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Royal Commission

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MEDIA STATEMENT THE HON JOEL FITZGIBBON MP MEMBER FOR HUNTER CHIEF GOVERNMENT WHIP ___________________________________________________________

12 November 2012


It has become clear to me that it’s in the interests of the victims, their families and the Catholic Church, that a Royal Commission be conducted into allegations of the systemic cover up of sexual abuse.

The victims and their families need and deserve an assurance that no crimes or serious breaches of trust and responsibility have gone unpunished and that action has been taken to ensure that no such crimes or breaches can occur in the future. It is clear that only the powers of a Royal Commission can adequately deliver those assurances.

Further, the Catholic Church will struggle to re-build its reputation while ever questions about institutional wrongs are not properly tested. Worse, the Church will remain subject to all kinds of allegations and innuendo unless a formal process is established. And all the Church’s on-going good work will pass unnoticed and unappreciated until the allegations are properly dealt with. Today I shared these views with Bishop Bill Wright.

Of course the Royal Commission should not be restricted to the Hunter region. If we’ve only learned one lesson of late it’s that these problems are not confined to any one region or indeed, any one state.

Finally, allegations that current laws and law enforcement methods have been inadequate has surely undermined public confidence in the justice system and given abuse has been evident in other institutions, consideration should be given to broadening the inquiry to matters beyond the Catholic Church.

Media Contact: Christine Boyd 0488 654 527

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Joel Fitzgibbon “Fitzhunter”