SUBJECTS: National Apology

RICHARD PERNO: The Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services, Shadow Minister for Preventing Family Violence, Linda Burney. What did you make of the speech Linda?

LINDA BURNEY, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES, SHADOW MINISTER FOR PREVENTING FAMILY VIOLENCE, MEMBER FOR BARTON: I think every single person in the parliament was very moved. This has been a long process, of course, started by Julia Gillard in 2012. And both the speech by the Prime Minister and the speech by the Leader of the Opposition I think were very heartfelt. Quite different speeches in some ways, but in the end, recognising the bravery and the resilience and the leadership of those that were so terribly affected by you know their stay in places that were supposed to care for them when they were tiny little kids. So, it was a very moving day.

PERNO: I’m hearing you’ve been moved by not what he said, but that he said it.

BURNEY: I think you know the fact that there has been now a National Apology by the Prime Minister of this country, and the Leader of the Opposition, like Richard, I remember us talking about it back then, when Kevin Rudd made –

PERNO: Yeah.

BURNEY: - the Apology to the Stolen Generations is something that is very important. Of course there are some care leavers that didn’t attend today that will not accept the Redress – the money in the Redress scheme and will pursue their options through the courts and that’s – they’ve got every right to do that. I’m going to be responsible from the Opposition side on the implementation of the Redress scheme, and of course that’s one of the major recommendations out of the Royal Commission.

PERNO: Yeah. When Kevin Rudd stood to his feet he was – he stood very straight when he said sorry. He didn’t read much. Scott Morrison did read a lot of what he actually said. There still seems to be Linda Burney a little debate on whether we’ve made progress on the sorry from the Stolen Generation. Do you hope that sort of dragging of the chain doesn’t occur this time?

BURNEY: I think what’s every important is that the recommendations of the Royal Commission are carefully considered and taken on board by government. Of course as I said Richard the main recommendation is the Redress scheme. And there’s still a couple of states and territories to sign up to the Redress scheme but my understanding is that there is agreement on that and that there’s some tinkering around the edges and that there will be a National Redress Scheme. I guess the other point is that you know money is never going to replace broken childhoods, and I watched a program on television last night that was talking to the oldest person that was going to be here today – she’s a 96 year old woman – you know, 90 years on she still cried about her loss of innocence.

PERNO: How do they live that long Linda, with that over them in their lives?

BURNEY: I don’t know, but she was pretty fabulous. And gone on to have her own family. But she just remembers the cruelty, and it was in a catholic institution that she experienced this.

PERNO: I talk to the CEO of Sane a little earlier, Jack Heath, himself who was a victim of child sexual abuse Linda Burney. He said what we have to also realise that this is for institutional abuse of children – what about the abuse that’s currently going on in the home?

BURNEY: That’s a point that certainly Bill Shorten spoke about today. And I think the Prime Minister mentioned it as well is that, is that you know a bulk of abuse of course happens behind closed doors in private homes –

PERNO: Yeah –

BURNEY: - and that’s something that’s forever an issue, particularly at state and territory levels with family and community services but also a responsibility for all of us –

PERNO: - that’s it too.

BURNEY: - so we can’t ignore that that is a reality.

PERNO: The whole thing is now – will it end? Will this violence against kids – innocent children – end?

BURNEY: Well I hope so. I think the – certainly my sense is that the institutional issues will finish now, we would hope so. And if they – I mean I think that you know a number of churches in particular have lost a lot of credibility over this. I’ve spoken to people who were avid churchgoers and are no longer participating because of this, but I think that there have been big lessons learnt. There have been a number of apologies on the way but for some people sorry is never going to be good enough, and adequate enough, and that’s perfectly understandable.

PERNO: And for you Linda? How are you feeling now?

BURNEY: Look I really understand the issue of trauma and could just see that on the sobbing faces of many people today and the heaving shoulders and I think that the leadership politically in this country sat very quiet today and had question time cancelled at the request of the survivors and that was absolutely appropriate.

PERNO: Linda Burney thank you for sharing what you feel, the Shadow Minister for Preventing Family Violence – and we’ve got to look inside the homes too – the Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services.

BURNEY: Thank you Richard.