Gillard still valued by sex abuse victimsOn 08/07/2019 by admin
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.