Royal Commission Into Child Sexual Abuse: Commissioners, Terms Of Reference Announced

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has announced the names of six Commissioners and the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Gillard

The Royal Commission will be led by Justice Peter McClellan, currently Chief Judge at Common Law of the Supreme Court of NSW.

He will be assisted by the former Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson; Justice Jennifer Coate, the Victorian Coroner; Robert Fitzgerald, a Commissioner with the Productivity Commission; Professor Helen Milroy, a consultatn psychiatrist; and Andrew Murray, former Democrats Senator.

The Royal Commission will not examine child sexual abuse in families.

Gillard was joined by Attorney-General Nicola Roxon and Families Minister Jenny Macklin at her press conference.

  • Listen to Gillard, Macklin & Roxon announce the details of the Royal Commission (43m)

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  • Listen to reaction from Hetty Johnson of Bravehearts (12m)

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  • Royal Commission Terms of Reference (PDF) – see below
  • An explanation of the Terms of Reference (PDF)
  • Website of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Statement by Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Government Formally Establishes Royal Commission

On my advice, today the Governor-General has appointed a six member Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Child sexual abuse is an evil crime.

Anyone who has ever suffered child abuse deserves to have their voices heard and their claims investigated.

The Royal Commission will inquire into how institutions with a responsibility for children have managed and responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse and related matters.

It will investigate where systems have failed to protect children, and make recommendations on how to improve laws, policies and practices to prevent and better respond to child sexual abuse in institutions. [Read more…]


Democrats Attack Howard Amendments To Electoral Laws

In this speech, Australian Democrats Senator Andrew Murray lashed the Howard government over its changes to the electoral system.

Second Reading : Electoral & Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity & Other Measures) Bill 2006

Senator MURRAY (Western Australia) (9.21 a.m.) – In making my remarks on the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Bill 2006, I would like to be on the record as stating that this bill represents yet another appalling outcome of coalition control of the Senate. It is a bill that in many respects blatantly seeks to advantage the coalition. From the words electoral integrity in the title of this bill, one would assume its provisions are motivated by an intention to improve our representative democracy, to improve the democratic and electoral rights of Australians. [Read more…]


Democrats Reject Reith’s Anti-Union Bill

Senator Andrew Murray - Australian DemocratsThe Australian Democrats have rejected the key elements of Peter Reith’s “second wave” industrial relations changes.

The Workplace Relations Minister has proposed legislation which would further strip industrial awards of conditions, require secret ballots on strike votes, and introduce user-pays mediation processes. The bill also attacked union rights to enter workplaces and redefined the definition of a closed shop.

Senator Andrew Murray, the Democrats Workplace Relations spokesman, has said the bill “went too far.”

The legislation, dubbed the “More Jobs Better Pay” bill, was the subject of a Senate Committee Report released yesterday. Senator Murray issued a minority report.

The campaign against the legislation included a media campaign by the Australian Council of Trade Unions around the slogan “just say no”. A rally attended by about 500 workers was held yesterday outside Reith’s office in Melbourne.

The legislation now appears to be facing certain defeat before Christmas. The “first wave” of industrial reforms were passed in 1996 with the support of the Democrats under the then leadership of Senator Cheryl Kernot.