SF Lyons

Pastoral Counselling

In politics on October 1, 2004 at 12:00 pm

SOLID. FUCKING. GOLD.

From the end of an interview on Lateline last night:

TONY JONES: Tony Abbott, on another matter, have you met Archbishop Pell during the election campaign?

TONY ABBOTT: Not that I can recall.

TONY JONES: Not that you can recall, because we believe that you’ve had at least one meeting with him quite recently? You don’t recall that?

TONY ABBOTT: Well, when? Where?

TONY JONES: At the presbytery in Sydney.

TONY ABBOTT: Ah, actually now that you do mention it, I did met with Cardinal Pell. So what? Why shouldn’t I meet with Cardinal Pell?

TONY JONES: Why couldn’t you recall meeting him, I think, 10 days ago?

TONY ABBOTT: Look, whenever it was, so what? Why shouldn’t I meet Cardinal Pell. Cardinal Pell is a fine man. He made a very good statement the other day about the Labor Party’s policy, why shouldn’t I meet with him?

TONY JONES: Well, the reason we’re asking about this, obviously, because your behind-the-scenes activities in the ’98 election were quite renowned and I’m wondering is there any possibility that in your discussions with Cardinal Pell which you couldn’t recall a moment ago – in those discussions did you actually bring up the issue of private schools?

TONY ABBOTT: Nup.

TONY JONES: Not at all?

TONY ABBOTT: Nup.

TONY JONES: What issues were discussed?

TONY ABBOTT: Well, Tony, I may well have been going to confession to Cardinal Pell, I may well have been seeking pastoral counselling from Cardinal Pell. What’s so sinister about that? Cardinal Pell is one of the greatest churchmen that Australia has seen. I am a very imperfect Catholic. Why shouldn’t I go and seek counsel? Why shouldn’t I go and trespass on the time occasionally of someone like Cardinal Pell. If you spent more time with Cardinal Pell, your life might be more interesting.

TONY JONES: I haven’t spent any time at all with Cardinal Pell as it turns out, but that’s beside the point. You’re a political operative and the question is not whether he gave you counselling but whether you gave him counselling because only a short time after your visit out came this letter signed by two Archbishops condemning Labor’s education policy?

TONY ABBOTT: So you think that I put words into the mouth not only of Cardinal Pell but of Archbishop Jensen?

TONY JONES: I’m simply asking whether that was a matter of your conversations which a moment ago you didn’t recall?

TONY ABBOTT: That’s a bizarre suggestion.

TONY JONES: Tony Abbott, we’ll have to leave it there, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

TONY ABBOTT: Thanks.

The look Abbott gave Jones at that point I guess you could call “Blue Steel with daggers.” It was hard to tell, looking up from the floor through tears of laughter.

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