Aboriginal Child Sexual Abuse
Mr BRAD HAZZARD: My question is directed to the Minister for Water Utilities. Will the Minister now admit that he was the senior adviser to the former disgraced Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Milton Orkopoulos, who offended the Breaking the Silence task force members by dismissively and inappropriately describing those criminals sexually abusing Aboriginal children?
Mr NATHAN REES: I point out that today marks the third consecutive day on which I have been asked, and answered, questions not related to my portfolio. Earlier today I received a phone call from Mr Jack Beetson. Mr Beetson is an Aboriginal elder who runs a youth farm on the mid North Coast, Linga Longa, which helps young people who have been abused, assaulted or otherwise neglected. Mr Beeton's work has been acknowledged locally and internationally. Locally he has been awarded the Rotary Club of Sydney CBD Community Service Award. Internationally he has been awarded an Unsung Hero Award by the United Nations in the Year of Dialogue Amongst Civilisations. His was one of only 12 awarded around the world.
Jack Beetson also demonstrated tremendous courage when he appeared on the ABC Lateline program last year and recounted his own experience of being sexually abused. No-one who saw that program will ever forget it. When I spoke with Mr Beetson this morning he told me that he was appalled at the way this issue had been politicised. He also offered the view that no-one had been more determined than me to address the issues raised in the "Breaking the Silence" report. He said that I should feel free to repeat this.
Mr Adrian Piccoli: Point of order: My point of order is Standing Order 129, which relates to relevance. While the answer may have been interesting, it certainly did not answer the question that was raised; it was a very specific question that deserved an answer.
The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Murrumbidgee will resume his seat. The answer was relevant to the question asked.