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Faith, wisdom and anecdotes from Tony McLellan.

The businessman changed by God Russell Powell A Glorious Ride: From Jumble Plains to Eternity By Tony McLellan with Nick Cater

T

ony McLellan is known in many circles – in the real estate

and business community, in the resources sector and in the Christian community as one of the guiding forces behind the Australian Christian Lobby and a number of Christian non-profit organisations. However, his CV will not prepare you for the myriad of anecdotes and encounters with the rich and famous with which this book is littered. The first part is the classic Australian countryboy-makes-good tale, where the good keeps getting better and better. Then comes the surprising twist, which will resonate with Christian readers, as Tony McLellan has his Damascus Road experience in an Atlanta loungeroom. As I read the book, I was certainly enjoying the stories but I was also thinking, “Who can I give this book to?” – perhaps as a Christmas gift. It’s the kind of work that people who read biographies of famous politicians and businesspeople would love, but it’s much, much deeper than that. The inspirational biography section of bookstores are full of self-centred corporate types showing how they were the smartest in the room, but there are not too many books like this. Writer Nick Cater says, “My aim was to ensure that Tony’s decency, warmth and selfless devotion is illuminated on the printed

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of abuse material so the infiltrator will be accepted as a bona fide member of the group. Victim ID specialist Adèle Désirs, who joined Argos a few years ago from Interpol, verbalises what some may be thinking after reading that sentence: is this morally right? Her answer is that the infiltration, which gains access to abuse files and helps identify abuser and victim, is “the only way... We are trying to fight for them [the children], so any weapon that is available, I’m going to use it”. We’re shown the meticulous detective work and results of a number of international operations, with scenes of abuse thankfully sanitised and pictures blurred. However, you’re still told more than enough to make your innards churn. Over time, despite all the work Argos and others have done, there has been an exponential growth in both the availability of abuse material and the websites on which it is distributed. There are thousands of members on one site, tens of thousands on the next... and up and up, until it’s over a million. SouthernCross

November 2021

page as brightly as it shines in the flesh”. Cater’s journalistic expertise makes this a reality, assisted by what appears to be McLellan’s prodigious memory and note-taking ability. Those who remember the business world or Sydney’s real estate scene in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s will know some of the backdrop of the book but the canvas is wider than that, segueing into the international scene with business moguls such as Adnan Khashoggi and George Herscu. It’s not a Christian book but a book about a Christian. Liberal party identities such as Robert Menzies and John Howard feature prominently, but I hope the appeal of the book might reach across the political spectrum. I pray that the non-Christian reader will be drawn in by the first part of the story and stay for the benefits of the second half – where Tony McLellan goes into more detail about his Christian experience and draws on a wide range of practical leadership wisdom. The last chapter is devoted to things that McLellan, now 81, wishes he could tell his younger self: “The way we react to the call of Jesus on our lives does not determine who Jesus is. Rather, it determines who we are... and, consequently, what sort of people we might become”. Leaders of the future need to hear such wisdom. SC

What is worse, technology now makes it possible for abusers to be remote from the children they are abusing. Team members note, with some frustration, that companies providing the technology “aren’t taking any responsibility” for what happens on their platforms. Of course, some children and teens make material in their own bedrooms and upload it freely – parents beware! – then abusers use this to “sextort” them into providing more and more. Whatever your feelings about some of the methods used by Task Force Argos and other teams, The Children in the Pictures is a valuable weapon in the fight against child exploitation. It carries the truth about the breadth of this abuse, and the misery it inflicts, out of the shadows and places it squarely in any home, anywhere. And while parts of it are painful to watch, it can inform and equip us to protect our own children – and any others with whom we might come in contact. SC For upcoming cinema screenings and information, see https://childreninthepictures.org 29