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Cardinal and Prime Minister

By Everald Compton - posted Monday, 10 July 2017

Neither George Pell nor Malcolm Turnbull are experiencing happy days at the moment.

The Cardinal faces trial in a Victorian Court over significant matters relating to child abuse that are alleged to have occurred over several decades.

The Prime Minister leads a political party that is about to implode as conservatives and moderates fight an irreparable ideological battle in which he is accused of ratting on both sides.


They are the architects of their own demise.

Irrespective of their guilt or innocence, both are at the end of their days of power.

Although they have followed quite different career paths, there are striking similarities in their journey through life.

Both got a good start in life and were able to commence their illustrious careers with a solid education behind them. Significantly, they displayed a high level of leadership potential early in life.

Pell decided to become a priest and, from the very first day of his vocation, he set himself the goal of reaching the top. He planned to become the very first Australian to be elected as Pope and he moved unerringly along that pathway.

His lack of involvement in handling the awful disease of child abuse was not a callous disregard for humanity. He simply saw it as an obstacle to his progress to the Vatican, so he spent an enormous amount of time avoiding any involvement in solving the disgraceful crimes that were committed by people close to him. He deliberately stayed aloof. In doing so, he alienated many of his fellow priests who now deliberately avoid supporting him in his hour of need.


Turnbull did well in business, very well indeed, and earned a high public profile in the process. But, his fascination was politics and he set out to become Prime Minister, He believed that he was born for the role.

On being elected to Parliament, he had a chequered pathway, never gaining consistent popularity either with his fellow MP's or voters. But, he did get to the top, whereas Pell didn't quite make it. He got to the second top rung of the Vatican.

Even so, Turnbull got there by selling his soul to the conservatives in the Liberal Party in order to get their votes, without realising that this put him on the wrong side of the majority of voters in Australia who reject fundamentalism in any form. It almost cost him his job, surviving with a slender majority of one seat and a hideously divided Party.

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About the Author

Everald Compton is Chairman of The Longevity Forum, a not for profit entity which is implementing The Blueprint for an Ageing Australia. He was a Founding Director of National Seniors Australia and served as its Chairman for 25 years. Subsequently , he was Chairman for three years of the Federal Government's Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing.

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