Australia military abuse apology 'rushed'

2012-11-27 13:02
Stephen Smith. (File, AFP)

Stephen Smith. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Sydney - Australia's apology to sex abuse victims in the military was criticised on Tuesday as too rushed to allow the victims to witness it, even as it was welcomed as a necessary step.

When then-prime minister Kevin Rudd apologised in 2008 to the Aboriginal "stolen generations" of people taken from their families, large crowds were in Canberra to witness the historic occasion inside and outside parliament.

But when Defence Minister Stephen Smith delivered the apology to those abused in the military in parliament on Monday, his speech came just hours after the announcement that it would be made.

"The substance of the apology was great, the timing was lousy," Independent Senator Nick Xenophon said.

"It's baffling as to why he didn't give warning to victims and victim groups in order that they could actually be in the chamber. That's part of the healing process."

Smith said the most important thing was that the apology was made in a timely matter. "My worry is that if it wasn't done now, it wouldn't be done until next year," he told Sky News.

"This is unlike some of the other apologies we've seen where you've had longstanding groups in the community agitating for a change of view that's important to Australian society.

"On this occasion, we've had people who... don't want any publicity, want their privacy protected. And in the end, the most important thing is the giving of the apology."

Independent task force

John Dawe, who was subjected to an unofficial initiation rite in the navy in 2008, agreed he would not have wanted to witness the apology but his wife and father would have wanted to attend.

"If we had known in time it would have meant a lot to be there," he told The Australian newspaper.

In announcing the apology, Smith said he would also establish an independent task force to individually assess around 775 plausible allegations of sexual or other abuse uncovered by a report commissioned by the government last year.

The task force would be able to refer appropriate matters to police for formal criminal investigation and assessment for prosecution, and is likely to investigate some people still serving in the military.

A capped compensation fund will also be set up with the task force, deciding who qualifies for up to $52 000 each.

Former army chief Peter Leahy welcomed Smith's actions. "An apology was necessary," Leahy said. "It's a pity it wasn't made by the perpetrators."

The abuse claims stem from the 1950s to the present day, involving both men and women.

Read more on:    australia
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

ANCYL: Not voting would be blasphemy

Not voting in the forthcoming elections would be blasphemy, the ANCYL says in a statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of struggle icon Nelson Mandela's Rivonia trial speech.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia Lumia 800

The stunningly social Nokia Lumia 800 features head-turning design, ...

From R2395.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you by...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.