Independent Senator Nick Xenophon used parliamentary privilege in September to circumvent the law and name the Catholic priest, Monsignor Ian Dempsey, at the centre of a sexual abuse allegation. The allegation came from Anglican Archbishop John Hepworth who claimed he had been abused by Mr Dempsey decades previously. It was not an allegation of child abuse. But a three month investigation by the Catholic Church found there was no ‘undue delay’ in its investigation and cleared Monsignor Dempsey. Xenophon called the investigation a ‘joke’ because Mr Hepworth was not interviewed.
It’s not the end of the world like some would have you believe, but there’s no denying a few school-leavers go overboard every year. That’s to say nothing of the unavoidable tragedies like the one that befell Jake Flannery who was electrocuted by a pole that had become ‘live’ after a fault. But psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg has said more generally booze is not the school-leaver’s best friend and congratulated some (private) schools who had a ‘drink and don’t graduate’ rule. And what about alternatives to the week-long adventures, typically on the Gold Coast in Queensland, that Schoolies set out on? Dr Carr-Gregg says schools should give students incentives to do other things, like travel or meet up in quieter locations with smaller groups of friends. Do you remember your Schoolies? Did you go? What about your kids, if you have them?
Singer Charlotte Church waived a $160,000 fee to sing at Rupert Murdoch’s wedding in exchange for ‘favourable coverage’ when she was 13. She said the strategy failed and they had since gone on to be some of the ‘worst offenders’ in reporting her stardom. In one instance a clock on The Sun’s website was counting down to her ‘legal’ age of 16, a reference to when the singer would be able to have sex. Other celebrities have taken to the stand at the Leveson Inquiry. JK Rowling told of opening her five-year-old daughter’s school bag to find a note from a reporter inside. Sienna Miller told of being spat at by paparazzi to provoke a reaction they could film. There were those ‘everyday’ citizens affected too, including the family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler who spoke of the agony of thinking their daughter was alive due to checked phone messages, later finding out her phone had been hacked.