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Thursday, 20 December, 2001, 12:28 GMT
Sex scandal dogs Governor-General
Queen Elizabeth II at the State Opening of Parliament 2001
Queen Elizabeth is Australia's head of state
Child welfare groups in Australia are calling for the resignation of Queen Elizabeth's representative, the Governor-General, Peter Hollingworth.

They are angry about his handling of a case of sexual abuse at a church school in his diocese while he was Archbishop of Brisbane 10 years ago.

Dr Hollingworth has denied there was a cover-up, and insisted he did nothing wrong.

Peter Hollingworth takes the oath of office as the new Governor General of Australia
Mr Hollingworth was sworn into office in June
The Governor-General broke his silence after a 24-year-old former student of an Anglican school last month successfully sued the Brisbane diocese for damages after she was sexually assaulted by the school's boarding master.

The church was ordered to pay almost $500,000 in damages

The teacher killed himself in 1990 before ever facing a trial.

In a three-page statement, Dr Hollingworth says he could no longer stand by and allow unfounded allegations to be made against him.

He said at the time of the abuse, legal obligations played heavily in his decision not to intervene.

Dr Hollingworth's supporters say he is the victim of a campaign of denigration and defamation aimed at undermining his position as the Queen's representative in Australia.

See also:

29 Jun 01 | Asia-Pacific
Australian governor-general sworn in
04 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Aborigine treaty plans dismissed
03 May 01 | Asia-Pacific
Timeline: Australia
03 May 01 | Country profiles
Country Profile: Australia
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