House debates

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Statements by Members

Child Sexual Abuse

1:43 pm

Photo of Steve IronsSteve Irons (Swan, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Last Friday I joined our social services minister, the member for Pearce, in Perth to announce the Commonwealth redress scheme for survivors of institutional child sex abuse. I remind members of this House of my maiden speech back in 2007, where I said I wanted to bring focus on this national issue. I, along with other members of this House—and I note the member for Jagajaga is here—have been advocating for a redress scheme where institutions that inflicted this abuse are held accountable for what they did to far too many children of our nation. After years of hard work from people on both sides of the House, Friday was a day of relief for many survivors.

Many groups have welcomed the establishment of the scheme and have expressed their support for it. The Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, said it was a scheme supported by the Catholic church and other churches, institutions, and survivors of sexual abuse and their families. The coalition will establish a scheme and invite other government and institutes to opt in on the 'responsible entity pays' basis recommended by the royal commission. The coalition recognises that these survivors need and deserve equal access and treatment. The scheme is about institutions recognising the harm that has being caused to and lasting impacts of the abuse on children in their care.

Before I finish, I want to acknowledge the victims, and I wholeheartedly thank those who gave evidence across the country during the royal commission. Your courage to give evidence is the reason why we were able to establish the scheme. I would also like to acknowledge the Wesley College from my electorate in Swan, who are here today, up in the gallery, and I welcome you to Canberra.