Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

National Redress Scheme

My question is for the Attorney-General, and I ask it in the capacity of the Attorney-General as being responsible for the implementation of the royal commission’s recommendations. When the national redress scheme began, following the royal commission, it wasfar from faultless. I compare it to the infamous Melbourne Response run by George Pell, where survivors were asked to sign a deed of release which stopped them from suing the institution down the track. I understand that this was to limit civil lawsuits, but it only seeks to benefit the institution that inflicted the suffering. Some survivors are seeing other survivors of the same perpetrator receive compensation through the courts and are wondering why they cannot now do the same. Others may not have been mentally ready to go down that path but may well be right now. They also may not have had the evidence at the time of the redress claim, but they may now have that and are ready to proceed. Attorney, will the state government lobby your federal colleagues to have the deeds of release removed from the national redress scheme claims?

Thank you, Attorney. You have pretty much covered everything, I think, for the supplementary, but I will raise it regardless because I think it is important. If you receive a Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal payout as a victim of crime, you are able to sue the perpetrator. If you sue successfully, you have to return your VOCAT money, clearly, otherwise it is double dipping. Interestingly there are instances where you can sue and then get redress, which is another story. Some survivors will never have the money for lawyers or the energy to fight legal battles, so redress is all they desire, but other survivors may decide down the track that they are ready to sue for whatever reason. It seems like we have got a bit of a double standard, like you mentioned, in Victoria for victims of crime and so forth, but the national redress scheme does not allow for sexual abuse survivors to go down the path of a civil litigation. Attorney, if the deeds of release are to remain, what plans does the government have to fix this issue and ensure that victims of sexual abuse are not silenced and have access to civil litigation procedures?



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