Royal Commission nto child sex abuse - confidentiality

by Listener 6 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • Listener

    This was reported in the West Australian Newspaper yesterday

    "Victims' agreements no bar for abuse inquiry - The head of the royal commission into child sex abuse has warned institutions they will not be able to hide behind confidential.ity agreements to stymie scrutiny of their conduct or stop victims speaking out.
    In his first public comments since his appointment, Justice Peter McClellan said the commission wold not hesitate to use its power to compel organisations to give evidence if deemed to be necessary for the inquiry...
    Some legal experts had suggested that the royal commission would not be able to override confidentiality agreements signed by victims when settling claims against organisations but Justice McClellan made clear the agreements would not be a barrier.
    "We wish to empasise that under the Royal Commission Act, the commission has powers to compel the production of evidence, including documents, an we will not hesitate in an appropriate case to exercise those powers" Justice McClellan said.
    Commissioners would collect evidence in public where possible but he acknowledged some witnesses might be reluctant to air their stories in an open forum. In those cases, proceedings could take place in private and real names not used, he said."

    Sounds like this is going to be a very thorough investigation.

  • cantleave

    Lets hope enough victims come forward to expose the WTS.

  • ABibleStudent

    I'm sure that Steven UnThank will present evidence to the Commission about the WTBTS and how government agencies were not enforcing Victorian Child Protection Laws until he started prosecuting the WTBTS.

    Peace be with you and everyone, who you love,


  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    My Anglican forum had a notice about the commission. I posted about Unthank. The other members who seemed to know their stuff and were Australian said the work of the commission has not begun. My understanding was that Unthank appeared before a comm'n but I also recall staements about a court.

    If the commission is just established now, Unthank could not have appeared before them.

    Confused. Can someone help clear this up?

  • Listener

    I understand it to be as follows:

    The State of Victoria set up an Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Organisations and this was done through the Victorian Parliament. There were hearings and submissions with Unthank making an appearance and being restricted to thef 'terms of reference'.

    The Federal Government decided that the matter was of such great importance that a Royal Commission was required and announced they would set one up. A Royal Commission has a lot of power and it is generally more than that of a judge. As mentioned in the article above, they may be able to void confidentiality agreements and have suggested they will do so. Public hearings for this Royal Commission have not begun and no dates have been set. It is expected to take a significant amount of time and this is likely to mean years.

    The Victorian Inquiry is still ongoing. This is a summary of a couple of media releases from the Victorian Parliament

    13 NOVEMBER 2012 — Media comment regarding announcement of Royal Commission

    From Ms Georgie Crozier MP, Committee Chair

    "The Inquiry's work thus far has bought to light important revelations that have been key to the Federal Government deciding to call a royal commission."
    "From our part, a significant amount of work has already been undertaken and there is more we can achieve but we obviously need further detail of the federal inquiry including its terms of reference before making any changes to our work."

    12 NOVEMBER 2012 — Media comment regarding announcement of Royal Commission

    From a spokesperson for the Committee

    "The Premier has tonight released a statement saying that the Victorian Government will work to appropriately bring together the work of the Victorian Parliamentary Committee's inquiry and the federal inquiry."

    "The Committee has already undertaken a significant amount of work and until we receive further detail of the Commonwealth's

    approach, we will continue to progress our work on this important issue."

  • ABibleStudent

    Royal Commission Press Conference held on 01/11/2013 - "The Commission will prepare an interim report by no later than 30 June 2014 so that governments and organisations can start taking action on the Commission's early findings and recommendations."

    The initial findings could be released in less than a year and a half. GO AUSSIES!!!!

    Read the thread AUSTRALIA: January 11, 2013 - Terms of Reference for Child Abuse Royal Commission for more information.

    Peace be with you and everyone, who you love,


  • Aussie Oz
    Aussie Oz

    This will take more than one and a half years.

    While this is a great step and may do some good, i think it be be a lame dog. Royal commissions in our country are renowned for being total wastes of time and resources, It will cost many many millions, issue a report that will get bounced around and disected, another commision will examine the firsts report and make a few recomendations that will make complience of some new laws compulsory at best and at worst reject the findings of the first. The WT will be the only one to not follow through and will get away with it for another 10 years before another 'Unthank' brings it to the governments attention so they can declare it is not in the public interest again.

    It annoys me no end that governments go through the motions of 'looking like they are doing something' while really doing sweet nothing. They KNOW there is a problem, one govt dept with appropriate powers could dig all the dirt needed to bury these institutions.

    Instead we will have blah blah blah for the next 3 years while they talk about whether or not to do something about what they already know. They will bring in witness after witness, expert after expert and try to decide if they can legally do this or that. The likelyhood of them enforcing changes of religions policies is very low. Even our athiest prime minister said recently regarding our discrimination laws that the chuches were exempted from laws and could continue to discriminate against gays as they follow the bible as their faith.

    sorry i am not an optomist! I hope i am proven wrong and have to eat my words, but i have seen how the various state and federal governments, police and judicial systems promise everything and deliver nothing on important social ills such as workplace bullying and various institutions rights to run amuck unchecked because of technicalities of words and loopholes. I expect the same with this. While I cannot speak for Mr Unthank, perhaps even he would have doubts about any real outcome after the way his efforts were thwarted last year in Victoria.



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