Today I have announced that I will be recommending to the Governor-General the establishment of a Royal Commission into institutional responses to instances and allegations of child sexual abuse in Australia.
The allegations that have come to light recently about child sexual abuse have been heartbreaking.
These are insidious, evil acts to which no child should be subject.
The individuals concerned deserve the most thorough of investigations into the wrongs that have been committed against them.
They deserve to have their voices heard and their claims investigated.
I believe a Royal Commission is the best way to do this.
The proposed terms of reference and proposed Commissioner will be submitted to the Governor‑General in due course, pursuant to the Royal Commissions Act 1902.
I will speak with relevant Premiers and Chief Ministers in coming days to discuss how the Royal Commission should relate to any current inquiries into similar matters currently proposed or underway in their jurisdictions. Discussions will also take place with victims’ groups, religious leaders, and community organisations.
The Attorney-General and the Minister for Families will co-ordinate this work on behalf of the Government in coming weeks.
Further announcements, including the proposed Commissioner and detailed terms of reference, will be made in coming weeks.
I commend the victims involved for having the courage to speak out.
I believe we must do everything we can to make sure that what has happened in the past is never allowed to happen again.
As soon as it comes up I will be posting the transcript of the ABC The Drum that is currently being shown. The level of anti-Catholic bigotry being displayed is simply appalling. While criminal behaviour cannot and should not be condoned, this Royal Commission has started off on the wrong foot. Even before the terms have been announced.
Update I: Liberal Press Release here.
As a community we must have zero tolerance for the sexual abuse of children.
Wherever abuse has occurred it must be tackled and it must be tackled vigorously, openly and transparently.
It’s clear that for a long period there was insufficient awareness and insufficient vigilance when it came to predatory behaviour by people in positions of authority over children.
A lot of terrible things have been done, and a lot of people have suffered deeply.
For these reasons, if the government were to propose a Royal Commission to investigate the sexual abuse of children, it is something the Coalition would be prepared to support.
Any investigation must be wide-ranging, must consider any evidence of the abuse of children in Australia, and should not be limited to the examination of any one institution. It must include all organisations, government and non-government, where there is evidence of sexual abuse.
Victims must be allowed to heal, and perpetrators must be brought to justice.
Update II: The Drum video is here – watch from 3:40