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Remarks during morning tea for supporters of the Royal Commission, Kirribilli House



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PRIME MINISTER

REMARKS DURING MORNING TEA FOR SUPPORTERS OF THE ROYAL COMMISSION KIRRIBILLI HOUSE, SYDNEY 12 JANUARY 2013

E & O E - PROOF ONLY

Acknowledgements omitted

This isn’t a day for really big speeches. It’s a day to come together and to talk about what you’ve achieved through having the Royal Commission start, and how we can work together to maximise the opportunity that now flows from the Royal Commission having been established.

I’m really aware looking out on this group of people that I’m looking out on a group of people who over years - indeed decades - have fought for justice for people who were abused as children.

I know that people here have raised their voices time after time after time to say that our nation has to face up to the consequences of what happened.

We have to shine a light on it, it’s going to be painful, it’s going to be hard, but we’ve got to do that so that we can learn for the future.

So yesterday’s announcement is really a tribute to you for having sustained that campaign over many, many long years.

And I know that there are a lot of people here, individually and as representatives of their groups, who probably thought they would never see this day.

It’s probably been very, very hard for many long days to sustain the enthusiasm for campaigning and calling for our nation to really look at child sexual abuse, to look at what happened to people in institutions, to be prepared to listen to the voices of individuals and treat them with dignity and respect as they tell their stories.

And then to learn from that to see what we can do to keep children safer in the future.

So a big tribute to you. We wouldn’t be here and we wouldn’t have made yesterday’s announcement without you. So thank you.

And we can mark all of the work that’s happened to date, but I’m actually going to call on you to keep doing a little bit more.

Establishing the Royal Commission is the start of something really big, really emotional, really hard and a lot of people are going to need a lot of support as we go through that process.

So, I can’t promise you that there are easy days ahead. I suspect that there are some very traumatic days ahead as people come and tell what happened to them, many of them for the very first time, many of them with a real sense of trauma and emotion as they do it.

But I’m hoping that out of those hard days, can come some really special things.

One, the healing that comes with recognition. I think it’s really important that people get the message that we want to hear their story. I know you can carry that message for us to the so many hundreds and thousands that you’re in contact with.

I think us saying we want to hear from you after many years of people being shunned and spurned and having doors slammed in their face, to tell those individuals it’s your time now to tell your story, I hope that that in and of itself brings some healing.

And then the recommendations of the Royal Commission using all of that information I hope brings some healing to individuals and to us as a nation.

But to get there we’re going to need to stick together through what will be at times a very hard process.

So, thank you for everything you’ve done to date, and we’re certainly looking forward to working with you as the Royal Commission swings into action and works its way over three years - maybe a bit more time will be necessary - but over three years to get our nation some recommendations for change.

Thanks for coming this morning. It’s a bit with a sense of a spirit of let’s come together and mark what’s been achieved through your long years of work with the Royal Commission being established.

And let’s commit to doing a lot more work together as the Royal Commission works through.

[ENDS]