BALLARAT’S survivors have no idea what is in a Victorian government report into clergy sexual abuse due for release this morning.
But the faces of Ballarat’s abuse victims Peter Blenkiron and Andrew Collins certainly have their own wishlist.
“It’s about making sure there are never any victims again,” Mr Blenkiron said.
“It’s about accountability. It’s about protecting our children, it’s about the government saying this isn’t right.
“It’s about saying the deaths and suicides aren’t right, it’s about saying no more, this has got to stop.”
The bipartisan Family and Community Development Committee report, initially expected to be released Friday after having already been postponed twice, was put together after a year of public and private submissions, including one from the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney and former Ballarat priest George Pell.
Several local survivors made submissions at two Ballarat hearings, while Catholic Diocese of Ballarat and Christian Brothers representatives also appeared in Melbourne.
Mr Blenkiron said he hoped the recommendations would be positive and help prevent victim suicides.
He said the possibility of making it a criminal offence not to report physical or sexual abuse of children – especially if it was retrospective – would “put the cat amongst the pigeons”.
“If someone else sees something again, they will think twice about letting it happen.
“There are paedophiles still being looked after by the church. They’re better looked after than people who condone same-sex marriage and are defrocked.
“It (a new law) would have an impact on the past and an impact into the future.”
Mr Collins said he didn’t want all the recommendations to be punitive.
“And they can’t all be about the past. We want to protect children into the future as well,” Mr Collins said.
However, he said the report was only another step in the process, with survivors planning to read the report carefully and then lobby the state government for recommendations they supported.
Committee chairman Georgie Crozier will table the report in the Legislative Council about 9.40am before delivering a short speech.