Anglican church responds to clergy claims

The Anglican Church has rejected complaints about the status of Bishop Peter Hollingworth.Melbourne’s Anglican diocese rejects suggestions it has ignored complaints about former governor-general Bishop Peter Hollingworth linked to his handling of sexual abuse cases.


The denial comes as Victorian Reason Party MP Fiona Patten backs calls for Dr Hollingworth to stand down amid reports of survivor complaints about his continued status in the church.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne rejected any implication it ignored complaints about Bishop Hollingworth.

“All complaints against clergy are taken very seriously,” the church said.

The former Brisbane archbishop became governor-general in 2001 before resigning in 2003 following pressure over his handing of child abuse cases.

He apologised in 2016 during the child sexual abuse royal commission for failing to take action against pedophile priest John Elliot.

The commission last year found Dr Hollingworth made a serious error in judgment in allowing Elliot to remain in the ministry following an abuse complaint.

It also found he failed to take into account psychiatric advice that Elliot was an untreatable pedophile.

Ms Patten noted Dr Hollingworth was allowed to continue working as a minister following his evidence at the commission.

“I question whether there is another employer who would permit their staff member to continue working with children after such allegations were levelled against them, and as an act of contrition he should be asked to resign,” the MP said in a statement on Wednesday.

She also questioned how Dr Hollingworth was granted a Working With Children Check.

Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier said complaints against clergy were handled by independent professional standards body Kooyoora Ltd.

“My role is to respect that independent process and allow it do do its work, free of interference or public commentary from the church,” he added.