Enright is wrong

Poring over court reports, as Gadfly does during a wet week, we discover proceedings starring journalist David Marr.

It seems Marr enjoyed a victory in the New South Wales Supreme Court, which a week ago confirmed his role in the estate of his old friend the late playwright Nick Enright, who appointed the esteemed writer, raconteur and flâneur as his “literary executor”.

The author of works such as On the Wallaby, Blackrock and the stage adaptation of Cloudstreet died in March 2003 and by his will dated five days before his death he also appointed his brother Ian Enright as executor and trustee.

Justice Nigel Rein remarked early on that he was looking forward to a revival of The Venetian Twins, in which the testator wrote the words and Terence Clarke the music.

The issue the living Enright sought to have determined was whether “my literary executor” meant the same thing as “executor of my literary estate”. Such is the thin slice of meaning on which mighty things turn, and the upshot at this point is that Ian has failed to get rid of Marr as literary executor of the copyrighted works and intellectual property of Nick Enright.

The literary beneficiaries are the National Institute of Dramatic Art and the Actors Benevolent Fund of NSW, and nearly 15 years after Enright’s death they must be tickled pink that things have taken a mighty inch forward. However, it will take many years at this rate, after the legal costs of silks and major law shops have been met before they see more of the royalties.


Unholy cover-ups

The royal commission into child sexual abuse released two reports this week about the conduct of the Roman Catholic Church in Melbourne and Ballarat.

The findings are enough to make you weep. The royal commission found that former Melbourne archbishop Frank Little covered up numerous allegations of serious sexual abuse of children by priests and failed to report them to the police.

In particular, he protected a monstrous individual named Father Peter Searson who, among other things, conducted sex education classes with children in his bedroom, raped a young woman, threatened a young girl with a knife, pointed a gun at children and made sexual advances to a child in the confessional.

This qualified him to be appointed by Archbishop Little as a parish priest at Doveton, where he remained until 1997, at which point he was placed on “administrative leave” by then Archbishop George Pell.

We await a proper interpretation of these findings by Gollum Henderson in The Catholic Boys Daily.

The Melbourne report is redacted and the word “Pell” rarely appears. The commissioners explain that their terms of reference do not permit them to “prejudice current or future criminal proceedings … It is expected that an unredacted version of the report will be tabled and published at a later date”.

There is an extensive lockdown of details and the nature of the criminal charges against Pell are not available for publication. His various trials, which may stretch back to back until 2022, will no doubt be accompanied by myriad non-publication orders.


Acute casting

Filming already is under way in the Blue Mountains of the film Acute Misfortune.

The screenplay has been co-written by Erik Jensen, the editor of this newspaper – who regrets that this item is being written – and is based on the book by Jensen dealing with the life and death of the artist Adam Cullen.

Jensen lived for a time in Cullen’s spare room on the promise of a book deal that at the time didn’t exist. It was a searing experience, with the author variously being shot in the leg by Cullen and thrown off the artist’s motorbike at high speed.

Daniel Henshall plays Cullen, but the difficult task was to find an actor who could play Jensen – someone sufficiently remote, enigmatic, intense, a bit manic.

As it happens, someone entirely unsuitable has been cast in the role – an incredibly handsome young actor named Toby Wallace, with a full head of hair. Wallace has been doing the rounds of Jensen’s friends to find out as much about the author-editor as possible.


Liberal rewriting of history

Can you believe it? PM Trumble assured us it was the bravery of the Nasty Party that delivered same-sex marriage in Australia. Without the “Liberals” we’d still be in the dark ages.

Gollum Henderson even wrote in the Daily that Tony Abbott is the father of same-sex marriage because it was his brainwave to have a plebiscite, which turned into a postal survey.

Gollum said this enabled the people to decide, rather than the politicians. Of course, well before the plebiscite was mooted the polls showed the people had decided and that Abbott’s strategy really was to drown the issue in a public crucifixion of gays and drivel about political correctness.

It was Little Winston Howard, with Labor support, who dreamt up the amendment to the Marriage Act that set equality back decades. Without the amendment, as the High Court found, same-sex marriage would have been possible under the pre-amended version of the legislation. There would have been no need for a postal survey, for a parliamentary vote, or chest-beating by Trumble.

Thanks Nasties. As The Dotard says: “People will just believe you. You just tell them and they believe you.”

Pollies in firing line

Thursday evening saw a lively discussion in Melbourne of submissions to the International Criminal Court to put Australian political leaders in the dock charged with crimes against humanity.

There are five sets of submissions to the ICC, including from Stanford Law School and Australian and British lawyers.

One such submission names every Australian prime minister and immigration minister since 2002 as well as Mr Baron Waqa, the current Nauruan president and minister for foreign affairs. Other requests are made against Bookshelves Brandis, Michaelia Cash, Julie Bishop and Defence Force officials David Hurley and Angus Campbell.

The alleged offences are deportation or forcible transfer of people; imprisonment and deprivation of liberty; torture; persecution; breaches of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Refugee Convention, and other inhumane acts – mostly relating to confinement in Australian-controlled immigration detentions centres for more than four years..

A total of 28 international lawyers and academics and 57 community groups are associated with the submissions.

At this stage they are asking the ICC prosecutor to begin an investigation with a view to prosecutions against those who have masterminded and implemented this policy of human destruction.


Trumpette # 51

It has been another top week for Barking Dog. The parade of achievements never stops:

His endorsement of alleged paedophile Roy Moore; opening up wilderness and public land for development; taking a leaf out of JamesSprog” Paterson’s book and announcing the US will recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; graciously stepping aside from Time magazine’s Person of the Year to give the cover to the #MeToo movement; Billy Bush confirming it is not only Mad Dog’s voice on the “pussy-grabbing tape” but the grabber actually said it; and sailing tax cuts for the rich through congress.

He also sent his solicitor-general down to the Supreme Court to argue that Colorado baker Jack Phillips should not have to make cakes for gays. This got quite complicated. Phillips is only concerned about selling his custom-made cakes to gay couples. If they were ready-made there would be no problem with homosexuals eating them. Memories of John Hewson’s GST cake come flooding back.

Some of the judges asked whether tailors, hair stylists, make-up artists, chefs and architects could also refuse services. Phillips’ lawyer said her client was an artist whose wedding cakes are a “temporary sculpture” but a “tailor is not engaged in speech, nor is the chef engaged in speech”.

Justice Elena Kagan interrupted: “Whoa. The baker is engaged in speech, but the chef is not engaged in speech?”

What a week.

Tips and tattle: [email protected]

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Dec 9, 2017 as "Gadfly: Enright is wrong". Subscribe here.

Richard Ackland
is the publisher of Justinian. He is The Saturday Paper’s diarist-at-large and legal affairs editor.

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