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Thursday, 21 November 2013
Page: 1037

Mr IRONS (Swan) (13:49): I remind the House that 16 November, last Saturday, was the fourth anniversary of the apology to the forgotten Australians. Everyone remembers that day. It was an emotional time. I acknowledge members of the government and members on this side who assisted on that day, particularly the member for Griffith and the member for Wentworth, whose speeches gave hope to many of the people who had been through that experience.

Many benefits have come from that apology. The forgotten Australians are reaping the rewards of the commitment by the government, whereby forgotten Australians are assisted with the problems they face on a daily basis. We now see a royal commission is investigating the horror put upon these young children when they should have expected to live safely and to be nurtured and cared for.

We are in a period of maiden speeches, and I would like to remind the House of comments that I made in my maiden speech:

Perhaps one day we should apologise to all the young children of Australia who were not saved by being removed from abusive or non-caring parents. I mention the case of the seven-year-old girl Shellay Ward, who died last year after being seriously neglected by her parents, and I call on all communities to make a concerted effort to bring cases like this to the attention of the proper authorities.

I will continue to commit myself to this cause, to raise awareness and to make sure that there are stronger penalties for abusers of children.