Prime Minister Scott Morrison will reportedly call for George Pell’s Order of Australia honour to be revoked after the Cardinal was convicted for sexually abusing two teenage boys in the 1990s.
If Morrison does follow through with the idea the council will investigate Pell’s guilty verdict and make a recommendation to Governor-General Peter Cosgrove on whether or not the Cardinal should keep the honour.
A criminal conviction in most cases leads to the termination of the award. Back in 2015, Australian entertainer Rolf Harris was stripped of the Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) title after he was convicted of the indecent assault of four school girls.
The report, published in The Daily Telegraph, follows calls from Senator Sarah Hanson-Young to revoke Pell’s award as soon as possible.
Taking to Twitter on Tuesday shortly after the Cardinal’s conviction was announced, the politician wrote: “George Pell was awarded the Order of Australia in 2005. It is only right that it now be revoked, given everything we know”.
She added: “The Governor General has the power to strip award holders and he should act immediately.”
George Pell was awarded the Order of Australia in 2005. It is only right that it now be revoked, given everything we know. The Governor General has the power to strip award holders and he should act immediately.
— Sarah Hanson-Young💚 (@sarahinthesen8) February 26, 2019
She wasn’t the only one to express her views on the matter with a petition created online calling for the same action to take place.
According to Amy Gray, who began the petition on website change.org, and thousands of other Australians, Pell does not deserve this honour, especially after the conviction of child sex abuse.
“There must come a time when we protect the abused and not the abusers,” she wrote on the website. “Part of that must be removing abusers’ power and prestige, like removing an honour Pell does not (and arguably never has) deserved.
“Pell does no honour to the people of Australia. It’s time we removed his Companion of the Order of Australia. Let’s stand with survivors of sexual abuse and fight to remove power and accolades from their abusers.”
In a matter of hours the petition had gained thousands of signatures from people across the country with a total of 40,280 at the time of publication, less than 10,000 away from the goal of 50,000.
Pell withdrew his application for bail on Wednesday morning following the revelations of the guilty verdict on Tuesday. He was remanded in custody on Wednesday afternoon and will likely spend tonight in jail.
George Pell has withdrawn his bail application in the Court of Appeal. He will be taken into custody after today’s plea and will spend from tonight behind bars.
— Karen Sweeney (@karenlsweeney) February 27, 2019
AAP reporter Karen Sweeney updated the public on the decision on Twitter writing: “George Pell has withdrawn his bail application in the Court of Appeal. He will be taken into custody after today’s plea and will spend from tonight behind bars”.
According to The Guardian reporter Melissa Davey, who has been covering the case in court, Pell will reappear for sentencing in two weeks time.
Pell will be sentenced on Wednesday 13 March.
— Melissa Davey (@MelissaLDavey) February 27, 2019
“Pell will be sentenced on Wednesday 13 March,” she wrote on Twitter.