respond for them.
27
28 REVEREND DR KAYE: As a citizen, I couldn’t agree more.

 

.17/03/2017 (260) 26674 PANEL 1.1
Transcript produced by DTI