Former Neerkol orphan praises new child sex abuse laws
THE news legislation has passed that religious leaders can no longer use the seal of confession as a defence in child sex abuse matters has been warmly welcomed by many.
Former Neerkol Orphanage resident Allan Allaway, now 79, was elated when he heard the news it was finally approved and effective immediately.
When asked for his initial reaction, Mr Allaway told The Morning Bulletin "if you had shown me the moon I would have jumped over it with joy".
Mr Allaway has been fighting for advocacy in the industry for more than 40 years as he is heavily involved in high levels of government, campaigning for legislative changes.
He believes this new law paves the way for many more "big changes".
"We got more than just the legislation through, there has been so many forgotten Australians across the country that have died without having received natural justice," he said.
"And this is what I have been fighting for …. Against a rotten system.
"There is so much more work to be done.
"This is only the first step, the statue of limitations has been removed.
"Now we can bring the living guilty parties to account.
"There is no point of doing this and making these necessary changes unless they follow through."
Mr Allaway was a victim of abuse for many years when he was at the Rockhampton orphanage and said it included all kinds of abuse from sexual, psychological and physical.
He did note that not all people belonging to religion were "bad people" - some were victims of abuse and were lied to like he was.
"Those that were running the rotten system in place many decades ago," he said.
"We can't bring all of them to account because many of them are dead now.
"So as long as we can receive natural justice for over 500,000 Australians.
"It was wrong back then and it's wrong today."
Over the years, Mr Allaway has met many other "forgotten Australians" who were mistreated.
He said the general consensus between them was, they find it hard to believe things will change.
"They were happy to hear about it but having lived their lives under the humungous black cloud, the scepticism can be cut with a knife," Mr Allaway said.
"We are winning the battle but the war is not done.
"We might all be done before the war is over."