A memorial tree sculpture commemorates the suffering of child abuse victims and survivors.FULL TEXT OF ABUSE APOLOGY:
Today the Australian Government and this parliament, on behalf of all Australians, unreservedly apologises to the victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.
For too many years our eyes and hearts were closed to the truths we were told by children.
For too many years governments and institutions refused to acknowledge the darkness that lay within our community.
Today, we reckon with our past and commit to protect children now and into the future.
Today, we apologise for the pain, suffering and trauma inflicted upon victims and survivors as children, and for its profound and ongoing impact.
As children, you deserved care and protection. Instead, the very people and institutions entrusted with your care failed you. You suffered appalling physical and mental abuse, and endured horrific sexual crimes.
As fellow Australians, we apologise for this gross betrayal of trust and for the fact that organisations with power over children — schools; religious organisations; governments; orphanages; sports and social clubs; and charities — were left unchecked.
Today, we say we are sorry. Sorry that you were not protected, sorry that you were not listened to. We are sorry for refusing to trust the words of children, for not believing you.
As we say sorry, we also say we believe you. We say what happened was not your fault.
We are sorry that perpetrators of abuse were relocated and shielded rather than held to account, that records have been withheld and destroyed, and accountability avoided.
We are sorry that the justice and child welfare systems that should have protected you, were at times used to perpetrate yet more injustices against you.
We apologise for the lifelong impacts this abuse has had on your health, your relationships, and your ability to live life to its full potential.
We also extend this apology to your children, your parents, siblings, families, friends and supporters; all those who have helped carry the burden of your experiences and helped advocate for accountability.
We regret that your children’s lives have been changed and relationships have been broken by the enduring effects of abuse.
We hear the rage, despair and hurt of parents whose trust was betrayed along with your own.
We admit that we failed to protect the most vulnerable people in our society from those who abused their power.
Our community believed people and institutions who did not deserve our trust, instead of believing the children who did.
Because of our inaction, too many victims are no longer with us to hear this apology.
They did not live to see the justice they deserved. But today we remember them, and we extend this apology, along with our sincere sympathies, to their families, friends and supporters.
As we say sorry, we honour the courage of survivors and advocates who spoke out to expose sexual abuse in our institutions, often at great personal cost.
Your voices saved lives. Your bravery has allowed us to uncover this dark chapter of our national life and understand what we must now do to protect children.
We also acknowledge the many victims and survivors who have not spoken of their abuse. Your suffering is no less anguished for your silence.
Together, as a government, a parliament and a community we must all play a role in the protection of children from abuse.
We must accept our responsibility to keep our eyes and ears open and speak out to keep our children safe.
We must listen to children and believe what they tell us.
Child sexual abuse is a serious criminal act, and a violation of Australian law. Perpetrators must and will be held to account.
Today, we commit to take action, to build awareness in our community and strengthen our systems to promote children’s safety across Australia.
We commit to ensuring that all of our institutions are child-safe.
We know that we must and will do better to protect all children in Australia from abuse and that our actions will give true and practical meaning to this apology.
Our children deserve nothing less.
It’s often been said that one of the manychallenges facing those who have been sexually assaulted is the fear that others won’t believe them. The concept ofbelief played a key role in the historic national apology to child victims of sexual abuse at Parliament House on Monday.
“It reflects all of the sentiments that I have expressed on behalf of the Australian people, this parliament and our government, and I table that and, as I do, I simply say I believe you, we believe you, your country believes you,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at the close of his address.
It’s a sad twist of fate that on the same morning NSW Police issued a statement saying a reported daylight, publicsexual assault of a young girl in the Hunter last week did not happen.
The 14-year-old raised the alarm on Wednesday after she was reportedly dragged into the bush only a few metres from a cluster of homesat Windale and sexually assaulted at knife point. The attack was described as “brazen” and “shocking” by senior police, who threw a significantamount of resources into their effort to catch the man the teenager described to them.
Police from the State Crime Command’s Sex Crimes Squad were enlisted to help Lake Macquarie police withthe investigation into the allegations. Neighbours expressed shock and fear after the reported attack, many with children of their own, wondering how something so repulsive could happen a stone’s throw from their backyards.
But on Monday morning, police labelled it a “false report” andsaid officers had spoken with the teenager and support services were being offered to her.
As news broke, reactions ranged fromanger toconcern for the teenager.
It’s important to remember that we are talking about a 14-year-old –a child. Most of us have no real insight into her life or circumstances.Few would have argued, based on the facts that emerged last week, that any delay to the investigation was an acceptable option.
It is vital anynext step is driven by clarifying the consequences of a false report rather than any punitive urge.Ultimately, it’svital that believingthe brave peoplewho step forward and report instances of sexual assault or abuse takes priority over preservation of resources. Both authorities and the public must ensure that the benefit of the doubt stays with those who need it most.
A copy of Stephen Hawking’s book with his thumbprint autograph is among items being auctioned.Possessions belonging to late physicist and cosmic visionary Stephen Hawking, including his doctoral thesis, one of the world’s most iconic wheelchairs and a script from “The Simpsons”, are going under the hammer.
Auction house Christies is handing the sale featuring 22 items from Hawking, including his thesis on the origins of the universe, some of his many awards, and scientific papers such as “Spectrum of Wormholes” and “Fundamental Breakdown of Physics in Gravitational Collapse.”
Thomas Venning, head of Christies’ books and manuscripts department, said the papers “trace the development of his thought – this brilliant, electrifying intelligence.”
“You can see each advance as he produced it and introduced it to the scientific community,” Venning said.
Hawking’s fame rests only partly on his scientific status as the cosmologist who put black holes on the map.
Diagnosed with motor neuron disease at 22 and given just a few years to live, he survived for decades, dying in March at 76.
The auction includes one of five existing copies of Hawking’s 1965 Cambridge University Ph.D. thesis, “Properties of Expanding Universes,” which carries an estimated price of GBP100,000 ($A184,000) to GBP150,000.
Venning said the thesis, signed by Hawking in handwriting made shaky by his illness, is both a key document in the physicist’s scientific evolution and a glimpse into his personal story.
“He was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) just as he arrived in Cambridge to begin his Ph.D. studies,” Venning said. “He gave up his studies for a time because he was so despondent.
The thesis “was the fruit of him reapplying himself to his scientific work,” Venning said, and Hawking “kept it beside him for the rest of his life.”
The disease eventually left Hawking almost completely paralysed. He communicated through a voice-generating computer and moved in a series of high-tech wheelchairs. One is included in the sale, with an estimated price of GBP10,000 to GBP15,000.
Proceeds from its sale will go to two charities, the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
The items – part of a science sale that includes papers by Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein – will be on display in London for several days from October 30. The auction is open for bids between October 31 and November 8.
Julia Gillard who established the royal commission into child sex abuse isn’t forgotten by victims.It might be five years since Julia Gillard left politics, but her role in setting up the royal commission into child sex abuse will never be forgotten by victims.
During apology speeches from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Ms Gillard received rousing applause every time her name was mentioned.
It did not matter where survivors were gathered around Parliament House – lawns out the front, in the House of Representatives gallery, or the Great Hall – the former prime minister’s contribution to the cause is clearly appreciated.
She listened to the speeches in the chamber, before the audience at a later ceremony in the Great Hall heckled organisers to briefly let her speak.
Emotions were always going to run a high on such an important day for many Australia.
On filing out of the public gallery after the apology, many people – young and old – wept and embraced loved ones at their pain and suffering being recognised.
But arguably the most telling reaction came during Mr Shorten’s reply speech.
The Labor leader recalled a story about a victim who said he would not be travelling to Canberra for the apology.
“He said ‘these apologies are only so politicians can look good in front of the public’,” Mr Shorten said.
The yells and sheer noise from inside a close-to-capacity Great Hall at those words summed up how let down by the system victims feel.
On lawns outside Parliament House a few dozen people gathered to watch the apology being shown live onto a big screen.
Seated under gazebos erected on Federation Mall, the crowd sat in silence throughout the official proceedings.
Before them, a handful of people opted instead to disperse across chairs which could have catered for many more.
Along with the clear support for Ms Gillard, their collective quiet was broken only for Labor frontbencher Jenny Macklin and her fierce advocacy on behalf of survivors.
IN THE SWING: James Nitties has his sights set on topping the Australian money list. The 35-year-old will tee up in the West Australian Open starting Thursday. Picture: Ryan OslandThe Australasian order of merit is a big deal for James Nitties.
It’s the 35-year-old’s best chance of earning a return to one of the major tours.
It’s also the reason he made the long trip to Perth this week to compete at the $100,000 Western Australia Open.
Nitties sits third on the order of merit, having pocketed $188,156, approaching the main part of the season.
Daniel Nisbet heads the money list with $218,648. The leading player,not otherwise exempt, following the season-ending Australian PGA at Royal Pines (Nov 29-Dec 2) secures full status on the European Tour in 2019 as well as a start in the Open Championship and two World Golf Championshipevents.
“I’m trying to make as much money as I can for the moneylist,” Nitties said from Melbourne where he finished tied for 30th at the The Eynesbury Masters. “If I took Perth off and I ended up losing by $100, I would be a little angry. It’s rare that that would happen. I’m just giving myself every opportunity and I’d rather be playing than having a week off.”
After Perth, Nitties will tee up at the Queensland Open (Nov 1-4), NSW Open (Nov 8-11), Australian Open (Nov 15-18) and Australian PGA.
“I am pretty excited about the remainder of the year,” he said. “I’m hungry and pumped to be playing golf.”
Perth will be Nitties’ third tournament back after taking five weeks off to return to the US and visit his girlfriend.
“It was pretty chilled,” he said.” I just hung out with the missus, watched a bit of football and got away from it for a bit. Since I’ve been home I’veplayed 10 rounds of golf and it has poured rain in six of them. Cold and rainy is not my strength. The body is a bit old for that.I just want to be ready for the big three [tournaments] and play myself back into form in the next two weeks.”
He has been workingwith coach, Jason Laws, mainly on his short game.
“The game could be a little bit sharper,” Nitties said. “My putting is just so up and down. I’m trying to get consistently confident with what I’m doing. Try to clear the mind so I can hole some putts.I’m not yipping putts or anything. I just need to see some go in and the rest of the game becomes a little easier.”
Blake Windred, who is a member of the Australian Amateur team, is also in the WA Open field
* Nathan Green continued his love affair with Royal Sydney when he won a 36-hole invitational pro-am onSunday.
Green carded three-over to win the title for a second straight year. Green led the 2006 Australian Open for two rounds at the famous Rose Bay layout after opening with a five-under 67.
* Taree’s Reid Brown fired a two-under 69 to win the Toronto Cup on Saturday. Mick Browning also went two-under but had a prior engagement in the afternoon and forfeited the play-off. Brian Carmichael and Mark Ellison were equal third at even par.
* Matt Stieger fired an 11-under 61 to win the Land Rover Charlestown big hole pro-am last Tuesday.
Stieger finished three strokes in front of Leigh McKechnie and Jake Higginbottom.Ben Wedmaier won the $1000 shoot out at the 18thhole.
* Charlestown professional Ryan Smith was a finalist in the Golf NSW coach of the year award presented on Monday night. The other finalists were NSW Golf High Performance coach Dean Kinney and Khan Pullen, who coaches Australian Open winner Cameron Davis.
Charlestown’s Blake Windred was a finalist in the player of the year.
* Jake Higgingbotton headed to Delhi this week for the India Open full of confidence after winning the $11,000 Waratahpro-am on Saturday.
Higginbottom went on a birdie blitz to finish six under, two strokes clear of Stieger andDavidVan Raalte.
The 25-year-old is 70th on the Asian Tour money list and needs to earn about $20,000 in the final four events to retain his card.
* Muree’s Brayden Brooks carded a three-over 73 to win the Merewether Junior Classic on Sunday from his younger brother Jaxon. Nelson Bay 13-year-old Felix Kaluski won thenett with 68. Lanna New, who is only nine, won the girl’s nett with 74.
Former Murray Goulburn managing director Gary Helou (centre) in happier times with former prime minister Tony Abbott (right) and former Victorian premier Denis Napthine. Photo: Penny StephensMurray Goulburn’s chairman, Philip Tracy, claims the co-operative’s board and management were vigilant at all times, despite it posting a monstrous profit downgrade and slashing milk payments to farmers.
Murray Goulburn’s managing director, Gary Helou, resigned this week after he massively overestimated sales figures, sparking anger from farmers.
The co-operative, Australia’s biggest milk processor, will now struggle to meet half of its net profit forecast outlined in the prospectus for its partial float on the ASX less than a year ago.
But Mr Tracy did not blame Mr Helou, who has been replaced by former Fonterra executive and Murray Goulburn’s business operations manager, David Mallinson.
“The sheer size of the miss between the forecast and what the actual outcome caught us all by surprise, including Gary,” Mr Tracy said.
But this did not mean Murray Goulburn’s board had been lax in its duties, Mr Tracy said.
He said the gulf between the forecast and actual figures came after sales of its Devondale-branded milk powder surged 300 per cent in the six months to December 31.
Mr Helou thought the co-operative could generate even more growth this half because it could not produce enough powder to meet demand. But after increasing production, a slowdown hit during Chinese New Year in February.
The board discovered the gap last Tuesday when it reviewed the sales figures for the March quarter.
“We saw a bit of a recovery in March …but it wasn’t the growth we were expecting or required to meet our targets. That’s why we need to make more inquiry,” Mr Tracy said.
Sales were knocked further in April after China’s introduced new regulations on cross border online sales, leading to some Murray Goulburn products being temporarily withdrawn from Alibaba’s Tmall, a popular Chinese website.
“Naturally when you’re in a rapidly developing market – we had seen 300 per cent growth in … adult dairy powders in the first half – you need to be vigilant and the board and management were vigilant,” Mr Tracy said.
“I think Gary certainly owned his forecasts and said “these are my numbers”. That’s why I think he took the action he took [resigned].
“For the board, I say, it certainly crystallises the need to really focus on the process and execution of the strategy and also to get as much transparency of the data and as live as possible.”
Mr Tracy also said the cut to farm gate price – the first since the financial crisis – from $5.60 to $4.75-$5 a kilogram, would be much lower if the company didn’t switch from commodities to consumer brand products.
In the past 12 months, the price of global dairy commodities has tumbled 45 per cent, compared with Murray Goulburn’s cut to the farm gate price of as much as 15 per cent.
“Look far at bulk commodities have fallen. Even after this adjustment – the comparison is still stark, so we know the strategy is delivering.”
Murray Goulburn expects to generate full year net profit of $39 million to $42 million. This compared to its prospectus forecast of $89 million, and is significantly lower than its revision released to the market two months ago of $63 million.
Farmers and investors have criticised Murray Goulburn’s communication to the market.
For example, the co-operative issued a statement to the ASX last Monday saying it did not expect China’s new regulations to e-commerce to materially hit earnings. Meanwhile Mr Helou was upbeat about Murray Goulburn’s long-term prospects at The Australian’s Global Food Forum last Wednesday – a day after the board raised its concerns about the co-operative’s sales.
Respected agribusiness analyst Belinda Moore said Murray Goulburn’s sales and profit forecasts had been “overly aggressive” and the co-operative had been caught out “overpromising”.
“The downgrade is particularly disappointing given management’s recent announcements to the ASX and press comments”.
But she believed units in the co-operative’s listed trust, which have plummeted more than 40 per cent $1.25 this week, had been oversold.
Ms Moore said Murray Goulburn’s debt levels were within the limits of its policy and its spending on factory upgrades were underpinned by long-term contracts, such as 10 year deal to supply Coles with its home brand milk and cheese.
“However, until new management is in place and there is greater certainty over the company’s strategic direction and financial price, we move to a hold and a $1.38 price target.”