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PM: Royal Commission called

Posted by: Staff writers | 12 November, 2012 - 6:42 PM
Church Cross

4BC Drive: Prime Minister Gillard has called for a Royal Commission into child sex abuse claims within the Catholic Church.

Gary Hardgrave gets the response from Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston and Dr Mal Washer.

News Update

Royal commission to probe child abuse

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has agreed to a royal commission into institutional responses to allegations of child abuse in Australia.

The royal commission will be recommended by Ms Gillard to the governor-general and the terms of reference would be worked on in coming weeks, before the persons to lead with inquiry are appointed.

"I want to get this right," the prime minister said.

"So over the next few weeks we will be consulting with the organisations that represent the survivors of child abuse, with religious organisations, with state and territory government to ensure the terms of reference are right."

Mr Gillard said she had already spoken to the premiers of NSW and Victoria, states which are already pursuing their own inquiries.

"Both of them are prepared to take a cooperative approach," she said.

Mr Gillard said any instance of child abuse was a vile and evil thing, she told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

"Australians know, from the revelations that they've read in recent weeks that too many children have suffered child abuse but have also seen other adults let them down.

"They've not only had their trust betrayed by the abuser but other adults who could have acted to assist them have failed to do so."


Prime Minister Julia Gillard will recommend to the Governor-General a Royal Commission be set up.

It will inquire into institutional responses to instances and allegations of child sexual abuse in Australia.

The terms of reference will be worked out in coming weeks with a view to the commission being established before the end of 2012.

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon and acting minister for families Brendan O'Connor will co-ordinate work on the terms of reference.

The inquiry commissioner or commissioners will be named in coming weeks.

Ms Gillard plans to speak to state and territory leaders in coming days about how the Royal Commission may relate to current or proposed inquiries in their jurisdictions.

Discussions will also be held with victims' groups, religious leaders and community organisations.

The inquiry will look at religious institutions, state institutions and schools and not-for-profit groups like scouts and sports clubs.

The government says the commission is not targeted at any one church.

It's too early to say how long it will take.


There have been 129 Royal Commissions appointed by the government of Australia since 1902.

The last, in 2008, was into equine influenza.

A Royal Commission has considerable powers, albeit restricted to its terms of reference.

It can compel witnesses, offer indemnities and seize documents.

The Costigan Royal Commission on the Activities of the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union and the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody each lasted four years.

(Source: federal government)

Blog comments Your Say

  • Wow. PeterB calls it church bashing. SO the enquiry is about child sexual abuse and the coverups - is that not important PeterB? - also posting as Peter B.
    Bella calls its jumping on the bandwagon. Actually Bella there are so many enquiries happening into Churches and Child Abuse that it's great that they will all be able to work together.

    Bob Lord Thursday 15 November, 2012 - 9:18 AM
  • I personally know a man who was raped multiple times by a priest, when he was a 10 year old altar boy. It is not about church bashing. It is about weeding out the people who are taking advantage of their position of power, using people for their own sexual gratification, and irreparably damaging someone's life in the process.

    As for Julia Gillard jumping on the bandwagon and terming this great step towards justice as uninteresting, it is such an important step towards protecting children and exposing those who sexually abuse children, regardless of their position of power. That is justice that will not be hidden with privilege of position.

    Mary Thursday 15 November, 2012 - 4:20 AM
  • For thousands of years the world has been ruled by two parties. Royalty and Religion. They seized control of the world when it was never their right. The Catholic Church is by far the most powerful on the Religion side. We are going to tear down that power and I think that is a good thing and long overdue. But what does that action really mean. When we demonstrate tearing down that pillar of power is acceptable then the other pillar will closely follow. Again I think that is a good thing and long overdue. But then what. The financiers have created a monetary system that exerts more power and control over the world than the two pillars. Their system must be continually fed with ever increasing amounts of capital or it will collapse. The two pillars are examples of the VERY few sources of wealth large enough to stave off collapse. But what then. After the two pillars and China and India are drained of wealth what then. The system was always going to collapse at some stage. It was designed to collapse. Then the financiers will own all capital and all assets. They will have removed all effective opponents. The fact they are attacking the two pillars covertly indicates clearly they are attempting to assume more power rather than provide a service to the people. Cast your eyes back to the Holocaust or take off the blinkers and look at the systematic extermination of the Palestinians or the financial destruction of the Greeks and every other nation. How do you think your quality of life will be affected if we allow them to continue their path of worldwide control. If the pillars can be toppled what makes you think you can survive.

    The REAL Objective Wednesday 14 November, 2012 - 12:10 PM
  • Victoria State Government started an inquiry on 9th. November now Miss Gillard announces on 12th November a Federal Government Royal Commission.

    Interesting, I think not!

    This behaviour of Miss Gillard is nothing short of a clear example of JUMPING ON THE BAND WAGON.

    BELLA Tuesday 13 November, 2012 - 1:05 PM
  • I am not a Catholic, C of E is my denomination, do not attend church regularly. Very disturbed to hear all the Church Bashing occuring everywhere now.
    This whole thing about an Inquiry should have a Focus & Outcome.
    FOCUS: Law Courts, Institutions of all Types, Police Action & The Blue Card System.
    OUTCOME: Conviction & Sentences Past & Future, Offenders to be Branded/Tattooed, Regular Checks on Blue Card Holders and Applicants.
    This is just a broad look at the issue but we must focus more on these things not happening in the Future more than what has happened in the Past, thank you for your time.

    Peter B Tuesday 13 November, 2012 - 11:28 AM

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