Monday, September 7, 2015

The 'meddling' priest who upsets corporate Australia

"What inspires me and us, as a faith community of course, is the life and teachings of Jesus. So we stand for what He stood for, what we believe He stood for, which was justice and equality, compassion and a society that looks after the edges, that doesn't just look after the powerful and the wealthy."
Father Rod Bower

Father Rod Bower is an Anglican Priest in the city of Gosford in NSW whose views unsettle  the corporate and political elite so much that they want to shut him up. 
Father Rod has made a name for himself by his tweets and the political statements he makes on the noticeboard outside his Church, particularly about Australia's treatment of asylum seekers, as well as issues of climate change, marriage equality, race relations and the power of the media.

Dianne Gander-Smith is the high profile and influential Chairperson of the detention centre operator Transfield.

Gander-Smith is an avid self-promoter who appears regularly in the business pages  offering advice to business and Australian citizens and talking up  her business and sporting expertise.
Like many in the business and corporate world,  the Transfield Chairwoman is  remarkably sensitive to criticism and Father Rod has angered the Transfield Chair so much that she  has arranged a  meeting with his boss, the Anglican Archbishop of Newcastle Greg Thompson, ostensibly to shut up Father Rod. 

Father Bower is bewildered by Transfield's reaction and believes it is an attempt to gag him.

"Well, there's billions of dollars at stake here. It's a very large contract of taxpayers' money being poured into the oppression of human beings, so whenever there's a lot of money involved, there's a lot at stake, and yes, that's what they would be trying to do."

Bishop Thompson has agreed to meet the Transfield Chairwoman and indicated that Father Bower has his full support, commenting:

"They are serious questions of our capacity to be both compassionate and responsive to the great need across our region. But, also, as we're seeing in Europe, the tidal wave of humanity fleeing the wars in which we are participating in, and I think we have a responsibility in our own country to be compassionate."
The signs that appear to have upset the Transfield Chair include 'Hell exists on Naura' , HESTA divests Transfield. Good on Ya'  and "Don't invest in evil' about the decision by superannuation fund HESTA to withdraw its investment from Transfield over risks associated with the company's  contract to run immigration detention centres for the Australian Government on Naura and Manus Island.

Transfield are also unhappy about a recent tweet of Fr Rod's on the recent decision by the Abbott Government to renew Transfield's contract  to run Australia's immigration gulags on  Naura and Manus Island.

Fr Rod tweeted:
"It is beyond belief that Transfield, a company that has presided over Australian concentration camps amidst allegations of child sexual abuse, rape, torture and murder, could be awarded an extended contract. It is indicative of the delusion that now operates in the Abbott Government and the consequences of unchecked power. This level of disregard for suffering is reminiscent of the worst days of the church now being exposed by the Royal Commission. We are right being condemned for remaining silent while these crimes were being committed. We are determined never to be silent again
The Transfield Chairperson's response says much about Transfield's desperation, sensitivity to criticism and desire to protect its image and reputation in the face of growing criticism and public outrage about their involvement in running immigration detention centres.

No comments: