I am concerned about Gillard’s Federal Royal Commission into institutional sex abuse. The media have concentrated on the Catholic Church and whereas they have a lot to answer for and should be a part of the RC they are not the only perpetrators and, evidence might suggest, they are not even the largest perpetrators.
Reading The Drum, the enclave of Leftist debate, it’s all about the Catholics, yet in my experience, and I have some, the Church does a huge amount of good works with tens of thousands of Teachers, school kids, Priest, parents and laymen all contributing to the community in positive ways. What we are getting from the media, understandably I guess given that the anti-religious Left hold sway, is an emphasis on the minority who besmirch the Catholic name.
If the Commission names and shames these people and they eventually go to court and are convicted then well and good but we need to keep in mind that the target is institutional sex abuse and not just the Catholic Church.
State run orphanages, schools, youth groups such as Boy Scouts and Girl Guides and other religious institutions need to get a run as do the Indigenous community.
Which raises the question – are the Indigenous communities an institution – will they be included in the TOR. If not, and I suggest that will be the case, then in my opinion the Commission will not be broad enough.
Mal Brough, a previous Howard Government Minister reports on sex abuse within the Indigenous communities;
“And those who have not read the report, Little Children are Sacred, its two authors visited 45 communities in the Northern Territory. They didn’t find sexual abuse in some of those communities, they didn’t find it in most of those communities, they found it in every single community; 45 out of 45. Think about that, the enormity of that for a moment.
“Let me take you to Kalumburu. Kalumburu is up in the East Kimberleys. It is a town of about 300. There are only 90 males in Kalumburu. It’s isolated by the wet for a good part of every year. The wet will set in some time this month.
“Of those 90 men, in the last two months 15 have been charged with child sex offences. Fifteen out of 90 men. These are the charge sheets. Not one page, not two pages, not three pages, four pages.
“They’re all an offence against a child, predominantly penetrating a girl or a boy under the age of 13. Who were these 15 men? They were the mayor, the deputy mayor, two other councillors, the police liaison officer, a truancy officer, two wardens.
“What does that tell you? These are people of authority. These are the people that white fellas like me and bureaucrats turn to, who go to consult with about answers to their communities, who we give money and more empowerment to and we walk away saying, haven’t we done a good thing.”
Scott Prasser, in today’s Australian has a well written piece on what Royal Commissions can and can’t do and recommends that;
The Gillard government must avoid any perception that there is any political advantage being derived from appointing this royal commission.
But I’m and old skeptic – I’m afraid it will turn into a witch hunt and I don’t believe the ALP do anything for altruistic reasons. I suspect they will drip feed ‘leaks’ over the course of the Commission whenever they need distraction from their own incompetence and if Tony Abbott ever walked past a Catholic Church or went to Mass where there is or was or might have been a questionable Priest who might have, or might not have abused children, then rest assured we will hear about it.
I truly hope it works as there are a lot of damaged people out in the community but I guess only time will tell.
Disclaimer: I am not a Catholic but was born a Methodist. I became non religious but subscribe to the ethics and moral compasses espoused by the religious bodies.