Opinion: Royal Commission …

Courier Mail

Opinion: Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse shows men of God failed to act


“That’s not the Pat Comben I knew,” said a former ministerial staffer and current political tragic over a beer last week.

Nor was it the Pat Comben I knew as my former member of parliament, a former cabinet minister, a late-ordained Anglican minister, and neighbourhood acquaintance.

This was a man against whom few had ill to say, whose table was invariably a gathering of good and interesting people, who frequently filled his ministerial limo with strangers on the way to the office and by all accounts was a more than competent minister.

We were discussing allegations levelled by former workmate Tommy Campion, who accused Comben of duplicity and betrayal in what have been called “cruel and inappropriate” church responses to claims of abuse at the North Coast Children’s Home at Lismore.

We were discussing Comben’s appearance before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse during which he made the bewildering claim that he had “no idea” why he did not report serious allegations of abuse to police.

The commission was told that Comben had driven the hard line the diocese took in dealing with requests for compensation and apologies for people who suffered in the home.

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