Monday, October 22, 2018

Apology for child abuse survivors

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.



“Each of the 15 people interviewed for the report was profoundly cleaved, their sexual and religious identities at war. Each spoke of conversion therapy’s insistence upon their ‘brokenness’, and of their mistaking the inefficacy of it for their own incurable sinfulness. It dangerously compounded their self-hatred.”


“It was in the early 1970s at Papunya that the fortuitous conjunction of a highly strung young schoolteacher, some senior Aboriginal lawmen, and a plan to paint a school mural gave rise to what became the Western Desert painting movement. The story of Geoffrey Bardon and the canon of first-generation desert painters is part of our Indigenous art history.”


“Half of all marine vertebrates gone in 40 years. A third of large fish in Australian waters gone in the past decade. Ninety per cent of the world’s fisheries already at their limits or beyond. These figures speak to a reality few want to acknowledge, and the decline is made even more shocking by the fact that it has taken place so rapidly.”


“Scott Morrison has told the Liberal Party it must own the disastrous Wentworth by-election result, saying it paid ‘a big price’ for its latest leadership coup ... ‘The Liberal Party has paid a big price tonight for the events of several months ago’, he told the party faithful.”


“Josh Frydenberg has insisted the government’s climate policies are ‘settled’ despite acknowledging the issue was a factor in the Wentworth byelection, where the government suffered a battering on Saturday night. Frydenberg brushed aside suggestions the Morrison government needs to overhaul its climate action policies, saying its suite of existing measures were enough to ‘meet and beat’ Australia’s emission reduction pledges.”


“As conservationists, they decorated almost exclusively with secondhand furniture. The large closets – ‘the biggest I’ve had in my life’, Sinclair said – have enough storage space for the craft materials she uses for her feminist tableware line,”

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.