30th October 2012
31st October 2012
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has given hope to orphans abused in state care in Western Australia.
Ms Gillard said her government might consider a Royal Commission into the abuse of former state wards at Clontarf.
CLAN members in Western Australia met this month in Clontarf, Parkerville and Bindoon, some of the former sites of the orphanages.
They joined with former orphans Australia-wide to write to Families Minister Jenny Macklin, calling for an inquiry into their treatment.
Former PM Kevin Rudd made an apology to the now adult wards of the state in 2009, but they are still seeking redress for the sexual, emotional and physical abuse endured during their years in state-run orphanages.
CLAN co-founder Leonie Sheedy said it was the closest the government had come to agreeing to investigate the abuse she and her fellow members suffered.
Former Bindoon boy and author Robert Taylor, who now lives in the Atherton Tablelands, welcomed the news.
“I came to Australia from Southampton and I was nine. They told me to say I was 10 because you had to be 10 in Bindoon Boys Town to work manually.
“We were flogged on a daily basis by the Christian Brothers and given no education other than religion.
“It was slave labour.”
Mr Taylor said boys in Clontarf, Tardun and Castledare were threatened with transfer to Bindoon.
“It was notorious as the cruellest of all the homes.”
He said that a Royal Commission could not turn back the hands of time.
“These priests were not Christians they were cruel sadistic paedophiles’ who raped and molested boys and whipped them,” he said.
So far, only three states, including WA, have offered the former children compensation for their suffering.
Bob Taylor wrote a book about his experience last year called Who Am I?
He was awarded $40,000 for his suffering by the Barnett government in February 2011.
The Clontarf site is now a training college for Aboriginal students.