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National Apology Reference Group

The Reference Group consisted of a broad range of survivors and their representatives from across Australia. The members of the Reference Group included:

  • The Hon Cheryl Edwardes AM (Chair)
  • Ms Caroline Carroll OAM
  • Ms Sharon Claydon MP
  • Ms Christine Foster
  • Senator Derryn Hinch
  • Mr Craig Hughes-Cashmore
  • Mr Steve Irons MP
  • Ms Hetty Johnston AM
  • Ms Leonie Sheedy OAM
  • Senator Rachel Siewert
  • Mr Richard Weston.

The diverse membership of the Reference Group ensured the views of a broad range of victims and survivors, their families, and Members of Parliament from across Australia were represented. The Reference Group was supported by a secretariat based in the Attorney-General’s Department.

On 12 October 2018, the Reference Group provided its Advice to the Australian Government to the Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP. Given the bipartisan nature of the National Apology, the Reference Group also met with the Leader of the Opposition on 17 October 2018.

The advice was provided with the intention of ensuring that the preparation and delivery of the National Apology reflected survivors’ experiences and wishes for the occasion, and to ensure that survivors’ wellbeing was placed at the heart of this national commemoration.

The key themes from the national consultation process are below: