The NSW Government has failed to remove the outdated and dangerous practice of priests and ministers using the seal of the confessional to avoid reporting child sexual abuse to the police. This was one of the most important symbolic recommendations from the Royal Commission.
While the government has committed to implementing a minority of the Royal Commission’s 85 criminal justice recommendations, it’s headline grabbing plan for life sentences is not a recommendation from the Royal Commission.
Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“This shows a real lack of courage from the Government, children must be protected ahead of the interests of any church or religion and that means abolishing the ‘sanctity’ of the confession.
“Abolishing the secrecy of the confessional was one of the most important recommendations from the Royal Commission but rather than taking leadership, this government pushed this question off to COAG.
“Instead of putting children first, by failing to remove the seal of the confessional, the government has shown just how captured it is by the religious right in its ranks.
“While we welcome the government finally moving to implement our long-standing proposal to fix the unfairly lenient sentences handed down to historical child sex offenders, there is so much left undone with this announcement.
“What’s most remarkable is that the NSW Government’s headline grabbing plan for life sentences was not even a recommendation of the Royal Commission.
“We are yet to see the legislation but the very real concern is that once gain the failed law and order politics in NSW has trumped the hard work and principled reforms recommended by the Royal Commission.
“There are many more urgent recommendations from the Royal Commission that the government could implement today including giving all victims access to fair compensation, reforming archaic court rules and making institutions properly accountable.
“The Greens will closely review this legislation and move to amend it to ensure far more of the Royal Commission’s recommendations are implemented as soon as possible,” Mr Shoebridge said.