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'As a nation, we failed them. We forsook them. And that will always be our shame.'

PM Scott Morrison delivers national apology to victims of institutional child sexual abuse

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in delivering a national apology to survivors of institutional sexual abuse, said he was angry at those in the church, “who have abused the shield of faith and religion to hide their crimes. A shield that is supposed to protect the innocent  … they stand condemned.”

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The apology was delivered at Parliament House in Canberra this morning.

Morrison got emotional when talking about his personal response as a father of two girls himself. “I am angry, too,” he said in the televised speech.

“Today we confront a question too horrible to ask, let alone answer: why weren’t the children of our nation loved, nurtured and protected? Why was their trust betrayed? Why did those who know cover it up? Why were the cries of parents ignored? … Why has it taken so long to act? … Why didn’t we believe?”

Morrison said the nation gathered to “finally acknowledge and confront the lost screams of our children.”

“As a nation, we failed them. We forsook them. And that will always be our shame.”

Morrison said the government was now actively working on the recommendations of the Royal Commission, and committed to reporting back on progress in December this year, while acknowledging, “Nothing we do will right the wrongs.”

To those institutions who have not yet signed on to the national redress scheme, Morrison said, “Justice, decency and the beliefs and values we share as Australians insists that they sign on.”

The Prime Minister also announced funding for a national museum that will help Australia “to learn from our past horrors” of the abuses children suffered in institutions in Australia. The museum will keep the stories of survivors front and centre. It is likely to be curated by the National Archives, and to be exhibited physically and online, much like the Forced Adoptions Project and exhibition that was created in response to the recommendations that were part of then Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s National Apology to Victims of Forced Adoption in 2013.

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