Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Victoria announces inquiry into clergy child -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

The Victorian Government has announced an inquiry into criminal child abuse by members of the
clergy, although victims groups want a full royal commission.


EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: The Victorian Government has bowed to pressure and announced an inquiry
into child abuse by members of the clergy.

But the decision to refer the inquiry to a parliamentary committee has disappointed victims groups
who wanted a Royal Commission.

Frances Bell reports from Melbourne.

FRANCES BELL, REPORTER: The calls for an inquiry has been answered but not necessarily in the way
victims and their families had hoped.

TED BAILLIEU, VICTORIAN PREMIER: We believe this is an important step. The pain of victims has gone
on for too long.

FRANCES BELL: Instead of a royal commission or judicial inquiry, a parliamentary committee will
investigate criminal child abuse by the Catholic Church and other religious organisations.

ROBERT CLARK, VICTORIAN ATTORNEY-GENERAL: We concluded in the end that a parliamentary inquiry
would be less intrusive, less formal, less legalistic.

FRANCES BELL: Chrissie and Anthony Foster have cautiously welcomed the news. Their two young
daughters were abused by a Melbourne priest in the 1980s, and one of them took her own life.

CHRISSIE FOSTER, VICTIMS' MOTHER: These are our children and my daughter is dead because of that,
because of what Father Kevin O'Donnell did to her.

FRANCES BELL: But they're concerned the parliamentary committee may not have the resources for such
a big job, and that its terms of reference aren't broad enough. The Attorney-General says the
inquiry will have the power to compel witnesses to give evidence and produce documents, and that
anyone who refuses to do so would be in contempt of Parliament.

The committee is made up of four Liberal MPs and two Labor. Four of them are first term MPs.

DANIEL ANDREWS, VICTORIAN OPPOSITION LEADER: I don't think that six politicians have the skills,
the expertise, the budget or the powers to get this job done properly.

FRANCES BELL: Paul Lyons is one of many victims hoping the inquiry provides answers. He was nine
when he was abused by Brother Robert Best in Ballarat. Police believe 30 suicides in that region
are linked to abuse in the Catholic Church.

PAUL LYONS, VICTIM: What has happened to me I wouldn't wish that on anyone. A lot of the other
victims I know, you know ... it's so sad that they've taken their lives.

FRANCES BELL: The Catholic Church declined an interview but says it will fully cooperate with the
inquiry. The committee is due to report to Parliament by April next year.