Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has rejected claims by Opposition Leader Peter Dutton that he failed to act on information provided to him last year, that victims of child sexual abuse were being returned to live with their abusers.
- Anthony Albanese says any allegations of child sexual abuse in the Northern Territory should be investigated by police
- He says allegations of child sexual abuse “shouldn’t be used as a political issue”
- Mr Albanese says the Solicitor-General’s advice on the Voice to Parliament will be made public
Asked on 7.30 if Mr Dutton’s claim was true, Mr Albanese said “no”.
Pressed on whether any information was brought to his attention about abused children being returned to live with their abusers, Mr Albanese said: “Not that I’m aware of. That is the first I’ve heard of it.”
Mr Dutton’s claims were made at a press conference in Alice Springs last week, where the opposition leader said it was “accepted as normal practice” that young Indigenous abuse victims were returned to live with their abusers.
Mr Dutton said that the prime minister was “made aware of it last year” and should “take responsibility”.
Mr Albanese told 7.30: “Peter Dutton makes all sorts of claims. And the tragedy here is that serious issues, like the abuse of children that Peter Dutton or myself or I would hope any member of parliament has a uniform abhorrence of, shouldn’t be used as a political issue.”
Asked what the basis could be for Mr Dutton’s claim, Mr Albanese said: “I have no idea of what it is based upon.”
“It’s possible that there may well have been a letter somewhere. I don’t know what the basis of it is.
“But certainly, he has not raised any specific issue about any claim about any individual circumstance with me.”
Responding more broadly to Mr Dutton’s claims of the incidence of sexual abuse against children in the Northern Territory, Mr Albanese said: “They should be investigated by the police. If there are circumstances of abuse of children, that’s a crime. And it shouldn’t be investigated by a politician or by a bureaucrat. Crime should be investigated by the police.”
Responding to a question about whether the Solicitor-General’s advice on the wording of the referendum question on the Voice to Parliament would be made public, Mr Albanese said “yes”.
Asked to confirm how that would happen, he said: “Through the processes that will be determined by the Attorney-General.”
He said it was customary for the detail of advice from the Solicitor-General to be reserved for cabinet but that the nature of the advice would be made public.
“The Solicitor-General’s view will be made very clear by himself through the Attorney General, which is the appropriate forum for it to take.”
Mr Albanese made no commitment on the timing.
“You’ll have to be patient.”
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