Opinion Survivors and friends Closed Group 02 02 17 Historical ( Final Edit )
Background: After CS 3 Bp Keith Slater although resigned and unlicensed was Defrocked under Professional Standards Statutes 2004 by the Diocese of Grafton in 2015 based on the evidence from Final Findings of the Royal Commissions Case Study Three.
Mr Slater then appealed the decision to the Australian Anglican Appellate Board. The appellate Board upheld Mr Slater’s appeal due to difficulties in the Statute which seemed to indicate that the Statute although written that it held jurisdiction (?) over “Church Workers” did not hold jurisdiction over Retired Bishops.
Therefore even if the decision was correct the Board in Grafton constituted by Bp Sarah McNeil (sp) did not have the power to take action and have a hearing to depose or discipline a Retired Bishop.
This then meant that the action taken was voided and technically Mr Slater could become the Right Reverend again.
Interestingly this decision has affected other Diocese’s across Australia currently so that no retired Bishop can be disciplined in regard to actions taken during their episcopate.
This was written in February a few days after the decision was announced that got widespread media coverage
.It was in my view retraumatizing to the Survivors who bravely advocated for this action to be commenced along with their supporters within the Diocese.
Anglican Church Appellate decision link.
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse Final Findings Case Study Three North Coast Children’s Home. Anglican Diocese of Grafton.
Title: Was it worth it?
Timeline post Appellate Decision.
To work in any Diocese in Australia, you must be licensed by the Bishop.
In the Appellate Decision, some recommendations are made regarding the National Register.It looks like unless the National Register can somehow circumvent the Appellate Decision by referring directly to the State Findings the ACA is required by Canon Law to uphold the decision. I cannot find an appeal avenue to the Appellant Courts decision but am not a Canon Lawyer.
If you are listed on the national register you cannot gain a license so in order for the Appellate action to succeed it required that Keith Slater’s name is removed from the National register as well. I thought that this may have been grounds for appeal but it seems that this action has resulted in his name no longer being indicated on the Register.
For an outsider and I think to the general secular world this action was inexplicable,especially when Grafton had stated that the Tribunals decision was final and unappealable.
(Note the National Register is for Church Workers who have adverse Criminal or Adverse Internal Professional standards findings.)
(update 20 04 17)
It is important to note that the Appellate decision made no findings on the actual evidence of the Diocese of Grafton’s action under Professional Standards Canon 2004 beyond that of a lack of Jurisdiction.
I am no Canon Lawyer and am looking to research further and explain in summary a complex legal argument.
We now await September for Uniform National Standards. The Royal Commission has indicated to the Anglican Church Australia in the strongest possible Terms, that if these standards are not legislated into National Canon law then the State may intervene with punitive measures such as loss of taxation exemption status. This could be seen as a historical moment in the legislative history of the Commonwealth if the Government sitting at the time of Final Findings chooses to act.
The implications beyond this one case have implications for many Institutions across Australia.
(end update )
Below text as per 020217.
If it is impossible to block the decision via the National Register Canon by referring to the State decision then technically Keith Slater could apply to a Bishop for a license.
Should any Diocese grant a license to Keith Slater?
The evidence in CS3 in my view was overwhelming. It showed a lack of compassion and empathy towards a group of Forgotten Australians. This was retraumatizing showed ” callous disregard” for their needs of redress and reconciliation. The Final Findings of CS3 can support this view.
It seems that if Keith Slater did apply for a license the granting of licenses remains up to a Bishop’s discretionary power.
So this may be in a sense a pyrrhic victory for the former Bishop.
What are the National Leadership Team likely to do? +Sarah will consult widely and most likely among the Chancellors and Canon Lawyers for opinions of the way forward.
The Royal Commission hearings open again in March for Case Study 52.
The case study includes
• the responses of Anglican Church authorities in Australia to relevant case study report(s) and other Royal Commission reports;
Certainly what is vital is the relationship the Diocese has with the Adult Children from the NC Children’s Home and their journey of healing and redress.
However, it is likely that the RC will discuss the Keith Slater Appellate decision.
I wonder if Keith Slater may deeply meditate on the matter. He does have a group of supporters and other people who may still admire his ministry in other areas.
How do the needs of Justice create a win-win situation in this case?
Indeed Team Keith Slater his supporters and family will be relieved. But in the long journey of change transformation and renewal does the culture of “Holy Orders” transcend the needs of the Forgotten Australian children who suffered at the North Coast Children’s Home over decades?
I believe that some of the reasons behind this appeal may link to theological issues. If Mr Slater could make a theological leap, he may find that a quiet life as Mr is “just as good” as a retired life as the Right Reverend.
The costs of his appeal regarding the traumatisation of Survivors across the country, the financial costs, the time that people have to spend in considering these issues not to mention the “acres of ink” spilt in writing on the subject, leaves the question hanging
“Was it worth it?”
compassion to all caught in the storm of the Royal Commission