The articles the subject of the Concerns Notice were dated 13 August 2021, 17 August 2021, 31 August 2021 and 24 September 2021 and dealt with a range of issues from fundraising for bushfire victims, donation of funds for the Greek Mission in Africa, the use of funds by the Archbishop, the appointment of new bishops and an Archdiocese priest on trial for sexual harassment of minors. All of which are serious and important issues of public interest.
Since receiving the Concerns Notice, the Archbishop has commenced legal proceedings against me for defamation in the Federal Court of Australia on 9 March 2022.
This GoFundMe is to raise money to meet my ongoing and considerable legal costs in this fight for freedom of expression relating to matters of public interest and the pursuit of truth. In a free society like Australia, commenting on the actions of people in positions of power and influence should not create a fear of personal financial ruin or bankruptcy.
In over 50 years that I have been in journalism, this is the first time I have been sued for defamation. Given that the matter is now before the court, I cannot comment further on the proceedings (or the subject matter of the articles) other than to say that I will vigorously defend this proceeding.
This is a titanic struggle as I am a 70 year old pensioner-journalist of modest means facing the resources of the Archbishop and the Church. I am not a lone voice as the national broadcaster, the ABC, has already reported on the Archbishop https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-16/st-basils-greek-church-taxpayer-funding/100068128
So far, I have managed to deal with some of the legal costs with the help of some of my friends but my resources are limited and soon will be exhausted. I am now seek your assistance in this legal fight of my life.