Church abuse report goes public

The long-awaited report into the Anglican Church's handling of sexual abuse complaints will be tabled in Queensland parliament on Thursday.

The report is expected to spotlight Governor-General Peter Hollingworth's tenure as Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane.

Concerns had been raised by child protection advocates that much of the report would be kept secret.

But Queensland Premier Peter Beattie agreed to table it in state parliament.

Mr Beattie said he had agreed to a request from Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane, Dr Phillip Aspinall, to table the report, which was sparked by concerns over Dr Hollingworth's performance when he was archbishop.

The decision has won praise from child advocacy group Bravehearts Inc spokeswoman Hetty Johnston, who said she was surprised and pleased over the move.

"I commend the archbishop and the premier of Queensland for having the courage to do what's right," Mrs Johnston said.

"Now that the report is being tabled in parliament it has no alternative but to be damning towards Peter Hollingworth."

The contents of the report will be made public under parliamentary privilege and will not be subject to Australia's tough defamation laws.

Dr Aspinall has asked Prime Minister John Howard to table the report in federal parliament.

But a spokeswoman for Mr Howard said the request will be refused.

She said it would be an unprecedented use of federal parliament and its privilege and would confer on the Anglican Church a benefit not available to any other organisation.

Dr Aspinall said in his letter to Mr Howard and Mr Beattie the report's "potential significance is not confined to Queensland but extends nationally".

"It is clear there is substantial and justified public interest in the content of the report," Dr Aspinall said.

The inquiry - by Melbourne barrister Peter O'Callaghan QC and Adelaide-based academic Freda Briggs - examined the handling of complaints against a number of clergymen and school staff.