Jan Hamilton; My thoughts on the Channel 7 Craig McLachlan and Vanessa Scammell interview

18 May 2021

Congratulations to Craig McLachlan and Vanessa Scammell for their courageous interview on Channel 7 Spotlight, Sunday 16 May 2021.

Congratulations to Channel 7 for daring to air the viewpoint that the ‘I believe’ movement is dangerous to a decent society.

The emotional turmoil and disintegration of one’s life when one is falsely accused of anything, let alone the awful charge of sexual molestation is a harrowing thing to view and to understand.

I can personally testify that everything that Craig and Vanessa went through is my personal experience of false allegations.

In the first instance there is an almost unbelievable shock that one cannot accept that people would lie so blatantly and misuse the system. Congratulations for the harrowing footage, clearly indicating the despair of a man and woman whose beliefs in honesty, decency and integrity are being slowly torn apart by dishonest people.

The illusion of friendship, the illusion of the law, the illusion of a fair and just media, all are left in tatters.

It is very hard to believe the extent to which our press and legal system has deteriorated.

I personally have lived with this now for 30 years.

In the first instance in 1993 my partner Ken was charged with 11 counts of child sexual assault; over 8 years he was found not guilty on 10 and convicted of 1 (a kiss on the forehead), which was then overturned by the High Court.

The ‘kiss on the forehead’ led to a sentence of one and a half years in gaol. Fortunately when appealed, to the Court of Criminal Appeal, the sentence was overturned and he only spent 10 days in prison. That was terrible enough. The High Court then threw out the conviction.

For those of us who have not yet woken up, we are slowly deteriorating into an authoritarian state. Unfortunately, part of this descent is being dressed up as progressive, and advancing the ‘empowerment’ of women, but it is just as often resentment and hostility turned into a political agenda.

When one has to feel frightened or concerned about ones viewpoints or what one says about certain issues, we know the ‘thought police’ are at work. This of course goes against the very grain of democracy, when Ken and his generation went and fought for the ideal of the rule of law and the presumption of innocence, not by media or the mob - innocent until proven guilty.

“I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Investigative journalism appears to have disintegrated into gender warriors with an agenda, which blinds them to the reality that there are two sides to a story. Your brave stand will probably produce a backlash from the social media bubble and perhaps the mainstream media, but will I feel touch the hearts of many thousands of decent people.

We fought these charges against Ken from day one. It was a shocking and disillusioning journey to realise that after a while no newspaper would carry our story, nor will it today. But calling on our own resilience we never stopped ‘speaking up’ and since 1993 did not stop from large newspaper ads, to taking newspapers to task for biased reporting (there were options available in those days which there are not today), to years of big musical shows addressing in various forms the developing suppression of individual freedom.

There must be hundreds of innocent men accused of crimes of which they are not guilty.

In 1993 when Ken was first arrested on ridiculous child molestation charges (of which he was found not guilty) we were to meet a Professor Jim Richardson who was touring Australia giving lectures on the new emerging weapon of child molestation charges. His premise was that nobody understands what an atomic bomb effect these charges will wreak on society. He predicted they would be used in divorce settlements, in political agendas, in destroying business opponents. In fact, what is now called ‘cancel culture’, the ease with which you can get rid of someone, destroy their careers and ‘cancel’ them, has been well demonstrated in the nearly 30 years since 1993.

Of course the greatest insult is to the genuine people who have actually been abused, because it will get to a point with the general public that nobody will trust the word of a woman again. This movement will, I fear, lead to the victimising of women.

As an old advocate for women of many years, I have written shows about, worked with and produced strong independent girls and women.

All I can see now is that the idea of the victim culture will take women back to the 1950s, where they were considered unable to stand up to men and have no self-determinism or ability to make their own way without protection.

It is only if people who are prepared to stand up and put the other viewpoint there, the other side, and allow it to be promoted, however painful it is, that something might be done about the totalitarian regime we are slowly consolidating.

Unfortunately I understand full well the difficulties of an individual who under these pressures considers taking his or her own life. It is very often, and in our case, portrayed as a sign of guilt. Whereas with Ken at 85 and in ill health, who had fought and beaten these allegations for 15 years, realised the police were simply bypassing the court system and intended to put him straight in gaol, where undoubtedly he would have been harmed or killed.

Ken chose to take his own life. We honour him as someone who as you showed, had his own personal issues, but not once over 15 years of ruthless choreographed attacks did he ever descend into hatred. He insisted that people would not allow themselves to be consumed by the hatred and bigotry which so fuels these attacks. And so he took his own life at the age of 85 rather than face the possibility of death in prison.

But no matter how deviant and underhanded the agenda is waged, the truth is there.

Over hundreds of years we have developed a system of democracy. Many have fought and died for the right to live under that system, which we all accept gives us enough space to not have to believe or think what other people tell us we should think, but to find our own way and evolve and seek happiness.

You have remained true to your integrity and survived. In moments of crisis where suppressive dishonest agenda-driven journalism and political agendas emerge the only thing one can really do is remain true to oneself, and fight for truth - against the howling mob.

One of the things which is admirable in your interview is not to be cowed and to speak up wherever you can. The atrocity of false allegations of this nature are so offensive that the impulse to retreat into a shell is powerful. In other words one is meant to lie down and die. Thank you for not doing that.

It is natural for us as human beings to relate decently and openly and caringly to each other. It is unnatural for those with some power to manipulate those who seek to further their position by tearing down others.

Congratulations on your interview. In the current climate it was an act of great courage and principle and I hope a beginning of the end of the witch hunt atmosphere that has been created over the last several years.

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