Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Leaders
After 29 months since it was established, today was the closing session of the Commission of Inquiry into the Tasmanian Government’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings.
First announced in response to a range of shocking allegations of abuse in government institutions such as the Launceston General Hospital and Ashley Youth Detention Centre, the Commission was tasked with looking at what had occurred, the failures to respond, and what needs to be done to make sure children in future will always be safe.
Over two years, the Commission heard from many victim-survivors about the terrible abuse inflicted upon them, and the government’s appalling failures to believe them and respond. We acknowledge the hardship, isolation and pain of all those who suffered child sex abuse in state institutions. We acknowledge the strength of the victim-survivors who gave evidence, and the enduring impact of those who live with related trauma every day.
We also recognise the whistleblowers who bravely made their voice heard about what they saw, even when so many around them did not.
On behalf of the Greens, I thank the Commissioners and the staff of the Commission who worked tirelessly to create a safe, respectful, just and victim-survivor centred process. This has been a painful and exhausting time for many who gave evidence, but the manner in which the Inquiry was conducted has been remarkable.
The compassion, care, diligence, insight and hard work shown by the Commissioners and staff has given the community confidence in the evidence-gathering process thus far, and in the integrity of the Commission’s findings and recommendations.
With the Commission of Inquiry’s final report now being handed over to the Government, what happens next is essential. As Commissioner Robert Benjamin said today, this is not the end of the journey, it’s the beginning.
It is now the responsibility of the Government and the Parliament to bring about the necessary changes to the laws, rules, culture, and behaviours of Tasmanian institutions to ensure all children are safe into the future. The Greens commit our full focus and heart to following through, for as long as it takes, the work of implementing every one of the Commission’s recommendations.