Prime minister Scott Morrison will issue a national apology to victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse today. More than 1000 people, including former prime minister Julia Gillard, will be in Canberra for the apology, which was recommended by the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse last year. Morrison will commit to annual reports for the next five years on progress in implementing the royal commission’s recommendations, as well as a national museum and place of remembrance. Speaking to the ABC, survivor Katie, 96, said sexual abuse was “a lifetime sentence”, and that she would be travelling to Canberra with her daughter.
Independent candidate Kerryn Phelps has likely won the Wentworth byelection after a day of unpredictable swings in the vote count. Phelps claimed victory soon after polls closed on Saturday, with results from election day indicating she had won roughly 54 per cent of the two-candidate-preferred vote. However, pre-poll and postal votes heavily favoured Liberal candidate Dave Sharma, narrowing the provisional result to just over 1 per cent with several thousand votes to be counted. The Australian Electoral Commission awarded several hundred more votes to Phelps after checking counting discrepancies at several booths, likely giving her enough of a buffer to win. ABC election analyst Antony Green said on Sunday that Phelps was “still favoured” to win the seat, although a margin of less than 100 votes would trigger an automatic recount.
Charity White Ribbon has reaffirmed its support for women’s reproductive rights after a furious public backlash to a change in its position last week. BuzzFeed Australia reported on Thursday that White Ribbon had deleted statements about reproductive rights from its website, with chief executive Tracy McLeod saying the organisation was “agnostic until our stakeholders tell us it is important to most of them”. White Ribbon informed several sexual health clinics and pregnancy service providers of their withdrawal of support the day after the Queensland parliament legalised abortion. The controversy came a week after former NSW director of public prosecutions, Nicholas Cowdery, resigned as White Ribbon chair after making comments about convicted baby killer Keli Lane’s sex life to the ABC.
Journalist, commentator and public school advocate Jane Caro has indicated she may run as an independent candidate for the northern Sydney seat of Warringah at the next federal election. Speaking to Guardian Australia, Caro said the result in Wentworth had fuelled “a sense of urgency”, and that she would likely campaign on freeing asylum seekers from offshore detention, action on climate change, public education and public transport. A community group, Voices for Warringah, formed earlier this month to run a Cathy McGowan-style campaign against member for Warringah Tony Abbott. Caro received support from the former independent member for New England, Tony Windsor, and past Warringah candidate James Mathison, who received 11 per cent of the vote in 2016.