Sharon Knight MP slams Cardinal George Pell in parliament

WENDOUREE MP Sharon Knight has made an impassioned attack on Ballarat’s Cardinal Pell in a speech she believes reflects the disappointment of much of the city at his failure to return.

Ms Knight told Parliament if Cardinal George Pell's health condition will be proven to be a “sham” if he ever returns to Australia. 

During the speech in the Victorian Parliament on Wednesday morning Ms Knight made it clear Cardinal Pell’s decision meant he should never return to the country. 

“Importantly, the Commissioner (for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse) found that Cardinal Pell’s health is not expected to improve so that the risk of his travelling is removed,” she said. 

“So, George Pell, stay right where you are.  I don’t ever expect to see you back in this country.  I don’t expect that you will set foot in Ballarat ever again.” 

“One thing I will say is this:  George Pell, if you can’t travel for this Royal Commission, then you can’t travel.  

“And if we do ever see you back in this country, then we will know that everything you have said about your health – everything that you have said to avoid personally appearing at the hearings – is an absolute sham.”

Earlier this week it was revealed Cardinal Pell would not return to Australia to appear before the commission due to an undisclosed heart condition. 

IN a written statement earlier this week Cardinal Pell insisted he was keen to respond to the issues that have been raised in Royal Commission hearings, including specific allegations that have been made against him. 

"While my plans were always to make the journey home to appear in person, my doctors have made it very clear that at the present time my health prevents me from undertaking long haul travel.  I wished things were different however I am pleased after receiving the latest medical reports last week, the Commission has now decided to agree to hear my evidence via video link from a professional conference facility in Rome.”

I have always expressed my willingness to assist the Royal Commission in its work.  I have appeared on two previous occasions and many months ago made it clear I was willing to appear again." Cardinal Pell said.

The Cardinal expressed his concern that survivors from Ballarat and Melbourne have already had to wait to hear evidence and was pleased firm arrangements were now in place.