News, media releases

Commission of Inquiry terms welcomed but focus now needs to be on independence of President

  • Labor welcomes wide scope of draft terms of reference
  • Now important that truly independent President and Commissioners appointed
  • Important moment in Tasmania’s history must ensure survivors are supported

Labor has welcomed the release of draft terms of reference for the pending Commission of inquiry into historic child sexual abuse allegations but has urged the Liberal Government to now appoint a truly independent chair.

Shadow Attorney General Ella Haddad said it was critical the government appoint a trusted and qualified President to chair the inquiry in the best interests of transparency and true independence.

“We welcome the fact that the terms of reference have been delivered,” Ms Haddad said.

“Now the government must focus on appointing an independent President and in a smaller jurisdiction like Tasmania that person must be from another state to ensure there are no conflicts of interest.

“The allegations that have come to light in recent weeks and months are deeply worrying and the Commission is an historic opportunity to fully investigate and ensure that no stone is left unturned.

“This is going to be an extremely traumatic and difficult experience for survivors of sexual abuse and a confronting process for witnesses from a broad scope of government agencies and other organisations.

“It’s crucial the right support is put in place to assist survivors and witnesses through what is going to be a painful and stressful process.

“In light of what we learned with the release of the North West COVID outbreak report earlier this month – that staff were afraid of repercussions if they spoke out – that support has never been more imperative.

“Tasmanians making submissions or giving evidence to the Commission should not be prevented from doing so because fear is a barrier.”

Ella Haddad MP
Shadow Attorney General