Bassendean council reconsiders Rolf Harris honours
Local government authorities have scheduled emergency meetings to discuss whether to strip veteran entertainer Rolf Harris of honours, following his indecent assault convictions in a London court on Monday.PT1M43S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3b5lz 620 349 July 1, 2014
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He's been stripped of a number of awards, but convicted sex offender Rolf Harris will keep his honorary doctorate from Edith Cowan University for at least a month.
Vice Chancellor Professor Kerry Cox said such honours can only be rescinded by the University Council, which is scheduled to next meet in August.
Plaque dedicated to Rolf Harris on St Georges Terrace in the Perth CBD.
“It is important to ECU that the personal values of our award recipients are congruent with Edith Cowan University’s values," he said.
“Works of art by Rolf Harris have been removed from display because it is my judgement it is what the University community would want me to do and it is what I believe is the right course of action."
Harris was awarded a Doctor of Letters by the university in 2000.
Local government authorities have scheduled emergency meetings to discuss the entertainer's individual honours, following his indecent assault convictions in a London court on Monday.
The Town of Bassendean will meet on Thursday to review Harris’ status as a freeman, as well as decide what it will do with other public tributes, including a plaque in the town centre and artworks displayed prominently in council chambers.
Mayor John Gangell said the council took down a portrait of Harris once the allegations came to light.
“Well we thought these are very serious, very serious allegations, that there’s enough evidence to take it to court,” he said.
“Therefore we deemed, as our residents did as well, that it was inappropriate to have his portrait hanging in the council chambers while these allegations are being heard in court.”
“Rolf is an absolute icon for Bassendean and this is heartbreaking for a town which is very much known for Rolf Harris and the ‘boy from Bassendean’.”
Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said the city maintains 150 plaques in the city centre in honour of prominent West Australians.
She told Radio 6PR that the plaque outside BankWest on St Georges Terrace, commemorating Rolf Harris’ achievements as an entertainer, will be reviewed.
“We’ll have to contact as many of the committee who actually sat in judgment of that plaque at the time out of courtesy to them and out of full transparency,” Ms Scaffidi said.
“I think the general feeling around the place is that we don’t accept these types of offences and therefore that would automatically translate to [the plaque being removed].”
The Education Department confirmed that Perth Modern School, where Harris attended as a child, will remove several artworks on display – a decision made by the school.
The department said that professional removalists will attend the Subiaco school in coming days and put the works into archives.
Education Department executive director Lindsay Hale said schools regularly reviewed and updated their books and teaching materials and "it was unlikely any would still be using resources as outdated as those by Rolf Harris".
“However, in light of yesterday’s developments in the Rolf Harris case, we would expect principals to use their professional judgement and common sense about what resources are available in their schools,” he said.
The Art Gallery of Western Australia said there are no works by the entertainer in the State Art Collection, while the Australian Recording Industry Association announced it has withdrawn the Hall of Fame award bestowed upon Harris in 2008.
ROLF HARRIS'S DISAPPEARING LEGACY
* Removed from the Australian Recording Industry Association Hall of Fame
* Stripped of a British Academy of Film and Television Arts Fellowship
* His school, Perth Modern, has taken down Harris paintings
* Perth's Edith Cowan University removed Harris artworks and may rescind an honorary doctorate
* Town of Bassendean, where Harris was born, considering taking away his "freeman" status
* Bassendean may also dig up footpath plaque outside Harris' childhood home and remove his paintings from council chambers
* City of Perth likely to tear up a CBD footpath plaque commemorating Harris
* Government House won't comment on whether he will be stripped of Order of Australia awards
* Will likely lose his CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) from the Queen.