Friday, 16 October 2020
Commission of Investigation (Mother and Baby Homes and certain related Matters) Records, and another Matter, Bill 2020: Committee and Remaining Stages
Lynn Ruane (Independent)
I thank the Minister for attending. I oppose these amendments, especially amendment No. 7. I am speaking in response to the idea that we are honouring people's confidentiality and honouring our word to the survivors who came forward. Senator McDowell read out the invitation. If we listen to the contribution, we hear that they were told it would be confidential and that the information would never be public. They were never asked if they wanted it to be public. People wanted to give evidence in public to the commission but were refused. They wanted it to be public. The people who wanted it to be confidential could have asked for that. They were never given the option. We are not honouring the word. We are honouring a flawed process that was brought through the Houses by Senator McDowell. What we are honouring is the legislation for the commission and how it was administered. We are not honouring our word to people. We did not ask them if they wanted to sign a waiver. We told them what way they were going to engage with the process. They were not given an option.
I will leave it at that. It is not fair to say that we are honouring people. Hundreds of people are contacting us to tell us that they wanted to give their evidence to this commission in public. They wanted the commission to be held in public, but they were never given that option. To stand here and say that we are honouring a system that people bought into voluntarily is inaccurate. It is not true of every survivor who walked into the room to contribute to that investigation.