Minister’s Statement

There is nothing more important than all of us doing what we can to protect children. We have had years of evidence from hundreds of courageous victims like the Fosters, Leonie Sheedy and hundreds more who have come forward, shared their heartbreak and talked about how lives have been destroyed and about the lasting impact of these heinous crimes. The Betrayal of Trust inquiry and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard about the systemic cover-ups that were perpetrated, particularly by the Catholic Church. It heard evidence of offenders confessing their crimes and no action being taken to protect children—no action at all. This is why the government introduced a bill yesterday to support and implement the royal commission’s recommendation to make religious leaders mandatory reporters and importantly to remove the confessional seal. Protecting kids should not need anything to review—it should not need anything to think about. History will show that when the Liberal leader had to choose between protecting children and protecting the Church he instinctively chose to go against the child. Let us all work together to protect children and put children’s safety first in Victoria.