SENATOR THE HONOURABLE CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS

Transcript

Sky News Alan Jones, 21 October 2020

 

SUBJECTS:  AUSTRAC, Vatican funds, Cardinal Becciu, Cardinal Pell, Australian Federal Police, Victorian Police.

E&OE …

 

Alan Jones:

Well, the public have a very firm view that many highly paid politicians are nothing more than seat warmers.  When you want something done, they often are as useless as the proverbial.  Not so the New South Wales Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.  

You might recall she was in the vanguard of alerting her own government—who didn’t want to know—of predatory Chinese behaviour.  Well yesterday in a Senate Estimates hearing, and you heard part of this on Andrew’s program, she asked the AUSTRAC Chief Executive and AUSTRAC is responsible for defending, protecting and responding to criminal abuse of the financial system to protect the community from serious and organised crime.  That’s their charter. 

Well of course as you know earlier this month, Italian newspapers reported unsubstantiated allegations that Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu was suspected of wiring 700,000 euros, equivalent to 1.14 million dollars, to Australia to help secure evidence against Cardinal Pell.  Of course, the High Court quashed unanimously Cardinal Pell’s child sexual abuse convictions earlier this year.  Senator Fierravanti-Wells was onto this in Senate Estimates yesterday.  She joins us from our Canberra studio.  Concetta thank you for your time.  You asked the Chief Executive of AUSTRAC …

Concetta Fierravanti-Wells:

… Hello Alan …

Alan Jones:

… Nicole Rose about media reports that all this money had been transferred, quote, “allegedly from Vatican funds to person or persons in Australia”.  What were you able to find out?

Concetta Fierravanti-Wells:

Well, I’d written to Miss Rose on the 13th of October, setting out my concerns about these allegations and asking her to confirm that the matter was being investigated and so at Estimates yesterday she confirmed that AUSTRAC had looked into the matter and had provided information to both the Australian Federal Police and to the Victorian Police.

Alan Jones:

Does the fact …

Concetta Fierravanti-Wells:

And I also …

Alan Jones:

Sorry, does the fact that it’s been given to the Victorian Police concern you?  There are serious question marks over that outfit.

Concetta Fierravanti-Wells:

Well these are serious allegations which, if they are true, will have significant consequences and therefore they need to be fully and properly investigated.  Today, I have written to both the Australian Federal Police Commissioner Kershaw and Victorian Commissioner Patton, forwarding the correspondence and also providing an audio of yesterday’s Estimates and indicated to them that I will be following this investigation with great interest.

Alan Jones:

All right.  Well done.  Just before you go then.  Where do you think things stand now?  I mean AUSTRAC clearly has information and presumably only AUSTRAC, the Federal Police and now the Victorian Police know what that information is.  What can the Parliament further do or Concetta what can you further do on this matter?

Concetta Fierravanti-Wells:

Well, I think that having the benefit of being able to read the daily Italian press and what’s happening in Italy, I also have the benefit of having been able to pursue this matter and be informed from direct sources and it’s very clear that the Vatican prosecutors are preparing dossiers for prosecutions and they are undertaking investigations and some of the material that’s been disclosed in the Italian media, from in the Corriere Della Sera and other daily Italian newspapers, are relying on documents and Vatican sources and so I think it’s important to keep an eye on …

Alan Jones:

… Good on you … good on you …

Concetta Fierravanti-Wells:

… That media as well ...

Alan Jones:

… Good on you …

Concetta Fierravanti-Wells:

… And so, I’ll be doing that.  Rest assured Alan that I will be pursuing this matter.

Alan Jones:

Good on you.  Well we’ll be keeping in touch with you Concetta and thank you for your time and thank you for your initiative.  Much appreciated.  There she is …

Concetta Fierravanti-Wells:

… Thanks Alan …

Alan Jones:

… from Canberra Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.

[ends]