Tony Abbott on Lateline in 2004. Picture: ABC


As Australia absorbs the horrendous information that its most well known church chief, Cardinal George Pell, is a baby sexual intercourse abuser, previous primary minister Tony Abbott need to arrive to conditions with the many years he invested praising the male.

When law enforcement introduced they were being laying legal fees towards Pell in 2017, Mr Abbott selected his words and phrases thoroughly.

“Obviously, the authorized approach need to now get its training course, but the George Pell I have identified is a extremely good male without a doubt,” he stated.

But his earlier general public reviews about Pell were being significantly less careful.


George Pell outside court. Picture: AFP

George Pell outside the house courtroom. Photograph: AFPSupply:AFP

The most well known illustration, which is absolutely sure to resurface right now, was an job interview with the ABC’s Lateline plan in 2004, when Mr Abbott was the Howard government’s wellbeing minister.

The job interview revolved all over a assembly among Mr Abbott and Pell — 1 the potential primary minister to begin with claimed not to recall.

“Have you achieved Archbishop Pell in the course of the election marketing campaign?” host Tony Jones questioned.

“Not that I can remember,” Mr Abbott responded.

“Not that you can remember? Due to the fact we imagine that you have experienced at minimum 1 assembly with him. Rather lately. You really do not remember that?” Jones stated.

“When? Exactly where?” Mr Abbott questioned.

“At the presbytery in Sydney,” Jones replied.

Mr Abbott promptly shifted to praising Pell, declaring the assembly was no huge offer.

“Actually now that you point out it, I did satisfy with Cardinal Pell. So what? Why should not I satisfy with Cardinal Pell?” Mr Abbott stated.

“Cardinal Pell is a good male. He manufactured a extremely great assertion the other working day about the Labor Party’s schooling coverage. Why should not I satisfy with him?”

Jones spelled out that Pell experienced launched that assertion, which was politically useful for the federal government, soon following his assembly with Mr Abbott. He questioned no matter whether the pair experienced talked over schooling coverage.

“Nup,” was Mr Abbott’s concise reply.

“So what concerns were being talked over?” Jones pressed.

“Tony, I may possibly effectively have been heading to confession to Cardinal Pell. I may possibly effectively have been in search of pastoral counselling from Cardinal Pell. What is so sinister about that?” Mr Abbott responded.

“Cardinal Pell is 1 of the biggest churchmen that Australia has observed. I am a extremely imperfect Catholic. Why should not I go and look for counsel? Why should not I go and trespass on the time, sometimes of a person like Cardinal Pell?

“Perhaps if you invested additional time with Cardinal Pell, your daily life could be additional intriguing and additional edifying.”

Tony Abbott on Lateline in 2004. Picture: ABC

Tony Abbott on Lateline in 2004. Photograph: ABCSupply:ABC

Soon following starting to be primary minister in 2013, Mr Abbott defended Pell from the conclusions of the Victorian parliament’s inquiry into spiritual organisations’ managing of baby sexual intercourse abuse, which were being hugely vital of Pell’s perspective.

“As is rather effectively identified, I have a great deal of time for George Pell. Does that suggest that he’s excellent? No. Does that suggest he does not bear some duty for the mistakes of the church? Of training course not,” Mr Abbott informed 3AW radio.

“The only point I’d say is that my comprehending is that the initial senior cleric who took this challenge extremely severely was, in truth, Cardinal Pell.

“I did not see his proof prior to the committee and I have not examine the report. He is, in my judgment, a good human getting and a wonderful churchman. Is he excellent, has he managed just about every challenge properly? Of training course not.

“All I know is he has by reputation been the initial senior clergyman in Australia to get this challenge severely.” has approached Mr Abbott’s workplace for remark.

Pell has been found guilty of raping 1 13-12 months-outdated choirboy and molesting yet another in Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral 22 many years in the past.

A jury shipped the responsible verdict on December 11, but the final result could not be claimed until finally right now owing to a suppression purchase.

As he remaining courtroom this early morning, Pell was accosted by associates of the general public.

“You’re a monster. May possibly you rot in hell,” 1 of them shouted.

Pell has appealed the verdict.

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