Port Arthur priest joins criticism of massacre movie

Fr Morgan Batt (The Catholic Leader)

The former parish priest of Port Arthur has criticised the decision to make a film detailing the events that led to the 1996 massacre. Source: The Catholic Leader.

Brisbane priest Fr Morgan Batt was the parish priest of Richmond and Port Arthur, Tasmania, when the massacre which killed 35 people unfolded.

He was on his way to say Mass at Port Arthur when he heard reports of a gunman, later revealed to be Martin Bryant, shooting.

Fr Batt was intimately involved in the aftermath, working with police and providing pastoral support for the local community, including parishioners who had lost loved ones.

Now parish priest of Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast, Fr Batt has added to criticisms following the announcement of a film, NITRAM, that will detail the events leading up to the massacre.

“I just think why – why even make a film,” Fr Batt told The Catholic Leader. “Leave it for another 50 years.”

NITRAM, which is Martin spelt backwards, is due to premier on streaming service Stan and in cinemas next year, which will be 25 years since the tragedy.

But Fr Batt said it was not the right time in history to release a film on the massacre.

“I note that Second World War movies and Vietnam (War) movies still elicit strong emotions for people, so will this movie and we just don’t need it in our COVID world,” he said.

“It’s not in the past yet but very much still in the present.”


Parish priest of Port Arthur during 1996 massacre says why make a film about the tragedy (by Emilie Ng, The Catholic Leader

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