LUCY Turnbull Targeted for Salvos Support
April 6, 2016
Lucy Turnbull has come under fire for launching the Salvation Army's $74 million fundraising drive while abuse victims from the charity's children's homes await compensation.
The prominent businesswoman and prime minister's wife launched the charity's annual Red Shield Appeal in front of about 500 supporters, including former NSW governor Professor Dame Marie Bashir, in Sydney on Wednesday.
She pledged $50,000 to the appeal on behalf of her family's charitable trust, the Turnbull Foundation.
But survivors of abuse at Salvation Army children's homes criticised Mrs Turnbull's involvement with the charity, which they say refuses to fully back a national redress scheme for abuse victims.
Thirteen members of the support group Care Leavers Australia Network protested outside the Westin hotel in Sydney's CBD as Mrs Turnbull addressed the Red Shield Appeal launch.
"We have no national redress and here she is supporting the Red Shield Appeal," CLAN chief executive Leonie Sheedy told AAP.
"Will the prime minister's wife do a fundraiser for the Christian Brothers next?"
Mrs Turnbull, a former chair of the Red Shield Appeal, said governments, charities and churches were taking positive steps towards redress for survivors.
"Importantly the focus of redress is about providing recognition for the survivor, not protecting the institution's interests," she told the Red Shield Appeal launch.
"The Salvation Army has acknowledged that many children entrusted to its care in decades past suffered horrific abuse and that this abuse is the greatest failure in its history and I congratulate the Salvation Army for confronting this."
Mrs Turnbull reminded the audience of how when her husband Malcolm Turnbull was opposition leader in 2009 he joined the then prime minister Kevin Rudd in apologising to abuse victims.
But she said while Australia must respond to "what has been hidden in the shadows", it was important not to forget how the Salvos support more than one million people a year.
Ms Sheedy says that while the Salvos have publicly supported a national compensation scheme, the charity has indicated it wants control over the process and money.
"When you see the money spent here today at this launch, it's obscene," she said.
The Salvation Army has been the subject of three royal commission hearings into abuse at homes run by the charity in NSW, Queensland and South Australia, as well as its handling of compensation for survivors.
The federal government has previously rejected the notion of a national redress scheme, saying it would be too complex.
It is working on a national approach for state and territory schemes.
The Red Shield Appeal doorknock is on May 28 and 29.