Sir Anand Satyanand offered to withdraw as head of the country’s largest ever state inquiry amid worries about a perceived conflict of interest because of his Catholic faith.
Documents obtained by Stuff show Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin rejected the former Governor General’s offer, instead asking him for a plan to combat any risk to the integrity of the Royal Commission into Historical Abuse in State Care and Care in Faith-Based Institutions.
Child abuse survivors are calling for Satyanand’s resignation offer to be accepted. They say his position risks tainting the inquiry’s credibility – already mired in setbacks.
This is pathetic prejudice. Just as one shouldn’t treat all Muslims the same, it is also bigoted to treat all Catholics the same.
To suggest that someone can’t preside over the Royal Commission because they are Catholic, and some of the abuse happened in Catholic institutions, is nuts. This is defining someone’s entire being, on the basis of their religion.
Sure if Sir Anand had been a member of the clergy or a high official in the church, there might be a conflict. But merely being a Catholic is not a conflict.
Network of Survivors of Abuse in Faith-Based Institutions spokeswoman Liz Tonks said the group had doubts about Satyanand, and any other Catholic commissioner, to be “dispassionate and unbiased”.
Which is sheer prejudice. It is saying that they believe Satyanand’s religion outweighs everything else and he is incapable of being unbiased. This is a man who was a Judge for 13 years, am Ombudsman for 10 years and Governor-General for five years. But because he is also Catholic that counts for nothing it seems.