THE HON JASON CLARE MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE AND INVESTMENT
SHADOW MINISTER FOR RESOURCES AND NORTHERN AUSTRALIA
MEMBER FOR BLAXLAND
SPEECH TO THE FEDERATION CHAMBER: NSW GOVERNMENT DENIES VICTIMS OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE ACCESS TO POLICE GAZETTES
MONDAY, 16 OCTOBER 2017
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Can you imagine growing up without a mum or dad.
Imagine never meeting your brothers or your sisters. Never knowing that they even existed.
Imagine being alone in a big orphanage and being neglected, being hurt, being abused, being monstered by the people who were supposed to look after you, who were supposed to protect you.
This is not a Charles Dickens story.
It’s what happened here in Australia.
100,000s of Australians, neglected and abused in homes and orphanages, many of whom are still with us today.
Over the last decade their stories have slowly come out of the shadows.
First there was a Senate Inquiry.
Then there was an apology by this Parliament.
More of what happened to these helpless boys and girls has now been revealed in the chilling oral and written evidence provided to the Royal Commission.
It’s done an extraordinary job in shining a light on a dark and terrible part of our past.
I’m hoping that this week the Government will finally introduce legislation to establish a National Redress Scheme.
It is a key recommendation of the Royal Commission and one that’s long overdue.
No amount of money can properly compensate for the brutality that many of these children suffered or repair the damage that was caused to them, but it will help.
And that compensation should be paid for by the Governments and by the organisations that ran the places where they were harmed.
But some people will still struggle to get access to this scheme because the records of their time in an orphanage have been destroyed.
For some people the only way to prove that they were ever there are the police records that showed that they absconded, that they ran away and that they were picked up by police and were brought back to the place where all of that harm was happening. These records are in Police Gazettes.
Some States and Territories provide access to these Gazettes, but others don’t. One of those is NSW, you can’t access to the Police Gazette until 70 years have passed.
The practical impact of this is that some people can’t get access to the sort of services offered by the NSW Government.
Things like counselling services, help with family reunions or help finding their own parents graves’.
I have written to the NSW Police Minister asking him to make the Police Gazette available, but he said no.
I think that’s appalling.
We are talking about kids who were flogged and raped and ran away, and they can’t prove they were ever there because police won’t provide the records that show it.
So I ask the NSW Government to please reconsider this genuine request.
Given everything that’s happened to these poor people, I think it’s the very least that we can do.
MEDIA CONTACT: KORENA FLANAGAN 02 9790 2466