Victorian Government backs release of unredacted Royal Commission findings on child sex abuse
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
April 27, 2020
|The decision about releasing the unredacted findings rests with Christian Porter.|
Photo by James Carmody
|A spokesperson for Victoria's Attorney General, Jill Hennessy, said there were no impediments to the unredacted reports now being published.|
Photo by Andrew Ware
Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter says he has sought final advice from his department on the release of unpublished documents relating to Cardinal George Pell's handling of child sexual abuse complaints.
Victoria's Attorney General, Jill Hennessy, yesterday wrote to Mr Porter, saying there were no legal impediments to prevent the release of unredacted portions of the findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
"Now that this response has been received I have sought final advice from my department on the release of the documents and will proceed upon receipt of that advice which I expect as soon as possible," Mr Porter said.
The unanimous High Court decision acquitting George Pell earlier this month cleared the way for the release of some unpublished findings of the royal commission relating to his evidence about the way in which allegations of abuse were handled in the Catholic diocese of Ballarat.
Cardinal Pell was questioned about what he may have known about paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale and the offending of other priests.
He was also scrutinised about the Catholic Church's hardline approach to sexual abuse cases during his time as archbishop of Sydney.
At the time of Cardinal Pell's acquittal by the High Court, Mr Porter said he wanted to work with his state counterparts before tabling the unredacted reports in Parliament.
"It does require some liaison between my office and Victorian authorities, investigative and prosecutorial, to make sure that further tabling with less redaction would not prejudice any future investigations of a number of types," he said earlier this month.
Asked this morning about the release of the findings, Premier Daniel Andrews said the royal commission had been a "harrowing process" for victims of child sexual abuse.
"I think it's very important that those documents be released and that those victims know and understand exactly what was said, what testimony was given, what evidence was given, that's really, really important," he said.
"They were redacted because there were matters on foot, there were matters on trial.
"Those matters are over so now there's no reason to keep that secret and I think victims and their families and the memory of those victims who aren't with us anymore, they are owed that information."
A Victorian Government spokesperson said yesterday "the removal of redactions is entirely a matter for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse".
"The Government is not aware of any impediments to the unredacted versions of the reports being tabled and published at this time," the spokesperson said.