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Bob Carr's Non Response to Institutional Sexual Abuse

While in opposition in 1994, Bob Carr had taken strong action against Deirdre Grusovin, using Parliamentary privilege to crusade against paedophilia by raising the spectre of conspiracies of networks of protection rackets extending from the police to politics and the judiciary. She paid a high price, losing her front bench spot when she could not substantiate her allegations. 

After Carr was elected, Franca Arena also claimed she had boxes full of evidence of paedophile rings in prestigious institutions but then tried to smear both leading members of the government and opposition with a failure to act.  When John Della Bosca won a defamation case over Franca Arena, Premier Bob Carr publically congratulated him by renouncing the “catch-all allegations” of fanatical forces,

It is amazing how easily victims can become perpetrators.

When allegations against one teacher, Peter Boys of The Broadmeadow School surfaced in 1996, instead of investigating them thoroughly and independently, Carr merely elected to append them to the already established and overloaded Wood Royal Commission into Police corruption. 

Suddenly all teachers were considered fair game. Legislation by these same politicians, who had their reputations indelibly smeared by false allegations was now enacted that not only allows, but encourages anyone to make anonymous allegations against any teacher without any accountability.  As Mark Twain put it; “No man’s life, liberty or property is safe when the legislature is in session”. 

Swept up by hysteria, pragmatic politicians found teachers an easy target and convenient scapegoat to pursue tough policies in order to win elections. Not for teachers the possibility of “vindicating” baseless allegations spawned by mischievous students, disaffected staff or unprincipled Principals playing gutter politics. Once branded, you carry it for life.  Spare a thought for the unfortunate 853 plus teachers, who because of this misguided legislation had their careers irreparably destroyed or at least three outstanding Principals whose careers were wantonly destroyed for allegedly failing to notify nebulous concerns.

The approach adopted by the Government – adopted by default, possibly without any thought for the long-term implications of it -- was to have the state (remember, these are taxpayer-funded staff, not party-funded staff) pay out employees, usually with confidentiality clauses, rather than try to fix the system.

When the Tories screw workers they get angry. When Labor does it they just get sad. 

Some 15 years later, Barry O’Farrell made the first move and was soon followed by Julia Gillard in appointing a National Inquiry into Institutional Sexual abuse.

After five long years it has demonstrated that it was willing to go places where none had dared to go; to the very top of our most prestigious institutions and discover endemic cultures of inaction.

I am waiting for Bob Carr's apology to Deidre Grusovin and Franca Arena, but fortunately I am not holding my breath.

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