The leader of the Christian Democratic Party in NSW, the Reverend Fred Nile, has accused the major parties of being "nervous" about pursuing a wide-ranging inquiry into child sexual abuse because it might uncover abuse by one of their own.
Reverend Nile said he was puzzled by the announcement by the Premier, Barry O'Farrell, of a special commission of inquiry into allegations of interference in police investigations of alleged paedophile priests in the Hunter region.
"I find it puzzling why it was so restricted to the Hunter when there's reports outside of that area," he said.
"I think [Mr O'Farrell] should be looking further than that. I don't know why you would restrict it to one area because priests and brothers get moved around."
A better option would be a national royal commission into sexual abuse that focused not only on clergy but abuse in the wider community, and if this was not supported then a state-wide royal commission was needed, Reverend Nile said.
"Sometimes political parties are reluctant to dig deeply because you might find a politician," he said.
"That's why I think political parties, both Labor and Liberal, are nervous. They shouldn't be. It's even more serious if it involves politicians in leadership positions."
Mr Nile, a Christian Democratic Party MP in the NSW upper house, is considering pushing for a vote in the Legislative Council this week to establish a parliamentary inquiry into child sexual abuse similar to the inquiry under way in Victoria.
However, Mr O'Farrell said he did not believe such inquiries were appropriate.
"We need to be very careful here that we do not in any way interfere, delay or corrupt inquiries that are under way by the NSW police force," he said.
"To be honest, as a politician, I've never seen upper house or lower house or joint parliamentary inquiries act other than politically."
Mr O'Farrell announced the special commission of inquiry on Friday after a senior police officer and veteran child abuse investigator, Detective Inspector Peter Fox, wrote to him to call for a royal commission into sexual abuse by priests.
"I can testify from my own experience that the church covers up, silences victims, hinders police investigations, alerts offenders, destroys evidence and moves priests to protect the good name of the church," Inspector Fox wrote.
Federal independent MP Tony Windsor said Mr O'Farrell's decision to restrict the special commission of inquiry to the Hunter region was "pathetic".
"It almost makes a mockery of the people who have suffered," Mr Windsor said, adding that an inquiry needed to be national.
Mr Windsor said he would write to the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, urging the federal government to act.
Mr O'Farrell said while he understood the reason for calls, including one last week from NSW Nationals MP Troy Grant, for a national royal commission, he would focus on what was within his power to achieve, which was an inquiry into allegations in the Hunter area.
A NSW Greens MP, David Shoebridge, has written to Mr O'Farrell asking the government to support a debate in the Legislative Council on Tuesday about a royal commission into the Catholic Church and other organisations.