With Cardinal George Pell today charged with multiple counts of historic child sex abuse, the Greens are renewing the call for Australia to end its diplomatic protection of the Vatican.

Greens MP’s have written to the Federal, NSW and Victorian Attorney Generals urging them to implement an extradition treaty with the Vatican and put an end to its diplomatic immunity.

The existence of diplomatic immunity and lack of an extradition treaty mean that no Vatican Official can be compelled to return to Australia to face trial.

Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“The Vatican’s diplomatic immunity is an insult to survivors of abuse in Catholic institutions, and must end.

“Cardinal George Pell has now been charged with multiple counts of historic child sex abuse but his position in the Catholic Church means he cannot be compelled to return to face these charges.

“Cardinal Pell, like every defendant, is entitled to the presumption of innocence. Our concerns are with the structural failings of the law.

“The Greens are calling on the Australian government to put an end to the Vatican’s diplomatic immunity and make the Catholic Church equal before the law.

“Diplomatic recognition and diplomatic immunity gives the Catholic Church protections that no other religious institution has.

“The Vatican is the head of a religion, it is a pretend nation state.

“It should never be up to the alleged perpetrator or the institution to choose whether or not to face justice. Everyone and every institution must be equal before the law.

“For too long politicians have failed victims, survivors and their families in holding the Church to account.

“The Royal Commission has given a voice to countless brave victims and families who have retold their stories of appalling systemic abuse.

“We can no longer be complicit with these institutions, we have a responsibility to ensure justice for all victims of abuse.

“With these charges now laid, and the Royal Commission wrapping up its hearings, it is well and truly past the time that we make the Catholic Church equal before the law and equal, at last, with its victims.” Mr Shoebridge said.