ON Monday, Scott Morrison warned “institutions” that unless they signed on to the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sex Abuse, they would be “named and shamed.” The scheme gives “survivors” the legal right to pursue up to $150,000 in compensation and access to counselling. Leaving to one side the fact that institutions cannot feel shame, the Prime Minister also threatened to stop giving alleged waiverers taxpayers’ money – which he spoke of as though it were his own: “We expect people to sign up, and if you don’t want to sign up, then I won’t be signing any cheques.”
Today, Social Services Minister Anne Ruston made good on the threat, naming six “institutions”: the Australian Air League, Boys’ Brigade NSW, Lakes Entrance Pony Club, Fairbridge Restored Ltd, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Kenja Communications. Well, I’ve heard of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I have no idea what Fairbridge Restored is (and neither does Google); Kenja Communications was (or is) a wacko cult that couldn’t possibly be receiving a cent from the government anyway. That leaves the Australian Air League (whose just published explanation for not signing on is sound), Boys’ Brigade NSW (a registered provider of the NSW government’s Active Kids and Creative Kids programs) and the pony club. The only people here who might feel shame are the horsey lovers. Well done, then, Prime Minister. You sure showed them.