Friday 19 July 2019

Australian PM makes national abuse apology

Australian PM Scott Morrison (Chris Pavlich/AAP Image via AP)
Australian PM Scott Morrison (Chris Pavlich/AAP Image via AP)

Paula Scribe in Sydney

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has issued a national apology to thousands of victims of institutional sex abuse, admitting the state failed to stop "evil, dark crimes" over decades.

"This was done by Australians to Australians, enemies in our midst," Mr Morrison said in an emotional address to parliament, designed as a belated apology to the 15,000 known survivors of child abuse.

"As a nation, we failed them, we forsook them, and that will always be our shame," he said, recounting abuse an inquiry has shown was rife in schools, churches, orphanages, sports clubs and other institutions.

Mr Morrison held back tears and his voice cracked as he recounted a history of exploitation, cover-ups and state failure. He declared a new national credo for future allegations: "We believe you."

It comes after a five-year Royal Commission detailed child sex abuse claims in once trusted institutions.

"Today, we say sorry, to the children we failed. Sorry. To the parents whose trust was betrayed and who have struggled to pick up the pieces. Sorry. To the whistleblowers, who we did not listen to. Sorry," Mr Morrison said.

"To the spouses, partners, wives, husbands, children, who have dealt with the consequences of the abuse, cover-ups and obstruction. Sorry. To generations past and present. Sorry."

Irish Independent

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