ABC NEWS

Tasmanian Premier announces commission of inquiry into child sex abuse

ABC NEWS logo ABC NEWS 22/11/2020 23:46:07 By state political reporter Emily Baker
a man wearing a suit and tie: The Premier said he had written to Tasmanian Governor Kate Warner for permission to roll three separate inquiries into one. (ABC News: Luke Bowden) © Provided by ABC NEWSThe Premier said he had written to Tasmanian Governor Kate Warner for permission to roll three separate inquiries into one. (ABC News: Luke Bowden)

Premier Peter Gutwein has written to the Governor to request a state-based royal commission into child sex abuse in Tasmanian institutions.

Mr Gutwein said the existing three separate inquiries into the Health Department, Education Department and Ashley Youth Detention Centre would be rolled into a broad-ranging commission of inquiry with Governor Kate Warner's permission.

"I cannot change the past but I'm committed to making a difference in the future," he said.

Mr Gutwein said the Commission of Inquiry would begin early 2021 and continue for 12 months.

A Commission of Inquiry has similar powers to Supreme Court proceedings, and can compel witnesses and evidence.

"Tasmanians should ready themselves as we move forward," Mr Gutwein said.

"With more than 200 claims already being received, we're going to see more."

On Thursday last week it was revealed three staff at the Ashley Youth Detention Centre in the state's north were stood down pending investigation into "hundreds" of serious allegations, including rape.

That prompted calls for the State Government to launch a commission of inquiry into three separate department-based inquiries.

A commission of inquiry would provide some protections for participants similar to those allowed in the Supreme Court, and would have the power to compel witnesses, apply for warrants in relation to evidence, order the Crown to pay legal costs and hold public hearings.

In regards to the separate inquiries, people could not be compelled to give evidence to each of them, and there is no guarantee the findings would be released in full.

In a statement accompanying the announcement, Mr Gutwein said he had been briefed on further allegations against current Government employees on Friday.

"They involve a teacher at a northern school who has been stood down and charged, and a Statewide Mental Health services staff member who has been stood down subject to the outcome of criminal proceedings relating to an historic allegation that did not occur in the work environment," he said.

23. marraskuuta 2020 1:46:07 Categories: ABC NEWS

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