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Still unanswered questions.

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Senator Andrew Bartlett Australian Democrats’ Welfare Spokesperson

20 February 2002 MEDIA RELEASE 02/071

Still Unanswered Questions

Tonight’s statement by the Governor-General does little to relieve the pain of victims of sexual abuse according to the Australian Democrats.

Democrats’ Welfare Spokesperson, Senator Andrew Bartlett, said while he welcomed the Governor-General’s statement, an unconditional apology is still needed.

“I am disappointed that in his ten page statement, Dr Hollingworth found no room for an apology,” said Senator Bartlett.

“An apology is not an admission of guilt, it is an acknowledgement of the pain that victims of sexual abuse have felt and continue to feel.

“The issue is whether or not his statement will be enough to restore public faith in his ability to fulfil his role as a senior community leader and a representative of the Australian people.

“There will undoubtedly be further allegations. The Prime Minister needs to act now to ensure there is not an ongoing pall over the office of Governor-General.

“The Democrats believe that the Prime Minister needs to act quickly to resolve this issue rather than allowing the ongoing uncertainty and speculation to continue.

“The statement still leaves some issues unresolved. For instance in the case of St Paul’s School, it does not address the key issue, which was not the confidential settlement, but rather the apparent lack of follow up support for other students who may have been molested.

“Likewise, Dr Hollingworth continues to raise the possibility the young girl who was abused by Bishop Shearman was a willing participant.

“The ball is now in the Prime Minister’s court,” concluded Senator Bartlett.

For further information contact: Alison Rogers 0419 867 649