Reactions on the Royal Commission

Survivor of abuse ...  Dr. Cathy Kezelman.
Survivor of abuse ... Dr. Cathy Kezelman.
Time to deal with the issue ... Tony Windsor, federal member for New England.

Time to deal with the issue ... Tony Windsor, federal member for New England.

Adults Surviving Child Abuse, president Dr Cathy Kezelman

Dr Kezelman said her organisation was happy to see the terms of reference as a ''starting point'' and happy that they were informing a greater awareness of survivors.

''We knew from the original announcement that the institution of the family was not included. It would be ideal obviously for the needs of survivors to all be acknowledged … but this is a substantial royal commission,'' she said. ''It's good to see that there are several commissioners, representing the police, judiciary, mental health and the legislative side.

''Everyone involved [in the commission] should either have previous experience in or be educated on dealing with trauma.''

Australian Greens, leader Christine Milne

''I reiterate my hope that this can bring some peace to shattered lives,'' Senator Milne said.

The Greens also expressed specific concern about indigenous children.

''Our only concern is the absence of specific reference to Aboriginal abuse. We certainly encourage the commissioners to ensure that they visit indigenous communities, examine the issues specific to them, and take into account the cultural sensitivities surrounding giving evidence,'' Senator Milne said.

Tony Windsor, federal member for New England

Mr Windsor said that the people appointed as commissioners and the terms of reference were broad enough to give the community confidence in the process of the royal commission.

''This royal commission is not a witch hunt. It is, however, an opportunity for us as a society to deal with an issue that has up until now been swept under the mat,'' he said.

Senator George Brandis, shadow attorney-general

Senator Brandis said the terms of reference appeared to be ''sufficiently comprehensive''.

''It is very important that the royal commission not be constrained in pursuing its inquiries in relation to all institutions, both public and private, where there is reason to believe child sexual abuse may have taken place. For instance, there is a great deal of evidence of widespread sexual abuse of children within indigenous communities, which the royal commission will have the opportunity to examine,'' he said.

Nick Xenophon, independent senator, South Australia

Senator Xenophon said the terms of reference were encouraging. ''Let this be a truly historic royal commission,'' he said, calling for long-term change so that the ''horror'' of systemic abuse was not repeated. ''Now the hard work begins,'' he said.

It would be difficult to achieve long-term change but there was no chance without the royal commission: ''This gives us a fighting chance. This is it,'' he said.

Tzedek, Manny Waks, president (Jewish community group)

Mr Waks said the commissioners seemed to be ''eminently qualified for the role''.

''The fact that six commissioners have been appointed seems to indicate that the government is fully committed to ensuring this royal commission is undertaken properly. The terms of reference seem to provide a great balance between examining what transpired in the past and recommending best practice moving forward. There also seems to be a great emphasis on the interests of victims/survivors, which is essential.''

Truth, Justice and Healing Council (Catholic Church), Francis Sullivan, chief executive

Mr Sullivan said the Catholic Church was committed to ''fully co-operate and engage'' with the commission.

''We have no idea who the commissioners will ask to appear before them,'' he said.

''But one thing you can be assured of is the Catholic Church leadership has made it clear they will fully co-operate so the people the commission wish to speak with will be there.''


This story Reactions on the Royal Commission first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.