Senator Barnaby Joyce Press Release on Pack Rape: 12th December 2007

Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce said today he welcomed the move by the Attorney-General of Queensland, Kerry Shine, to stand aside the Crown Prosecutor and welcomes the motivation by the government to seek justice for the girl who was raped in Aurukun.

Senator Joyce acknowledged the overwhelming public sentiment which deplores the fact this girl was put back in a position of vulnerability after being fostered out to a family following a previous rape. He also acknowledged the overwhelming public sentiment which deplores the attempt which has been made to diminish the significance of the crime perpetrated against this girl by calling it "naughty" rather than what it was, despicable.

Senator Joyce hopes that the sentiments which are now being displayed to review and correct this culture are genuine and not an attempt to take the pressure off for the short term so the issue can be avoided in the longer term.

In the same light, a girl who was allegedly raped at the John Oxley Youth Detention Centre in 1988 by 2 people is still awaiting justice. She has the same misgivings about the proficiency of key stakeholders in the prosecution in Queensland to pursue her case with commitment, currently using the argument "it was so long ago" as the only mitigating issue against those who perpetrated the crime.

"This current issue in Aurukun must be in no way diminished but it must also become a beacon to guide the principle of those who should see the pursuit of justice as just as relevant for other victims of this crime of rape, especially those who rely on the state as their fundamental mechanism of protection in loco parentis."



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