thus spake Senator Bill Heffernan about a list of alleged paedophiles. He said it was a "police document" too.
Now there will be endless speculation about "who" the "previous Prime Minister" is or was. Those who have it in for one side of politics or another will be scrutinising every possibility. There will be claims that "we have the right to know" and that "it is in the public interest" that we know who this person is alleged to be.
Apparently there are other "high profile" names on the list too. They are all "alleged to be paedophiles". There will be much speculation.
Paedophilia is a vile thing.
And this sort of speculation actually makes it worse in my book. It is too easy to make an accusation. It is too easy to make an accusation without any proof, to do so just in order to "get at" someone you dislike or disagree with.
It is too easy to ruin the reputation of an innocent person. Mud sticks. Make an accusation and there will always be some who, wanting to believe the worst, will say, "Where there's smoke, there's fire - that accusation wouldn't have been made without..." and on it will go.
I had an e-mail from someone yesterday telling me couldn't do something he had undertaken to do. He has just had to stop volunteering in a role he loved. He can't get the necessary police clearance. In another role, as a teacher, he was accused of sexual misbehaviour by a child who wanted to get some parental attention. The child chose to do this by telling his mother that the teacher's behaviour was inappropriate. Yes, it got him parental attention. It was only at the point where things began to get serious that the child admitted he was lying - and why he was doing it.
The police were involved by then. There was an official report. They have apologised but they "can't take the risk" of now providing the necessary police clearance. The teacher in question is being transferred to other duties. The kids have lost a good teacher at school and in another role. There is a cloud hanging over this man. It has affected his relationships with many people. His wife has stuck by him but you can see the strain it has put on both of them.
And it affected me too. I have had to find someone else willing to do what he had undertaken to do. I had to find an explanation which will not harm this man any further.
It is too easy to make a false accusation. It does great harm because the mud never completely washes off.