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Tuesday, 13 November 2018
Page: 7930

Senator HINCH (Victoria) (16:16): Before I have this motion taken as formal, I seek leave to amend the motion.

The PRESIDENT: It has not been circulated, Senator Hinch. If it's very easy to digest.

Senator HINCH: It's just a change of date.

The PRESIDENT: Notify the Senate of the change of date and I'll ask the Senate for leave. What date do you wish to change?

Senator HINCH: In paragraph (b)(ii), change the date from 31 December 2018 to 28 February 2019.

Leave granted.

Senator HINCH: I move the motion as amended:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) the National Redress Scheme, which was established in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, has been operating since July 2018,

   (ii) 58.6% of survivors who engaged with the Royal Commission reported sexual abuse in religious institutions,

   (iii) 62% of those survivors reported sexual abuse in Catholic institutions,

   (iv) 14.7% of those survivors reported sexual abuse in Anglican institutions,

   (v) despite reports earlier this year that the Catholic, Uniting and Anglican Churches would participate in the scheme, they have yet to formally opt in to the scheme,

   (vi) this has had the effect of putting the applications of survivors who were abused within Catholic, Uniting Church and Anglican institutions - many of whom are extremely vulnerable, ill or elderly - on hold with the Department of Social Services, and

   (vii) of the almost 1900 applications which have been made to the National Redress Scheme since July, fewer than 10 have been processed; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to:

   (i) encourage all religious institutions within states and territories which are currently signed on to the National Redress Scheme, to opt in, and

   (ii) withhold any government funding and deny charity tax concessions to religious institutions within those states and territories that fail to opt in by 28 February 2019.

I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator HINCH: In moving this motion, I need to point out that it is in my capacity as a senator for the Justice Party and not in my position as Chair of the National Redress Scheme committee. I'm doing it, to steal from Gough Whitlam, because it's time—it's actually past time. Institutions named in this motion are dragging the chain—some, I suspect, deliberately. Several thousand applications have been lodged, but fewer than 10 have been settled. Cases are on hold and ageing survivors are dying without their redress. It wasn't too complicated for church branches to use the umbrella system for the royal commission. Surely that is a blueprint for how redress should be addressed now. We've used the carrot; it's time for the stick.