On Tuesday 17 October, NT Senator Nampijinpa Price moved an urgency motion in the Senate.
The urgency motions stated:
The need for Prime Minister Albanese to support the Opposition’s call for a Royal Commission into child sexual abuse in Indigenous communities, to audit spending on Indigenous programs, and to support practical policy ideas to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians to help Close the Gap.
The urgency motion was defeated (Ayes 26, Noes 31).
Senator Pocock did not support the urgency motion.
Senator Pocock said:
It’s clear from all the data that we need to do much more to prevent child sexual abuse right across our country. It’s nothing short of horrific that in Australia the prevalence of child sexual abuse sits at 28.5%.
But advocates, experts and First Nations elders in the ACT are united in saying that what is needed isn’t another Royal Commission but more funding for frontline services.
SNAICC, The Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care, has said unequivocally that, “Another Royal Commission is not a solution. There have been more than 22 reports into allegations of abuse and neglect in our communities since the Bringing them Home report in 1997.”
In 2017, the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child abuse handed down its final report. That was a critically important inquiry whose work continues to have an impact today including through the establishment of the National Office for Child Safety.
I also recognise the work underway as part of our country’s first ever dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan developed in partnership with First Nations Peoples as part of the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032.
The Coalition had nine years in which to stand up a Royal Commission but they chose not to. The recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody still haven’t been implemented by successive Coalition and Labor Governments. We need more urgent action.