A Year On from the Whistleblowers of Newcastle Anglican Diocese Brave Appearance on ABC 730 Report.

Under edit Final Draft 260717 23:59 WST AU to be uploaded. (richie.js)

ANNE CONNOLLY: How have the other bishops in Australia reacted to your stance?

GREG THOMPSON: Other bishops are facing the same journey. I think some bishops are working with the royal commission in a way to deal with the history and to deal with the necessary culture change. Some are like the old culture, refusing to accept that this needs to be addressed. 

ANNE CONNOLLY: And how is that manifesting? 

GREG THOMPSON: Silence speaks a lot.

ANNE CONNOLLY: So you’re having a hard time of it?

MICHAEL ELLIOTT: If you step back and consider all that’s occurred, it’s disgraceful. It’s a sad reflection on the Church and the good people within the Church and there are good people within the Church who do good work. It’s devastating for them to understand what’s occurred.

ANNE CONNOLLY: These revelations will shock many in the Church, especially when they learn of the lengths the Church went to to protect its own.


One year this week 730 Report Ann Connelly, Michael Elliot Professional Standards Director Newcastle, John Cleary Diocesan Secretary and Greg Thompson Bishop went public to Australia finally breaking the silence on the damning evidence that was to come in Case Study Forty Two.

It was obvious that after the 730 Report aired that Herft would be deposed and even a small possibility charged under State Laws.


July 2016 ABC 730 Report Releases First and Second Nights Coverage of the Royal Commission Evidence.

ABC 730 Report

ABC 730 Report 2 “Whistleblowers”

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: The Anglican Church is in damage control after 7.30’s revelations last night about a paedophile network within its ranks. Tonight we hear from the victims, abused and betrayed by priests they trusted. 7.30 has uncovered evidence that senior clergy were warned about what was going on, but complaints about the ringleaders were buried. These revelations raised questions about the role of one of the nation’s most senior Anglicans, Perth Archbishop Roger Herft, who led the Newcastle Diocese for more than a decade. This exclusive report by Anne Connolly, and a warning: it contains disturbing material.

The Reports were Produced by Suzanne Smith Senior ABC Investigative Journalism Team 730. Ann Connelly was the Investigative Journalist.

The journey since then has been profound and traumatic for many of us. Some of us have been intimidated by Pro Denialist forces, some insiders within the institutions have been threatened and silenced. The dark clouds of Institutional power and control swirled with a heavy rear guard defence by Anti State Anti Royal Commission reactionaries. Herfts flawed defence required the protective screen he had established of the Loyalist elements surrounding him,.

Corporate spin doctored responses by the Senior Leaders of the Diocese of Perth have left a scorched earth policy, a broken structure, a massive loss of trust by Clergy and Laity

The general public has a shocked awareness of the scale of complicity within the Institutional Leadership.

Herft now is retired his legacy in ruins. Still, he fights on “to the last syllable of recorded time”

He will try to fight the Defrocking, the de-licensing, the removal of his photos.

The plaques that remain of his Ministry could be removed, torn down like the statues of a failed leadership in a war torn Nation or the statue of Ozymandias buried deep in the sands of time and memory. (1).

R Herft R Appelby A Holland I George I Newell K Slater will not be missed, neither will R Caddies and the other Newcastle Lawyers complicit,  or indeed Perth Diocesan Legal and Management Consultants XYZ and XXX if complicity is proved regarding flawed advice regarding the strategy of Herfts defence.

A defence bereft of compassion,  the constant refrain of ” I cannot recall” soon to be finally demolished by Final State Adverse Findings.

Gone too should be those loyalists appointed by Herft since 2010 when he was first alerted to an Investigation.?

These Senior Officers are people of undoubted gifts and talent If not gone then to be open transparent and Honest about the events from 2005 – 2017 and any possible facts that need to be addressed.

The process of Parish Recovery and ” Facing the Past Building a Healthy Future” must now be a priority.

Sources suggest Herft “appointed loyalists that would be likely to cover for him” who would defend his reputation even under the teeth of the evidence.

The shadow side of a failed Leader need not mean that the team he appointed are themselves caught in the Leaders shadow.

They too must now meditate  quietly and listen to the still small voices of their consciousnesses.

They need to be open honest and tell the Diocesan Investigators when appointed and any outside Auditor or State Based Investigation what they know.


Sermons and defences of R Herft should now cease.


The Administrator K Wilmotts apparent defences of Herft in Synod speeches Church Media and internally should now cease.

A possibility: Some misplaced  blind loyalty to her Church and Leader ? Trying to minimise deflect and defend the Institution to the extent of  blaming the Newcastle evidence on diabolical forces that have no relation to the situation in Perth. Sadly diabolical forces are less likely to be a factor than Institutional power cover up corruption avoidance dissembling and outright lies by some complicit Power Brokers.

In a Sermon to the Anglican Synod using her authority as a Senior Leader, she denies that anyone within the Institution in Perth is implicated by the evidence, minimising the evidence of the Diocese of Perth’s own flawed institutional response. ( at that time not Publically Investigated by a Case study but with many matters still under Investigation ) Also, the massive issue that Herfts actions in Newcastle would have by implication continued in the same pattern in Western Australia was not considered in this sermon.


The alternative to this is horrible to imagine. If one Greek word, “sunodos” means a meeting of the ways, there’s another one that means “that which throws apart” actually you know it – diabolos.
This is a real question for all of us. Will any of us allow criminal acts of real evil inflicted on the other side of the country be the first link in a chain that ultimately severs and maims our relationships with each other in this Diocese?
Are you or am I going to stand back and let diabolos take over? Are we going to allow after the dreadful harm of church abuse, collateral damage of the most grievous kind, the wrecking and mangling of relationships among people who are not implicated in any way?
I have to say to you – that I will not.

In her Synod Speech significantly at the end of her speech, she acknowledges Herft but fails to recognise the Survivors.

I want you to know of Archbishop Roger’s profound gratitude for your prayers ….. He is very determined that in these testing times the most important thing is that Christ is honoured. My hope is that we too will understand that this is our main purpose and calling.

. . . in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make a defence to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence. 1 Peter 3:15-16

Those interested in Theology will also note the possible ambiguous implications of the NT passage.

Internal sources report that in meetings with Staff she makes the following statement

Herft is a media target and a wanted “scalp” for the Royal Commission investigative team.”



It seems that The Administrator has not also taken the time to read the Evidence or the Transcript of the Newcastle Hearings. In another internal memo she does not give acknowledgment of the Royal Commission Preliminary Final Fin dings by Commission Council Naomi Sharpe but advises her staff  “to read Archbishop Rogers rebuttal”

She also appears to misunderstand the Legal process of Royal Commissions expecting that the Anglican Church should have been given ” notice ” of its findings” when case Study 42 Preliminary Hearings were released on 06 04 17.

The Royal Commission does not give notice to respondent Institutions of the release of findings for operational reasons of security Intelligence and to prevent International flight and extradition. Extradition treaties with Sri Lanka exist but can be cumbersome.

She stated in an internal memo

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Preliminary findings of the Royal Commission were released with no notice to us on 6 April. The response to any enquiry from church people, agencies or members of the community is that these findings are preliminary (not the Royal Commission’s final report). Everyone is urged to read Archbishop Roger’s rebuttal which is on the Royal
Commission website and to direct anyone who enquires of you to do the same.


No mention of reading the Royal Commissions Preliminary Final Findings by the Royal Commissions Senior Council Naomi Sharpe.

In another document, April 2017  The Administrator berates saying :


The Archbishop’s Office has been approached by the media regarding some of the debate ….. I find it hard to believe that one of our colleagues would have allowed the content of our discussion to be leaked to the media.

Of course if this had hypothetically taken place, the information, like that person’s integrity, would be much in doubt.


The contact  was to a Journalist in regards to Herfts opening of the New multi million dollar Church House in February 2017 at a private function excluding Media and Clergy. This occured behind closed doors as if in Public it woul;d have caused a Media storm as Herft had stated he was retired linking the retirement with his apolgy to the people of Newcastle and the Survivors .  ( see previous post ) It also allowed for a Plaque to be placed that used a Statute recomendation that circumvented Policy and Procedure in regard to memorialisation of those complicit in cover up of Abuse. This complete event has caused Laity and Clergy to question the integrity not only of Herft but the Leadership team that allowed this to occur. Its contempt for the public the survivors and families and the Royal Commissions aims was to this writer an unavoidable conclusion to draw. That the Leadership Team were unable to stand up to Herft on this matter calls into question the Anglicans Churches commitment to the aims of the Royal Commission and the need for radical change.


Herft Resignation ABC Coverage


In late June the Anglican ” House of Clergy” gathered in Margaret River a  Resort town South of the state capital Perth  and it was revealed that Legal fees for Herfts appearances at the Royal Commission were upwards of Five Hundred Thousand Dollars and that the insurance policy had been “voided”.

An implication became apparant that if Herft had resigned as expected he may then have not been able to require the Diocese of Perth to cover his legal costs.

West Australian Herft Legal Costs stun Perth Priests.


Archbishop Herft resigned from his position as Perth’s most senior Anglican after admitting he had let down survivors of sexual abuse during royal commission hearings into historical abuse at the Diocese of Newcastle.


Diocese of Perth Media Release.
Church House, Level 5, 3 Pier Street, PERTH GPO Box W2067, PERTH Western Australia 6846 T: (08) 9425 7200 F: (08) 9221 4118 E: reception@perth.anglican.org W: www.perth.anglican.org ABN 59 962 540 635
30 June 2017
At the 2017 Diocese of Perth Clergy School attendees were briefed on a number of subjects including the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the costs associated with supporting Archbishop Roger Herft to assist the Royal Commission’s enquiries in relation to Case Study 42.
The Diocese of Perth supported Archbishop Roger by meeting the legal expenses relating to him giving evidence over the extended period of these enquiries in the order of $474,000.
This level of expenditure is that which was required to engage experienced legal counsel to properly prepare for, represent and attend Royal Commission Hearings in both Newcastle and Sydney over 17 days of public hearings. The Diocese of Newcastle provided a contribution of $5000 towards the Archbishop’s legal costs of appearing at the Royal Commission in Case Study 42.
Diocesan leaders were working on the assumption that most of the legal expenses relating to preparing for, and attending, the various public hearings and preparing witness statements and other legal documents would be recovered through a claim on the Diocese of Newcastle’s insurers. Subsequent investigations (including legal advice from Senior Counsel) have concluded that such a claim is unlikely to be successful and, as such, will not be pursued.
The Diocesan Leadership approved the costs of the Archbishop’s legal representation and over the course of this matter were regularly briefed, in particular the Diocesan Budgeting Group, which includes members of Diocesan Council, and The Perth Diocesan Trustees supported and endorsed this expenditure. Diocesan Council at its 2 March 2017 meeting received the report and approved the budget recommendations which incorporated the expenditure relating to the Royal Commission.
Notwithstanding the significant expenses incurred by the Diocese in engaging legal counsel to represent the Archbishop in Case Study 42 at the Royal Commission the Diocesan budget has not been adversely affected as a result.
Whilst it was generally known and reported through the budget and financial reporting processes that significant funds were being spent to support Archbishop Roger at the Royal Commission, with hindsight the Diocese acknowledges that stronger governance regarding this support, by the passing of a specific resolution of the Diocesan Council and/or The Perth Diocesan Trustees, should have been applied.
The Annual Session of Synod in October will be briefed on this matter as part of the reporting process. As with all reports at Synod, members will have the opportunity to ask questions and speak to the reports.
Mr Keith Stephens Diocesan Secretary


The Diocese of Perth does not provide ongoing lifetime counselling for Survivors. 500k would have covered this cost for possibly three Financial years, The Royal Commission provides some coverage of costs for respondents

It could be seen that Herft displayed a callous indifference to his staff the Clergy and Laity by ” Blessing” a multi million dollar building behind closed doors to avoid media scrutiny. These are the machinations of a Leader bereft of compassion care or understanding.

The truth is that sometimes brave people stand up and allow the light to Shine…….


Without courageous whistleblowers like Michael Elliot John Cleary and Greg Thompson, the corruption of a Gospel of Light and hope would have been complete.



The “Diabolical” Meme.

When confronted in Perth in 2010 with an investigation and enquiries regarding Herfts knowledge of Child Abuse by Priests during his tenure as Leader of the Diocese of Newcastle Herft wrote the following. It has now been established that Herft knew far more about these cases than he stated in this letter.

The Most Reverend Roger Herft
Archbishop of Perth Anglican Church of Australia Diocese of PerthRef: 2880?221010?52
22 October 2010
By email
Please be assured of our prayers for you and the diocese and particularly for those who have been abused by the actions of Peter Rushton. It is an extremely distressing time given the role that Peter was in.
I inherited Peter as an Archdeacon and recall that at least on one occasion I sought to have his licence removed on the basis that he was found in possession of adult pornographic material. This was prior to the Faithfulness in Service document. I was seeking to discipline
This was prior to the Faithfulness in Service document. I was seeking to discipline
him on the grounds of conduct unbecoming of a clergyperson. He brought a lawyer with him and it became clear that if I had acted they would have taken the diocese and myself to court. Their defence was that it was something that he did in the privacy of his home and did not impact upon other people. As you can imagine I took a different position. Even though Inever viewed the material I reckoned it was something that impacted on the spiritual health of a priest.
All of these matters should be in the separate records kept concerning matters of conduct
unbecoming of clergy in the safe in the diocese. The material now forthcoming of abuse
against minors puts his offending in a category that can only be described as diabolical. The impact on those abused and their families is devastating.
Blessings and peace. Yours sincerely
Yours sincerely
The Most Reverend Roger Herft
( Note allegations have been made that Herft knew or suspected the material was Child Pornography but this evidence was subsequently destroyed by another Priest and that removalists who viewed the material may have been potentially …… Final Findings are likely to make no findings under Briginshaw Balance of Probabilities in regard to this) 

ANG.0050.001.1908 ( other titles edited out )

Sexually explicit material provided by N
Video tapes on canvas carry bag
The Young Olympians
Memories of Eighteen

Video tapes in plastic shopping bag

Preppy Summer


Rev Graeme LAWRENCE Investigations 

In letters from Investigator  Newcastle Professional Standards Director Michael Elliot writes to herft requesting information on Lawrence.

Exhibit STAT 0221:001:0023 ( On Public Record Royal Commision)

Elliot One

Herft replies but does not answer and berates the Investigator Michael Elliot for some perceived breach of Confidentiality.

STAT 0221.001.0024

Elliot 2

The exchange gets worse now as Herft deflects. and attempts to bully Michael Elliot.

The method you have adopted of forwarding me your correspondence through the Director of Professional Standards of the Diocese of Perth leaves me open for the matter to be placed before the Episcopal Standards Commission. The timing of your correspondence just prior to General Synod would have meant that if there was an election to any statutory body I would have been obliged to inform the General Secretary of the General Synod of your investigation and the implication of my involvement. This would have made me ineligible to be nominated to any position and could well have led to publicity that would have been damaging to my personal integrity and character. Thus, I presently consider the timing and the channelling of your correspondence through Perth’s Director of Professional Standards tobe a matter of deep concern requiring an explanation from you. I shall be grateful to receive a reply to this letter.

Elliot 3 1.png

Elliot 3.2

Michael Elliot stands up to Bishop Herfts bullying tactics.


elliot 4

Doc Missing … seems Herft demands copies of more documents to refresh his memory

Elliot demands an answer and no more dissembling

Elliot 5

Herft replies and attempts to bully and intimidate Investigator Michael Elliot and this letter has been shown in the transcript to be fallacious in a number of material ways. Final Findings will cover this but it is posted here to show the character of Herft and his attempts at bullying and intimidation of investigators. The four pages are detailed but note Herft denies knowledge and this is in transcript and Findings proved to be false. He had prior knowledge of events mentioned ( detail still sub-judice )

Herft Bully1

Herft Bully 2

Herft Bully 3

Herft Bully 4

In the High Church world of Herft, an Investigator is not one to be treated with courtesy and respect. Herfts tactics didn’t work, Michael Elliot continued investigations and was part of the Brave three whistleblowers who risked all to tell Australia and the Royal Commission the truth.



Thank you to those brave people within the Anglican Diocese of Perth who have shared their experiences and at risk to themselves chose to stand with the Survivors and their testimony. Their bravery strength and honour show us that Good Hearted Church people Clergy and laity will still stand up for the truth and refused to be silenced.

Compassion to all caught in the storm of the Royal Commission



  1. Percy Bysshe Shelley Ozymandias 
    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone 
    Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand, 
    Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown, 
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, 
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read 
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, 
    The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed; 
    And on the pedestal, these words appear: 
    My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; 
    Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! 
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay 
    Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare 
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.”











One of the nation’s most senior Anglicans, the Archbishop of Perth, Roger Herft, received complaints about a priest involved in a paedophile ring but allegedly…

1 Comment

  1. Fascinating words from the Administrator. When one’s culture is adversarial and punitive, where secrecy prevails and power and control are at best misused, it is little wonder that the truly brave and those who truly possess integrity will NOT allow the misuse of earthly power to prevail but must themselves act below the radar. Doing so is not a sign of lack of integrity; rather, it is a wise action when the known alternative is ruthless and indeed diabolical.
    Let the Anglican Diocese of Perth and all who slavishly follow its leadership Repent and Return to God.


Comments are closed.