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A job lot of hatchets

cardinal cover

Over the days and weeks to come we will hear much more about The Cardinal, the book authored by the ABC’s Louise Milligan and released only yesterday (May 14) by Melbourne University Press. As you might expect, it is a scathing, sneering, unbalanced, nakedly biased hatchet job, as conspicuous for its omissions as for the heavily slanted presentation of what is included.

Lapsed Catholic author + conservative prince of the Church + ABC standards of impartial investigation + university press = well, what else would you expect?

There will be more on the book at Quadrant Online over the next day or so, chiefly in regard to Milligan’s presentation of a certain Phil Scott. He is the former Painter & Docker, SP bookie, tax cheat, drug dealer, thump artist and career criminal who raised the first molestation allegation against Pell, claiming four decades after the alleged event that the young cleric goosed him at an altar boys’ camp. The sympathetic Ms Milligan seems to find Scott entirely credible; indeed, she makes such an effort to look beyond the decades of his criminality that a conviction and two-year sentence for selling speed is described merely as “really, really embarrassing”. Yes, “really, really”.

But Scott need not concern us today. For the moment, click on the picture below, which will make it large enough for even those with the poorest eyes to read with ease. The passage appears on page 32 of The Cardinal (ebook edition) and testifies to both Ms Milligan’s tin ear when transcribing quotes and MUP’s sad decline as a reputable publishing house.

carrion thrust

The “carrion thrust” of debate indeed! While one can only guess she means “parry and thrust”,  there can be no doubt whatsoever that MUP  employs editors who don’t actually edit.

If that appraisal seems harsh, bear in mind MUP was once led by beloved Quadrant columnist Peter Ryan, who died at the age of 92 in 2015. He would never have allowed something so really, really stupid, as Ms Milligan might put it, to see the light of published day.

Ryan’s memoir of his days at MUP, published by Quadrant, is a rollicking good read and can be ordered by clicking here.

To get a taste of the Ryan book, follow the link below and enjoy a piece by Tony Thomas detailing how MUP for years indulged a plague of thieves robbing it blind. Given Ms Milligan’s respect for her Painter & Docker, the crim she quotes with such sympathy, one could almost say the imprint’s affection for lawbreakers has been transferred from those who stole its books to those who are now lionised in their pages.

And don’t forget, long before The Cardinal, MUP also published the memoirs of Mick Gatto. Poor Peter Ryan must rolling in his grave. The Tony Thomas piece is at the link below.

– roger franklin