Anglican Primate says he had limited powers to intervene in child abuse cases in Grafton


MARK COLVIN: The final day of the Royal Commission’s public inquiry on child abuse at the New South Wales North Coast Children’s Home has heard from Australia’s most senior Anglican cleric, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall.

The inquiry has wound up its examination of the Grafton Diocese and how it responded to compensation claims from dozens of abuse survivors from the children’s home in Lismore.

The Grafton Diocese spent years denying that it was responsible for the orphanage, but now says it’s re-opening all the files to make sure victims have been adequately compensated.

Today the Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Dr Aspinall, told the inquiry that the Grafton Diocese had focused on its own finances to the detriment of the abuse victims. But he said he had little power to intervene.

Emily Bourke reports.

EMILY BOURKE: The Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Phillip Aspinall, is the most senior religious leader to come before the Royal Commission.

PHILLIP ASPINALL: If I might use a commercial analogy: if people think that the Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia is the CEO of Australia’s Anglicans, then nothing could be further from the truth. The Primate has very, very limited powers.

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