Politicians acknowledge that all too often their words are weighed against their deeds, and they are found wanting.
Earlier this week, both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition acknowledged that in moving and seconding the National Apology to those who suffered from child sexual abuse while living in institutions.
They spoke with passion and conviction, and both have been personally moved by the stories they have heard.
It was a privilege to sit with survivors and their carers as I listened to the apology.
People were engaged deeply with the words from our national parliament.
I thought of the survivors I have met and hope that this National Apology has given them some measure of comfort and affirmation; strength to face the day.
Both leaders committed the parliament to doing what is in their power to fulfil the community’s responsibility for protection of the vulnerable.
I wrote to the Prime Minister to thank him for his leadership—and to remind him that there are children suffering under our oversight on Nauru.
As I write this musing, there is an additional thought that comes to mind.
There is a cost in time, effort, and money to implement the procedures and processes that ensure we are a safe place for children and vulnerable people. That cost is being met by lay and ordained leadership in the life of our church. Apart from our agencies and schools, in congregations it is committed members who are giving of time and effort, and it is congregations that are committing funds to ensure that we can say to our communities, “this is a safe place for your child”.
It’s easy to sit in committees and say, “this has to be done”. I recognise the effort that so many are expending to put this work into place. It is worth it. We may never see how we have stopped abuse by enacting our safe ministry with children procedures, but history tells us that we will have done so.