FORMER governor-general Peter Hollingworth says he is yet to be approached by police, who are looking into claims he failed to act on sexual abuse allegations.
His comments came after Queensland police said they were reviewing allegations against Dr Hollingworth.
The matter relates to claims Dr Hollingworth failed to act on sexual abuse allegations against priests and teaching staff in the 1990s, when he was Anglican archbishop of Brisbane.
“We have received information with respect to the matter,” a Queensland Police Service spokesman told News Corp Australia.
Peter Hollingworth leaves the royal commission hearing into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Hobart. Picture: Nikki Davis-Jones Source: News Corp Australia
“The information is currently being reviewed by officers attached to the state crime command.”
Dr Hollingworth issued a statement through his lawyer Bill Doogue on Wednesday night, saying the news reports were surprising given the allegations “had been the subject of four inquiries in the past 15 years”.
“None of those inquiries suggested he had committed any offence,” Mr Doogue said in a statement.
“These inquiries included the Royal Commission which examined the issues at length.
“Dr Hollingworth says he is aware that some of his opponents have been making complaints to police for some time but he had never been approached or interviewed by police.”
Last week, Victorian Reason Party MP Fiona Patten backed calls for Dr Hollingworth to stand down amid reports of survivor complaints about his continued status in the church.
In a statement last Wednesday, the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne rejected any implication it ignored complaints about Bishop Hollingworth.
Peter Hollingworth pictured when he was Anglican archbishop of Queensland. Source: News Corp Australia
“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 paedophile 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 paedophile.
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.
She also questioned how Dr Hollingworth was granted a Working With Children Check.