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Abbott, Pell 'put unborn ahead of the living'

Catholic leaders show more concern for the unborn than the living in their stands on stem cell research and asylum seekers, a prominent business leader told a Sydney prayer meeting yesterday.

The criticism was directed at the Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, and Catholic federal MPs such as the Workplace Relations Minister, Tony Abbott.

Neville Roach, Fujitsu Australia chairman and a former government adviser on immigration, said these leaders vocally opposed embryonic stem cell research, but failed to speak out against mandatory detention of refugees.

Mr Roach said while Dr Pell described embryonic stem cell research as life destroying, he had made no clear statement on his position on refugees other than advising Catholics to attend mass rather than a Palm Sunday march to support asylum seekers.

Mr Abbott often espoused Christian views and was eloquent about stem cell research, saying the debate should focus on respect for life and a common humanity, Mr Roach said.

"What is it about our Catholic leaders that makes them feel so strongly, as of course it is their right, on the rights of the unborn but not so strongly on the rights of the living?" he asked a prayer meeting at Mary Immaculate and St Athanasius Catholic Church, which is in Mr Abbott's northern beaches electorate in Sydney.


26 Aug 2002