ACNC Chair Named as a Commissioner in Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission
Saturday, 12th January 2013 at 12:58 pm
The chair of the new charity regulator the ACNC and Productivity Commissioner, Robert Fitzgerald, is to be one of six Commissioners to oversee the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia.
The remaining commissioners include: Robert Atkinson, Justice Jennifer Coate, Professor Helen Milroy and Andrew Murray.
On announcing its formal establishment, Gillard said that the Commission will inquire into how institutions, including Not for Profits with a responsibility for children have managed and responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse and related matters.
“It will investigate where systems have failed to protect children, and make recommendations on how to improve laws, policies and practices to prevent and better respond to child sexual abuse in institutions,” Gillard said.
“The Commissioners can look at any private, public or non-government organisation that is, or was in the past, involved with children, including government agencies, schools, sporting clubs, orphanages, foster care, and religious organisations.”
Gillard said that the Commission will not specifically examine child sexual abuse outside organisations, such as in the family, however she said that any recommendations made by the Commissioners are likely to improve the response to child sexual abuse wherever it happens.
The Royal Commission will be led by Justice Peter McClellan AM. Justice McClellan currently holds one of the most senior judicial positions in New South Wales judiciary as the Chief Judge at Common Law of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
Leading Commissioner Justice McClellan comes from an extensive legal background including chairing the Sydney Water Inquiry and working on the Royal Commission into British Nuclear Tests in Australia.
Gillard said that the further five Commissioners were appointed to support the inquiry given the scope, scale and seriousness of this Royal Commission.
All Commissioners have been appointed for a period of three years and will begin their inquiry as soon as possible. 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.
In this interim report, the Commissioners will also identify when their final report will be completed. The final reporting date has been set initially at the end of 2015, but this will be subject to advice from Commissioners in their interim report.
Not for Profit Uniting Care Australia has welcomed the terms of reference and names of the commissioners.
Uniting Care national director Lin Hatfield Dodds said that the broad expertise of the six commissioners should ensure a professional and balanced approach to the essential work of the Commission.
“In our submission, we argued for the appointment of more than just one commissioner, saying a broad range of expertise was needed to deal with the volume of work that this issue will generate, in order that the Commission can deliver results in a timely manner,” Hatfield Dodds said.
“It is encouraging to see the Commission’s interim report will be delivered within 18 months and that the duration of the Commission has been left open, depending on the recommendations of the interim report.
“Regarding the terms of reference, UnitingCare Australia welcomes the establishment of an interim investigative unit. While it will not, and should not, have the power to prosecute, it will establish protocols for liaison with police and will make policy recommendations to government about how to better protect children.
The government says that the Royal Commission was established due to the “overwhelming intensity” of the stories that have come to light in recent months.