The federal Attorney-General, Christian Porter, said redactions to a key piece of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse's final report could be lifted within "a couple of weeks".
The report's Case Study 28, which focused on the Catholic Church in Ballarat, includes testimony from Cardinal George Pell, which were redacted to avoid influencing further criminal trials when it was released in December 2017.
However, since Cardinal Pell's acquittal this week, the focus has turned to when those passages will be released to the public.
Speaking to media in Canberra last week, Mr Porter said the report should be tabled in parliament without the redactions.
"It does require some liaison between my office and Victorian authorities - investigative and prosecutorial - to make sure that further tabling with less redaction would not prejudice any future investigations of a number of types. That could take a number of weeks," he said.
"But my strong preference is to have as much of the information that has been redacted tabled with less redaction."
Mr Porter said the release of the document was ultimately the Attorney-General's decision.
"Conventionally and traditionally, the reason that discretion has existed on my part is to try and protect proceedings and make proceedings fair to both complainants and accused people that may arise in the context of information given to a Royal Commission," he said.
"So I would never exercise that discretion ill-advisedly; without seeking the views; without seeking the assurances; getting information from the authorities about what may or may not be on foot and how it would be affected by the information that might be contained in the report.
"That's about trying to ensure that the justice system operates sensibly and fairly to everyone involved.
"So it's an ultimate discretion that resides with the Attorney-General but not one I would ever exercise without care, caution, advice, and seeking the views of all the relevant parties.
"We have anticipated that there might be a need. I would imagine it will take a couple of weeks."
The Victorian Office of Public Prosecutions declined to comment.
Case Study 28, which ran to 536 pages, detailed abuse in several institutions run by Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat, including St Joseph's Home, St Alipius Primary School, St Alipius Parish, St Patrick's College and St Patrick's Christian Brothers Boys Primary School.
It also dealt with the impact of experiences of child sexual abuse on survivors, the wider effects on the community, as well as the response of Catholic Church authorities, and heard from Catholic clergy convicted of offences within the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat.
The report described "an extraordinary failure within the Diocese to respond adequately" to allegations about sexual abuse of children over at least 30 years.
It also highlighted "a desire to prevent or minimise the risk of scandal and to protect the reputation of the Catholic Church."
You can read the redacted report online or below.
with JOLYON ATTWOOLL
Affected by this story? There is help available.
You can phone CASA, Sebastopol on 5320 3933, or free-call the crisis care line 24 hours on 1800 806 292. Or phone Lifeline on 13 11 14, the Blue Knot Foundation on 1300 657 380, or Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277.
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